HC Deb 14 December 1995 vol 268 cc746-7W
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish the reports of the independent studies on marketing the civil service's fast stream recruitment scheme and the audit of the fast stream selection process which were announced earlier this year. [6878]

Mr. Willetts

The Government announced in January their intention to commission an external, expert review of the marketing of the fast stream recruitment scheme and an independent audit of the selection process. Copies of the reports of both studies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The independent audit has investigated very thoroughly the current system of selection to the fast stream. Its general conclusions are that this is a well-administered and highly professional process and that all reasonable measures have been taken to develop a system which is fair and balanced. The report makes a number of recommendations which

represent suggestions for 'fine tuning' rather than radical change".

Most of these have been accepted and action is in hand to implement them.

The marketing study has identified a number of key actions needed if the attractiveness of the fast stream to potential recruits is to be strengthened and broadened. A programme of action has therefore been agreed, for introduction in the 1996 recruitment competition. The name of the revised scheme, will be the "fast stream development programme", retaining the "fast stream" brand identified by the marketing study as a valuable asset, but making clearer that entry is to a development programme of limited duration.

The Government announced on 23 November their intention to transfer recruitment and assessment services to the private sector as a single viable business and in a way which will ensure that it retains its reputation for the provision of high quality recruitment services. The sale of RAS will include a contract for the fast stream recruitment process for future civil servants, specifying the services required, including any necessary changes stemming from the independent audit and marketing study.

Fuller information about the revised scheme will be contained in the annual report on fast stream recruitment, due to be published in May 1996.

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