Frequently <br/>Asked Questions

FAQs

BEFORE YOU APPLY

The Fast Stream holds regular events all over the UK.

You can also talk to an existing Fast Streamer about their experiences on the Fast Stream on our Facebook page.

You are eligible to apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream if you satisfy both the Nationality and Right to work/Immigration requirements.

Nationality requirements (Civil Service Nationality Rules)

You are eligible to apply if you are a:

You must be a British citizen to apply for some posts, particularly those related to security and intelligence. Check on the individual scheme pages.

Nationality requirements are explained in more detail in the Civil Service nationality rules.

Right to work / Immigration requirements

You must have the right to work in the United Kingdom and meet the Immigration and Visa requirements for the scheme(s) you are applying for. Further details can be found on the Gov.uk Visas and Immigration page.

Detailed scheme eligibility can be found within each individual scheme section. These can be accessed via the scheme options page.

Any Civil Servant can apply to the Fast Stream alongside external candidates. The selection process is exactly the same, but in some situations you may not need a degree to be eligible to apply. Please refer to the individual scheme pages to identify which schemes allow degree exemption for Civil Servants.

Where In-Service applicants can apply without the relevant academic qualification then their eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • Currently a permanent Civil Servant and have passed probationary period*  
  • grade of HEO (or equivalent) or below
  • The scheme is not open to anyone who is currently undergoing any formal absence or poor performance action.

* Some employees of NDPBs are also eligible to apply. Candidates may if they are employed by an NDPB and were:

  1. originally recruited by fair and open competition, and transferred directly to an NDPB from a permanent post in the Civil Service without a break in employment; or
  2. recruited directly into an NDPB staffed exclusively by Civil Servants as a matter of policy; or
  3. recruited before 1 September 1992 into one of the identified public bodies which employed staff eligible for interdepartmental trawl.

We accept applications from candidates with overseas degrees, provided that they can supply evidence that their degree is at a comparable level to that required by the Fast Stream scheme(s) applied for. The onus (including any costs) of providing appropriate documentation is on the candidate. The National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) provides information about the comparability of different international qualifications. We would not normally ask for such evidence until you had been declared successful: it would then be required for our pre-appointment checks.

Yes, if you have applied in a previous year, you can apply again. It is not unusual to succeed after 2 or 3 attempts.

However, you can only apply once in each recruitment campaign.

Information from previous applications will not be available to assessors.

We are continuing to make changes this year to improve our assessment process. This might mean it will take longer for us to make job offers than the 12 weeks from application achieved in previous years. Please continue to check your homepage for updates throughout the application process.

The timescale is dependent on a variety of factors, such as the number and type of schemes you have selected.

Yes. Subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks and performance and conduct whilst on the scheme you will be guaranteed a permanent job.

Relevant Qualification: In order to apply for the Social Research Fast Stream, you need to hold an undergraduate degree, at a minimum of 2:1 or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree in a social science subject.

 

A qualifying social science subject is one which contains substantial social research methods training (comprising around one third of modules taken in your degree course) which include:

 

  • Quantitative research methods (mandatory): quantitative data collection and research design, including questionnaire design, sampling and weighting;
  • Qualitative methods: qualitative data collection and research design, including interviewing skills, conducting focus groups and ethnographic methods;
  • Systematic/literature reviews;
  • Data analysis, including data linkage, interpretation of data and presentation of results;
  • Hypothesis testing and evaluation; and
  • Application of ethics to research.

*Example social science degrees include: (this is not an exhaustive list)

 

  • Criminology
  • Demography
  • Development studies
  • Economics & social history
  • Environmental planning
  • Psychology
  • Social anthropology
  • Social policy
  • Social work
  • Sociology

Professional Experience: If you hold a non social science undergraduate degree, at a minimum of 2:1 or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree, or hold a degree equivalent (for example, an advanced Certificate or Diploma from MRS), you can still apply for the Social Research Fast Stream if you have at least 4 years’ social research practice experience.

 

Social research practice experience consists of experience working in a research agency, market research agency or specialised research team. You must make explicit the breadth and depth of your research experience and skills in your application, which must include:

 

  • Quantitative research methods (mandatory): quantitative data collection and research design, including questionnaire design, sampling and weighting;
  • Qualitative methods: qualitative data collection and research design, including interviewing skills, conducting focus groups and ethnographic methods;
  • Systematic/literature reviews;
  • Data analysis, including data linkage, interpretation of data and presentation of results;
  • Hypothesis testing and evaluation; and
  • Application of ethics to research.

Anyone can apply as long as they meet the nationality requirements and have, or are expecting to have by September 2020, a degree that meets the grade/subject required for the scheme(s) they want to apply for. When you received your degree has no bearing on your application.

All Fast Stream candidates are required to satisfy the nationality eligibility requirements for joining the Civil Service as well as immigration requirements.

Further details can be found on the Gov.uk Visas and Immigration page.

APPLICATION PROCESS

If you require adjustments to allow you to complete the assessment process, you will be given the opportunity to indicate this when you apply and we will arrange this for you.  You​ ​have​ ​the​ ​option​ ​not​ ​to​ ​take​ ​the​ ​situational​ ​questionnaires​ ​in assessment stage 1 but​ ​it is​ ​mandatory​ ​to​ ​take​ ​the​ ​other online tests,​ ​along with,​ ​if​ ​these​ ​stages​ ​are​ ​reached,​ ​the​ ​Video​ ​Interview and Fast Stream Assessment Centre.​

​If successful at the initial stage then your adjustments will be agreed with you for subsequent stages. We can make a range of provisions, including modified PCs, special chairs, trained readers and adjustment of time for the video interview and the Fast Stream Assessment Centre.  If you need adjustments for a specialist assessment stage you will need to agree these with the scheme owner. Support arrangements are summarised here. Workplace Adjustments

There are several phases in the application process. Some of these assessments are multimedia in that they present information in video, audio, graphical or visual formats as well as text.

The Online Tests consist of Work Style Questionnaires and multimedia Situational Judgement Questionnaires (SJQ). These are multiple-choice assessments.

The Work Based Scenarios consist of the Case Study and Learning Assessments. Both use multimedia and both are multiple choice as well.

The Video Interview involves responding to a series of pre-set questions, which are recorded and subsequently evaluated by an assessor.

Additional Information applies for selected schemes only and, depending on the specific schemes you have chosen, there may be additional information to be completed, an intermediate sift process, or a numerical test to take.

If you pass these stages then you will be invited to attend a half day Assessment Centre. The Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC) reflects some of the key elements of a Fast Stream role and will consist of a leadership exercise, a group exercise and a written analysis exercise.

Most schemes will then require a final selection stage; we will ask you to attend this final assessment if you reach the required standard at the assessment centre.

  1. You have 5 days to complete the Online Tests, which are not timed.
  2. Should you pass the Online Tests you will have an additional 5 days to complete the Work Based Scenarios, which are not timed.
  3. Should you pass the Work Based Scenarios you will have an additional 5 days to complete the video interview, which will take 25 minutes.
  4. Should you pass the Video Interview you will then have an additional 7 days to complete any required additional information sections and/or numerical test.
  5. The next stage, the Fast Stream Assessment Centre, takes 5 hours.

*All exercises must be completed before the specific expiry time given to you and please remember to check your junk mail for email notifications.

The initial online stages of the Fast Stream selection process can be done remotely. If you make it through to the Assessment Centre stages, you will need to be in the UK to attend those events.

You can select up to four schemes that you are eligible for. You need to specify your preferences in the order you want them to be considered, as you will not be able to add to or change your preference order once you have selected them. If you are successful in your application to your first preference scheme you will be appointed to that scheme; if you are not successful in your application to your first preference scheme but you are successful in your application to your second preference scheme you will be appointed to that scheme; and so on. So, please choose the order of your schemes carefully!

Please note that you will only be able to withdraw from a scheme selection before you are invited to the Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC). Once you have been invited to FSAC you will be unable to withdraw from any scheme. We therefore encourage you to select your scheme preferences carefully, focusing on eligibility requirements for each scheme and researching the information available.

You can indeed but please be aware that as the SDIP is designed to support people in getting into the Fast Stream, if you are successful in both applications you will need to accept your Fast Stream offer and withdraw from the SDIP.

If you do wish to apply/be considered for both you must first select Civil Service Fast Stream under “Choose your route” and then the drop down enables you to select SDIP.

If you only wish to be considered for SDIP select the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) route. If you select SDIP, then you will not be able to subsequently add Civil Service Fast Stream schemes this year.

You should email faststream.applicationsupport@cabinetoffice.gov.uk and tell them who you are and what exactly is the problem and they will get back to you. Please do not make another application on the system using an alternative email address, as this will invalidate your application.  

Check our social media channels for updates on any potential issues and for confirmation of when they are resolved.

ONLINE TESTS

It is important to note that once you submit your online application you have a 5 day window in which to complete the online tests. All exercises must be completed before the expiry time and please remember to check your junk mail for email notifications.

After submitting your application there will be a short delay before you can begin the online assessments. During this time the tests will show as “locked” on your home page. You will receive another email when the tests become “unlocked” and are ready for you to complete them. This may be up to a few days after submitting your application, so please keep checking your Home Page and email to see when these are available. You will be given 5 days to complete the tests from the date and time these are “unlocked” and the deadline for completion will be displayed on your Home Page.

As a guide we expect the tests should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

We aim to set final pass marks for the online tests by the end of October. Candidates will receive their results periodically and not all at the same time so please make sure you keep an eye on your email inbox and check your junk or spam mailbox. Remember that if you pass the Online Tests you will have 5 days to complete the next stage, which is the Work Based Scenario.

Both the Case Study and Learning Assessments have a similar format to the Online Tests. Unlike the Online Tests, the Case Study assessment is set in one scenario where you assume the (fictitious) role of a Fast Streamer and have a number of tasks to complete.

The Learning Assessments are similar but the timeline of the scenarios move and you are expected to learn and respond to changes in situations over the course of two fictitious Fast Stream postings.  

As with the previous stage you will be given 5 days to complete the Work Based Scenarios from the date and time these are 'unlocked' and the deadline for completion will de displayed on your Home Page.

As a guide we expect the tests should take between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete.

We aim to set final pass marks for the Work Based Scenarios by the end of November. Candidates will receive their results periodically and not all at the same time so please make sure you keep an eye on your email inbox and check your junk or spam mailbox. Remember that if you pass the online tests you will have 5 days to complete the next stage, which is the Video Interview.

Overview:

  • The interview lasts approximately 25-30 minutes, consisting of 9 questions.
  • Your responses are recorded on a video platform.
  • You can use a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone with a front facing camera.
  • There are short introductory guidance videos on the platform.
  • A practice question is included and you can record your response to this question as often as you wish.
  • You can only record your responses to the actual questions once.
  • Do not expect follow-up questions - therefore please provide full responses.

Criteria:

  • The interview asks questions about your experience and also what you enjoy and find motivating.
  • The interview focuses on a range of behaviours and associated ‘strengths’ - relating to things you find energising.

Setting up - before you start, make sure you:

  • Are in a quiet environment.
  • Set aside an hour when you are free from distractions.
  • Are presentable and have dressed appropriately.
  • Have adequate lighting in the room you are in.

If you have successfully completed and passed your Work Based Scenarios, you will be invited for the Video Interview. You will have 5 days from passing the Work Based Scenarios to complete the Video Interview.  

We aim to set final pass marks for the video interview stage by the middle of December. Candidates will receive their results periodically and not all at the same time so please make sure you keep an eye on your email inbox and check your junk or spam mailbox.

If you have been successful, it might not necessarily be for your first choice of scheme. This is because each scheme has its own unique pass mark (set based on number of applicants and expectations/requirements of the specific schemes).

If you do not meet the pass mark set for your first choice of scheme, you will be considered for the second; if you do not meet the pass mark set for the second, you will be considered for the third, and so on.

You will receive written feedback that summarises your performance and also provides development suggestions, whether you are successful or unsuccessful at the Video Interview. We hope this offers helpful guidance on your strengths and any areas for improvement.

If you experience any technical difficulties with your Video Interview, please email the Video Assessment Support Team on: support@launchpadrecruits.com. 

The team will be on hand to assist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you are successful at the Video Interview for at least one of your chosen schemes, then you will be progressed to the next stage. For all Fast Stream schemes other than Generalist, Digital, Data and Technology and Human Resources, you will be asked to complete additional information online. For the Finance and Commercial schemes you will be asked to complete a numerical test after passing the Video Interview.

On your Home Page there will be a new section with questions to be completed. These must be completed within 7 days of passing the Video Interview or your application will be expired. The number of links will vary depending on which schemes you have passed the Video Interview for, and you may complete the questions in any order.

You need to complete the additional information section for all your preferred schemes before you can progress for any of your schemes. If you decide that you do not want to progress a particular scheme that requires additional information you can withdraw from that scheme, and the requirement to complete those scheme specific questions will be removed.

For the scheme specific questions, you will be asked to download a document with the questions on it. Follow the instructions in the document and copy and paste your answer and the heading into the response box on the application service.

We aim to assess the additional information within 2 weeks of it being submitted. You must complete all of the additional information questions before you can progress for any of your schemes. If you decide that you do not want to progress a particular scheme that requires additional information you can withdraw from that scheme, and the requirement to complete those scheme specific questions will be removed.

If you are successful at the Video Interview for at least one of your chosen schemes, then you will be progressed to the next stage. For all Fast Stream schemes other than Generalist, Digital, Data and Technology and Human Resources, you will be asked to complete additional information online. For the Finance and Commercial schemes you will be asked to complete a numerical test after passing the Video Interview.

If you have schemes that require additional information, along with schemes that require a numerical test, you will need to complete both within 7 days before you can be considered to progress to the next stage. If you decide that you do not want to progress a particular scheme that requires additional information you can withdraw from that scheme, and the requirement to complete those scheme specific questions will be removed. This withdrawal also needs to be completed within the 7 days or your application will be expired.

The pass mark for the numerical test is due to be set by the end of November.  The candidates who have taken the test will then be marked providing they have also completed any additional information questions required of them for other schemes.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback at the additional information sift stage. We do provide feedback to candidates at the assessment stages, including detailed feedback following completion of the Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC).

ASSESSMENT CENTRE AND FINAL SELECTION

There are two Fast Stream Assessment Centres, one in Newcastle and one in London. We will ask you to attend one of these to undertake your assessment. When we select the most appropriate centre, we will take into account any workplace adjustments or mobility concerns raised.

You can take a virtual tour of the assessment centres at the following links:

London

Newcastle

You will be assigned to a particular date to undertake your Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC). If you cannot make that date, then we will endeavour to re-arrange it so that you can complete your assessment centre on an alternative date where there are other slots available. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet all such requests.

Everything you need to know about the Fast Stream Assessment Centre is in the FSAC Assessment Centre guide.

 

We are aiming to have the assessment centre appointments take place from late October and should be running until late January.

When you have been allocated a venue you will need to complete a travel booking form so the Fast Stream Operations Team can book your travel and accommodation or reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed, see FSAC Assessment Guide for instructions.

Details of candidate feedback will be outlined in each of the Final Selection Board Guides.  

We aim to set final pass marks for the Fast Stream Assessment Centre by the middle of February. Candidates will receive their results periodically and not all at the same time so please make sure you keep an eye on your email inbox and check your junk or spam mailbox.

You will need to bring a passport and your Fast Stream application system login details with you. Please check the FSAC Assessment Guide for further information.  

You are not able to bring notes to the Fast Stream Assessment Centre.

STARTING ON THE FAST STREAM

When you start work will depend on which Fast Stream scheme you have applied to. Most schemes start in September or October.

No. The Fast Stream is a corporate programme, designed to develop leaders for the whole Civil Service. The department you are assigned to will depend on where there are vacancies and on where the scheme managers believe you will fit in best. You might be surprised how many different departments can fulfil your interests and offer you with brilliant opportunities to accelerate your development.

No, although we will consider your location preferences when assigning you to postings. Fast Streamers are expected to be mobile and flexible - most Fast Streamers will need to relocate at least once during the course of the scheme. We will consider requests to work in specific locations based on personal circumstances like caring responsibilities.

Please note that we cannot guarantee suitable posts will be available in every location.

There are certain exceptions where you can defer your place on one of the centrally managed Fast Stream schemes. If accepted onto one of our partners’ programmes you will gain valuable experience and skills to bring into the Civil Service.

The Transform Alliance

Complete a two-year programme in one of the following five frontline public services; teaching, children’s social work, policing, mental health social work or prisons. Make a difference and prove you are a leader.

TeachFirst

Two years as a teacher. Teacher and leadership training for people who are passionate about giving children from the poorest backgrounds a great education. It only takes one brilliant teacher to change a child’s life.

Frontline

Two years as a social worker transforming the lives of the most vulnerable children and families. At least half a million children in England do not have a safe or stable home and the children who need social workers deserve life-changing professionals. Through intensive training with expert academic input you will become a social worker and leader, so you can empower families to achieve positive, lasting change.

Police Now

Two years as a neighbourhood police officer, policing a community of 20,000. Leadership training programme which gives people the opportunity to transform challenged and often deprived communities. Develop skills in negotiation, problem solving and decision-making as well as resilience and emotional intelligence - all skills relevant to many careers. Help to improve lives, not just for today, but for generations to come.

Think Ahead

Two years as a mental health social worker. Social work, mental health and leadership training for people passionate about making a real difference to people with mental health problems. Mental illness is everywhere, it turns lives upside down. Give those with mental health problems the chance to flourish.

Unlocked Graduates

Two years as a prison officer, leading change on the inside. Expert leadership training to lead on the frontline in prisons for people passionate about tackling the damage and cost of prisoner reoffending. Inject new ideas, insights and energy into the rehabilitation of offenders through your actions and thoughts on wider policy. Develop negotiating, influencing decision-making and relationship-building skills vital to any career whilst leading subtle changes on the inside that deliver huge benefits on the outside.

Other partner schemes:

Entrepreneur First

Europe’s leading early-stage investor in technology companies. Helping talented individuals build high growth technology start-ups.

Lead First

The opportunity to complete an intensive leadership development course, before spending up to a year gaining experience in roles with the British army.

Year Here

Designed as a platform for graduates and young professionals who want to build smart solutions to entrenched social problems.

The centrally managed Fast Stream schemes are listed below:

  • Commercial
  • Digital, Data & Technology
  • Finance
  • Generalist
  • Government Communications
  • Project Delivery
  • Science & Engineering
  • Statistical
  • Human Resources

We will also consider deferral, regardless of scheme, based on exceptional personal circumstances such as illness or bereavement. If you think you may need to defer for any of these reasons, you will be able to request this following your offer of a place on the Fast Stream and this will be considered on a case by case basis.

We will also consider deferral, regardless of scheme, on the basis of exceptional personal circumstances such as illness or bereavement.

If you think you may need to defer for any of the reasons above, you will be able to request this following your offer of a place on the Fast Stream and this will be considered on a case by case basis.

You will be sent the links to access the Pre-Employment Check guidance and form via the notification of job offer email.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please do contact us by emailing

faststream.applicationsupport@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

 

Many Civil Servants, including some in senior positions, work outside the South East. The majority of Fast Streamers are currently based in London, but opportunities are available in different parts of the UK. However please note that we cannot guarantee suitable posts will be available in every location.

We recognise that candidates who have progressed through several stages of our rigorous process, but are not offered a Fast Stream post, are talented graduates with a range of strengths and skills we need in our workforce. We subsequently appoint a proportion of these candidates in merit order at Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer grade, depending on how far they progressed in the Fast Stream process. Candidates will be contacted directly from the Direct Appointment Team if this opportunity is being offered to you. You will not need to apply for the Direct Appointment Scheme separately.