Cabinet Office evaluates efficacy of graduate scheme

Department has signed a contract with external advisors after recently being awarded funding to run the rule over the Fast Stream programme – a key source of digital talent for government

The Cabinet Office has signed a deal with an academic consultancy to evaluate the impact of the Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme for future leaders.

UCL Consultants Ltd, a company owned by University College London, will undertake an impact evaluation of the Fast Stream, exploring “whether participating in the Fast Stream leads to improved outcomes compared to a suitable control group”, according to a recently published contract.

The consultancy will also “establish what outcomes are possible to measure using existing administrative data and what new data collection will be required to evaluate the Fast Stream,” the contract says.

The Cabinet Office was last month provided with £200,000 in funding to carry out an evaluation of the Fast Stream through the government’s Evaluation Accelerator Fund. The deal, which came into effect at the start of this month, is valued at £199,560.

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The Evaluation Task Force – which chose the winning bids for the third round of the Evaluation Accelerator Fund – said the Cabinet Office would “produce an evaluation report with actionable evidence to inform decisions on how [the Fast Stream] is run and learn lessons for other recruitment schemes”.

It would also “carry out a feasibility study assessing the use of civil service administrative data to evaluate programme outcomes”, the taskforce said.

Announcing the funding allocations last month, Cabinet Office minister John Glen said the department would be “measuring how recruitment is impacted by accelerated development schemes, like the Fast Stream”.

UCL Consultants describes itself as a “leading provider of academic consultancy services… drawing on world-class expertise from across UCL”.

The Fast Stream has become a key source of digital talent for government, with the programme’s dedicated technology segment often representing the largest specialist cohort among the intake of about 1,000 people per year. The government announced that last year’s programme achieved its stated target 50% of participants being drawn from the fields of science, technology, engineer and maths.

Tevye Markson

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