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Government Policy

On the Government Policy Fast Stream, you will work at the heart of the Civil Service. You'll design, develop and propose appropriate courses of action to help meet key government priorities, ministerial objectives, and positively impact citizen's lives.

3 years


Policy professionals play a pivotal role in helping ministers to navigate often complex policy issues and make the commitments of the government a reality.

Throughout your time on the scheme, you will work with Parliament, ministers, legislation and a broad stakeholder network to propose and design courses of action across a variety of policy areas that will improve existing or develop new public services.

You will develop agility of thought, learn how to approach matters strategically, tactically and creatively to develop ideas that will achieve objectives.

You will have opportunities to learn the system of government, support ministers with objective and impartial advice, navigate the complexities of Parliament and may work with other governments both in the UK and overseas.

You will understand how to take a broad view to ensure you've weighed up the implications of your proposals and any potential impacts upon implementation. You will also work closely with Operational Delivery colleagues to monitor and adapt policies over time.

You will learn how to develop strong working relationships with others, as building productive networks with a wide range of stakeholders is key to developing effective policy proposals. You will also develop the skills to feel comfortable working in a fast-paced and dynamic environment - all essential skills for a policy professional.

There will be lots to learn on-the-job, but you will be working within a supportive environment to help you develop both the softer and more technical skills required of policy professionals. You will also have access to a carefully structured curriculum as well as the opportunity to build and learn from a constructive network of current and future leaders.

Work at the heart of government is ever-changing, but your three years on the scheme will be shaped to ensure you can hone your skills and gain a breadth of experience that will support you on your journey to becoming a future leader.


  • Eligible to work in the UK
  • You need, or expect to have a 2:2 or higher in any degree subject, including degree apprenticeships
  • Existing civil servants can apply without a degree

What will you experience?

The scheme offers the opportunity to work on issues that really make a difference to people's lives as well as more niche policy areas.

Throughout your time on the scheme, you'll get a grounding in the three pillars of our competency framework - Policy Profession Standards; Strategy, Democracy and Delivery, which will equip you with the tools you need to thrive within the profession.

You will work across a range of departments and roles including potential for cross-government working and international postings, giving you exposure to different elements of policy development and delivery, developing your technical policy skills and establishing crucial networks within and outside of the profession, all of which will prepare you to become a successful policy leader.

You will have access to a policy specific curriculum including an accredited learning offer, as well as leadership and management training throughout the three years. This will enhance your on-the-job experience, supporting you with learning suited to your role, but more broadly ensuring you have the tools you need to support your policy career longer-term.

You will have a buddy as you begin the scheme and no matter where you are, there will be lots of opportunities to get together as a cohort, either in person or virtually.

The support won't stop as you leave the scheme either. As well as the networks and skills you've built through your time on the programme, you will have tapered support as you graduate into your mainstream policy role.

The skills you will develop on the scheme are highly transferrable across a broad range of policy areas and government departments, leaving you equipped to shape the policy career that you choose.

Civil Service Fast Stream

Your progression through the programme

Year 1 - In your first year we will support you to develop a solid foundation in key policy making principles. You will undertake practical learning to compliment your policy postings and establish a network both within your policy domain and across government. You will have the opportunity to hone leadership and management skills throughout your time on the scheme.

Supporting your learning

Wherever you are starting your journey from, we will support you through a variety of activities to super-charge your career in policy.

You will have access to blended learning opportunities to suit your needs consisting of:

  • a structured policy curriculum to ensure competence around each of the pillars of the profession's Standards - Policy Profession Standards
  • policy domain learning e.g. education, justice, health, relevant to your roles through a mix of formal and on-the-job learning
  • social learning through opportunities such as cohort days, communities of practice, action learning sets and mentoring
  • high-quality leadership and management training
  • training at foundation level in complimentary specialisms such as analysis, commercial, project management etc.
  • tapered support as you graduate from the scheme into a Grade 7 policy role

Government Policy - STEM

A Modern Civil Service is our vision of a skilled, innovative and ambitious Civil Service equipped for the future.

It is important that, as a collective, we can see and understand issues through different lenses, with varied backgrounds, divergent thinking and creativity being critical to achieving that aim. We welcome applications from candidates of all social, regional and academic backgrounds and career experiences.

To support data gathering and monitoring, on your application portal, you will be asked to confirm your scheme preferences. If you have a STEM undergraduate or postgraduate degree, please select the “Government Policy STEM” option, otherwise select “Government Policy”.

All candidates will undergo the same application and recruitment process and experience the same Fast Stream journey.

For a definition of what we class as a STEM degree, please refer to the Before You Apply section of our FAQs.

What benefits will you enjoy?

Civil Service Fast Stream

The programme is a significant investment in developing talented individuals. It provides a solid foundation for promotion and long-term progression within the profession and offers many advantages for participants, which include:

  • Responsibility and autonomy in a variety of roles at the heart of the Civil Service
  • Excellent training and development opportunities including a professional qualification
  • Close contact with senior civil servants and the opportunity to join a valuable network of future leaders
  • Possible opportunity for international work
  • Enhanced support as you offboard from the scheme into your permanent policy role
  • Potential earning opportunities of £45k to £62k upon successful completion of the scheme

Further employment benefits include a generous annual leave offer starting at 25 days plus national holidays, access to the highly competitive Civil Service pension scheme, flexible working opportunities, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more.

Learning and Development on the Government Policy Scheme

Alongside the scheme-specific learning offer, you will complete the universal training which provides core foundation skills and leadership & management skills.

Application process

  1. Online assessments

    The online assessments consist of Work Style Questionnaires, a multimedia Situational Judgement Questionnaire, Numerical Test and Work Based Scenarios.

  2. Assessment centre

    If you pass the online assessments, you'll be invited to undertake a half day assessment centre. This will be conducted virtually on line. The Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC) reflects some of the key elements of a Fast Stream role and will consist a leadership scenario, a team scenario and a written scenario. Information will be presented via an app that you will be able to access remotely.

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