Race Equality Awards 2016 - Recruiting Diverse Talent (public org) - Rare / Civil Service Partnership

Rare-Civil Service Partnership


The Rare-Civil Service partnership is a long-standing and highly successful collaboration driven by a real desire to increase Civil Service diversity, particularly at senior levels. The partnership works to improve Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation across a number of high-profile programmes, including the Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP), the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP), the Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme and the Fast Track Apprenticeship programme.

Research with the Fast Stream shows low levels of awareness amongst target groups. Therefore, the partnership uses outreach activity to increase BAME applications and hires.

To attract more candidates to the Fast Stream, Rare developed two bespoke programmes, 'Fast Stream Your Future' and 'Fast Track Your Future', which were promoted through 16 university careers services. Rare also began work on the Fast Track Apprenticeship for sixth form students, carrying out 11 school visits and delivering workshops to over 700 students.

In 2015/16, Rare held two Insight days for 63 interested BAME candidates where they gained a perspective into the diverse and inclusive work, opportunities and culture of the Civil Service and its departments and were encouraged to apply for EDIP, SDIP and the Fast Stream. The interactive events included group sessions where attendees discussed hypothetical policy decisions in small groups and received feedback on their approach.

Outreach is supplemented by longitudinal development programmes which include intensive one-on-one support integrating needs assessments, psychometric test practice and mock assessment centres. Candidates are offered a four-hour coaching session in advance of Fast Stream Assessment Centres and receive developmental feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. Fast Stream also provided complimentary group workshops to support skills development around the assessment process.

Senior leaders receive weekly candidate updates, allowing them to closely monitor progress and flag up any concerns.


  • This year (2016) Rare has helped 84 BAME candidates secure an offer on a Civil Service internship or the Fast Stream (compared to 59 last year), the highest number to date. This includes 37 out of 100 places on EDIP, 20 places on SDIP and 27 on the Fast Stream. This number is likely to increase as Rare candidates are currently still in process for SDIP, the Fast Stream and the Fast Track Apprenticeship. 250 candidates have also been informed of the opportunities on offer during in-person Initial Meetings.
  • Feedback from Insight Day attendees has been highly positive and many of those who attended have successfully applied to the EDIP, SDIP and Fast Stream.
  • Candidates' performance is monitored by ethnic groups and Rare uses this and candidate feedback to make improvements to the programme. Rare also maintains contact with candidates in Civil Service posts to monitor their progress.
  • Rare has developed deeper relationships with schools and university careers services, enabling earlier promotion of the Civil Service to students, widening outreach and ensuring the partnership continues to attract high-achieving BAME candidates.