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Secondment stories

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin.

As the person who leads on the secondments programme here at the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD), I believe this emphasis on involvement is one of the main reasons for its success.

Our secondments programme offers great opportunities for our people and gives clients the chance to more fully understand what actuaries can offer to their projects and proposals. From the feedback we’ve received I know our partner organisations really appreciate the benefits of integrating our actuarial talent into their projects and proposals.

At GAD, our secondments programme is right at the heart of our role as a learning organisation. It’s how we develop our staff, and thereby benefit our clients. Organisations often claim to provide learning environments, but sometimes they can fall short. We’ve always been willing to second our people to other public sector organisations, but until recently this was on an occasional and informal basis.

Enriching careers

This commitment to learning and development is important as GAD doesn’t exist to make a profit but to do our best by the taxpayer. I firmly believe secondments help us do that by:
• developing our people and our organisation
• enriching their career experiences
• providing unrivalled expertise to a range of other organisations
• enhancing GAD’s profile

This programme also helps us stay connected across the Civil Service and the wider public sector. By working with different teams, our people have contributed their expertise in the Department for Work and Pensions, UK Government Investments, the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care, to name just a few.

Quote from a secondee
Comment from a GAD actuary on her secondment experience.

As you can see, we provide expertise to a wide range of teams and we’re also piloting staff swaps with public and private sector organisations. These swaps offer a win-win. They help our partner organisations to develop their own people and they in turn, help GAD to develop by introducing new ideas.

We attract and retain staff because we provide them with a stronger, richer and more diverse working environment. These experiences help our people empathise with the challenges that clients face and help them, therefore, to become more proactive.

Meaningful client engagement

One of the triumphs of the secondment programme is the way we’ve developed new ways of liaising with clients to solve their problems; an approach they truly value.

Alongside the secondment programme, GAD already has an established client presence with our onsite actuaries. This core group of people provide consistent and face-to-face advice to clients on an ongoing basis.

Secondments success

In the meantime, GAD’s secondment programme goes from strength to strength. This is an important aspect of life in a small department like this. Over the past 2 years we’ve just about doubled the number of opportunities for our staff. This financial year we’re set to have 27 people going to 12 organisations.

We help meet resourcing needs, help clients appreciate the potential value of using actuaries, and identify new opportunities for GAD to provide consultancy advice.

Quote from a GAD actuary on their secondment experience.
Comment from a GAD actuary on his secondment experience.

For people in GAD, the learning continues even after secondments are finished. People who’ve been working away share their observations with colleagues by providing further insights into other ways of working and the needs of our clients.

It’s all part of our vision, to ensure GAD becomes a single, high-performing team which has enhanced its reputation for efficiency and value for money. Not only that, it means we’re widely recognised for the way we develop the analytical, actuarial and business skills in our people.

So, if you’d like to find out more about, or even take part in, our secondments and swaps opportunities in your public sector organisation, then contact us at or join in the conversation here!

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