Civil service fast stream favours private school applicants, says MP

Mar 13, 2018 by

Cabinet Office figures show rise in proportion of admissions from fee-paying schools

The civil service’s elite fast-stream recruitment system disproportionately attracts and favours applicants from private school backgrounds, and has done so increasingly in recent years, the Labour MP Dan Jarvis has said.

Cabinet Office figures sent to Jarvis in response to parliamentary questions show that over the last four years of data, the proportion of private school applicants to the fast stream – the traditional route to top civil service jobs – was roughly a fifth, about three times the proportion who attend such schools in the UK.

The figures also show that even as the proportion of applicants from fee-paying schools fell slightly between 2013 and 2016 – from 20.5% to 18.9% – the percentage of successful applicants rose from 23.5% to 28.6%.

The civil service has attempted in recent years to become more inclusive in its fast-stream application process, which begins with online tests and generally takes months of assessments to complete.

Jarvis, the Barnsley Central MP, said the figures showed there was much more work to be done.

“Despite claiming that the fast stream uses ‘targeted outreach’ methods to attract applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds, young people from fee-paying schools are four times more overrepresented than those from state schools,” he said.

“Not only is this morally wrong, but recruitment bias in favour of the privately educated reduces the pool of talent that the civil service fast stream recruits from; reduces the diversity of experience and opinion in its leadership; and reduces the effectiveness of government decision-making.

Source: Civil service fast stream favours private school applicants, says MP | Politics | The Guardian

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