The Civil Service Fast Stream is split into several parts depending on your academic background and interests:
Graduate Fast Stream
- Central Departments (all home departments excluding the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
- Diplomatic Service
- Houses of Parliament
- Science and Engineering
Analytical Fast Stream
- Social Researchers
- Operational Researchers
Analytical Fast Stream
The Analytical route within the Fast Stream is aimed specifically at candidates with the drive and determination to make a career as:
- an Economist in the Government Economic Service (GES)
- a Statistician in the Government Statistical Service (GSS)
- a Social Researcher in the Government Social Research Service (GSR)
- an Operational Research Analyst in the Government Operational Research Service (GORS)
Currently approximately one quarter of Fast Streamers are analysts.
As Government increases its focus on ‘evidence-based policy’ the role of analysts is becoming ever more important to ensure policy decisions are made of the basis of sound, impartial evidence.
A key element of most analytical posts is to support policy colleagues and others who may not have the same level of technical expertise in your profession. It is important that Analytical Fast Streamers not only have technical ability’’’ but are able to ‘’’explain and advise’’’ on the methods used and suitability of their analysis.
You will have the chance to work on a variety of projects across multiple departments ranging from high-profile issues such as child benefits, international aid and the Census to the less high-profile but equally important issues such as the on-going advancements in the use of real-time data, improved data visualisation and transparency.
Day in the Life
So what do analysts actually do on a day-to-day basis?
Naturally this will vary depending on your profession and the set up of the team/division. In general terms, the sort of work you could find yourself doing includes:
- analysis of datasets
- evaluating methodology behind data collection
- producing a publication
- modelling and forecasting
- quality assurance
- researching relevant legislation
- briefing policy colleagues on what the data shows and explaining the uncertainties surrounding the analysis
- advising on the most suitable measures to analyse the impact of a policy
- project/programme management
- answering public enquiries, freedom of information requests and drafting responses to parliamentary questions
- reporting to overarching bodies (e.g. Eurostat)
- several meetings
- responding to 101 emails!
Degree Requirements and Competencies
Analytical Fast Streamers should be able to demonstrate all the key competencies of Graduate Fast Streamers (given in the Graduate Fast Stream section below this) as well as an understanding of the technical issues of their profession.
To apply for any of the Analytical Fast Streams you must have (or be working towards) a ‘’’2:1’’’ degree.
- To become an Economist, your degree must contain at least 50% Economics or you should hold a postgraduate degree in Economics.
- To become a Statistician, you should hold a numerate degree which has included training in statistical theory and methods. Relevant disciplines include Statistics, Maths, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Sciences, Geology, Geography and Business Studies.
- To become a Social Researcher, you will need a first class or 2:1 honours degree in a relevant social science with a substantial social research component or, a second class honours degree, with a relevant postgraduate qualification in social research. Relevant disciplines can be found on the Analytical Fast Stream website.
- To become an Operational Researcher, your degree may be one of a range of disciplines including Operational Research, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics and Management Sciences.
By joining the Fast Stream, Analytical Fast Streamers will also belong to a profession; the GES for Economists, GSS for Statisticians, GSR for Social Researchers or GORS for Operational Researchers.
All Fast Streamers be able to demonstrate the key competencies:
- Drive for results
- Constructive thinking
- Learning and development
- Building productive relationships
- Decision making
- Communicating with impact
What does this actually mean?
You need to be able to think strategically, be creative and able to assess and analyse evidence. Whether talking to close colleagues, senior management or the public you must be able to explain information clearly and argue your position confidently and persuasively. You need to be able to work both independently and as part of a larger team and to understand the context within which your work is set.
The Analytical Fast Stream is managed differently to the Graduate Fast Stream so there are substantial differences on issues such as postings, training and salaries.
All Analytical Fast Streamers work within a government department or executive agency. Depending on the department, you may work in a team solely consisting of members of your own profession, you may work in a cross-analytical team or you may be embedded within a policy team.
Your first posting is allocated; location preference is normally taken into account but you will not necessarily get the department of your choosing. Postings typically last for ‘’’12-18 months’’’. At the end of a posting, you may move to another post within the same department or move departments.
The process for moving post varies depending on the profession and if you are changing departments. Some posts operate a “managed move” system to rotate Fast Streamers within one department, other posts are advertised across government for open applications.
Postings are available ‘’’across Great Britain’’’. The majority of posts are based in London but there are also a substantial number across the regions. Posts are also available in Edinburgh and Cardiff for the Scottish and Welsh Governments.
In particular for analysts, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has a high number of analytical posts based in Newport, Wales and Tichfield, Hampshire.
The Fast Stream is aimed at those who have the drive and determination to succeed. Progress will depend on performance but the challenging nature and variety of work along with the numerous training opportunities should ensure Fast Streamers are ready to apply for Grade 7 posts ‘’’within 4-5 years’’’.
Analytical Fast Streamers have the same access to the training Graduate Fast Streamers receive. This training is operated centrally and comprises both face-to-face and e-learning courses including courses to improve communication skills, project management, finance skills and an understanding of the roles of the civil service and government.
Many departments also offer internal training on a variety of topics. Some departments and professions may finance external official qualifications. One example is the MSc Official Statistics course run by Southampton University. Your professional body may also provide technical training.
All Analysts are required to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to ensure skills are kept up to date. The requirement for the number of hours is split into technical skills (relevant to your profession) and more general skills (people management, finance, communication skills, IT).
In order to do this, departments are required to give all Fast Streamers a suitable ‘’’training allowance’’’, in terms of finance and time off work.
Most departments assign a ‘’’mentor’’’ to Fast Streamers to advise on career development and long-term ambitions. If your line manager is not a member of the same profession, you have the opportunity to have a mentor from your own profession to advise on training and skills specific to your profession. For instance, if you were a Statistician working in a cross-analytical team led by an Economist you may also have a statistical mentor.
Salary and Benefits Package
Fast Streamers are not centrally managed; as such salaries and benefits vary with department and geographical location. As such, when moving between departments (unless on loan) your salary and leave allowance will change.
A typical starting salary is ‘’’£25,000-£27,000’’’ which increases to around £45,000 when promoted to Grade 7.
The average annual leave allowance is ‘’’25 days per annum’’’, although in some departments this is as high as 30. All departments have 10.5 public and “privilege” days.
Typically, work-life balance is good with normal working hours of ‘’’36 hours per week’’’. Some departments offer flexible working hours and the option to work from home.
All civil servants belong to a well-respected pension scheme and departmental benefits include season ticket loans, sports and social facilities (including the Civil Service Sports Council which operates nationwide), crèches and health screens.