Civil Service administrators (Fast Stream) work for the government, preparing and carrying through government policies. They deal with some of the most important and complicated matters. Fast Stream entrants are all graduates. They gain rapid promotion to management posts.
You could be:
- carrying out research, analysing different options and preparing policies
- working out the details of how policies will be carried out
- advising ministers on policy and helping them answer questions in parliament
- managing a department or a part of a department
- negotiating with officials and managers from public and private organisations
- keeping cabinet ministers up to date
- perhaps working in the private office of a minister.
As a policy officer in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (see Diplomatic Service Operational Officer) you might be:
- contacting foreign governments on behalf of the British Government to discuss political, economic and business matters
- working with government ministers to plan foreign policy.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the government department in which you work
- the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for qualified Civil Service administrators (Fast Stream) tend to range from £25,000 to £32,000 a year. On promotion, which currently takes on average around four to five years, you may earn £45,000 to £55,000 a year or more. There is a good pension scheme.
- You would be based in a government office.
- Although you would officially work regular office hours, you would have to be prepared to be flexible when your department or section is under pressure and there are deadlines to be met.
- Therefore, you may have to work outside normal hours, including some evenings and weekends.
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- The Fast Stream is open to applicants who are European Economic Area (EEA) nationals (including British citizens), Commonwealth citizens, Swiss nationals and in some circumstances, Turkish nationals. Some posts are reserved for British citizens, especially if dealing with security and intelligence.
- Full details of the nationality requirements are given on the Fast Stream website, below.
- There are a number of Fast Stream routes available (see ‘More information’ below). You need at least a second class Honours degree, usually a 2:1 or a 2:2. The degree discipline required depends on the route you choose. See the Civil Service Fast Stream website below for specific details.
- Entry to a degree course usually requires 4-5 Highers, plus English at least at National 5.
- Entry to the Fast Stream is by written tests and competitive interviews, designed to examine your intellectual and leadership abilities.
- Dates for registering interest and applications vary according to the Fast Stream route. Details are on the Fast Stream website.
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- tactful and diplomatic
- discreet and able to respect confidentiality
- well organised
- willing to work hard
- strong minded and resilient, as this is a demanding job.
You should have:
- a keen interest in politics and current affairs
- sound reasoning skills
- good intellectual ability
- sound judgement
- IT skills
- good written and spoken English.
- You would train on the job through a series of work placements lasting 12 to 18 months.
- Some departments offer you a mentor.
- Fast Stream administrators start as trainees and may attend courses at Civil Service Learning.
- You would be encouraged to study for further qualifications, including the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).
- You can expect to move on quickly, into a management post.
- Promotion is competitive and is based on your ability and your commitment.
- There are Fast Stream opportunities in Edinburgh within the Scottish Parliament as well as in London and other parts of the UK.
There are several Fast Stream routes:
- Analytical – Economist, Statistician, Social Research and Operational Research
- Corporate (Generalist) – Central Departments, Diplomatic Service, Houses of Parliament and Science and Engineering
- Other Corporate – Commercial, Finance, Human Resources, Government Communication Service, Digital and Technology, and Project Delivery.
Full details of the Fast Stream and all relevant contact details can be found on the Civil Service Fast Stream website. The Civil Service Fast Stream is ranked among the top five Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.
The Civil Service operates a Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship Programme for candidates from diverse backgrounds; ethnic minorities, socially or economically disadvantaged, and those with a disability. Interns spend between six and nine weeks in a government department doing project related work. Interns usually start in June and are paid a weekly training allowance. You must have, or expect to get, at least a 2:2 degree in any discipline, and be in your final two years at university. You would normally apply in October - December of the year before you hope to start an internship.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
This website gives information about all government services and departments.
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