§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to publish the first civil service fast stream recruitment report. 
§ Mr. Freeman
The first civil service fast stream recruitment report was placed in the Libraries of the House earlier today. It covers the year to 31 March 1996, reporting the results of fast stream competitions completed during that period and action undertaken for188W future competitions. This information has in previous years formed part of the annual report of the Civil Service Commissioners, but is now separately published following the change to the commissioners' responsibilities last year.
The report shows that the civil service over the year in question has successfully met its need for fast stream recruits to both generalist and specialist schemes. However, the needs of civil service work do not stand still and the report also details action under way to allow the launch of a revised fast stream development programme later this year. The revised scheme will put a stronger emphasis on early training and development and, in selection, on testing candidates' ability to get to grips with numeric data and with science-related issues. Promotion of the programme will also aim to overcome stereotypes which exist in some quarters about the sort of candidates the civil service is seeking to recruit. The goal will be to encourage top graduates from all types of background to apply.