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DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme

Have you got a degree or do you work in the Civil Service? Our Health Policy Fast Track Scheme could kickstart a VERY rewarding career.

Apply for the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme

The DHSC is a Youth Friendly Government Department, and we support the nation to lead healthier and more independent lives.

Our Health Policy Fast Track Scheme helps 2:1 graduates and employees in the Civil Service take their career to the next level. There’s no need to get to where you’re going at a snail’s pace. Take the fast route to success with our Scheme instead.

What is the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme?

Our policies underpin everything the NHS does to provide first class healthcare to the nation. If you’re ambitious and you care about policy and healthcare, the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme could take you to the next level in a career where you get to change people’s lives for the better.

The Scheme is specially designed to develop future Policy Leaders like yourself who will shape and influence policies that positively impact the whole health and social care system. It’s an exciting opportunity to quickly build your understanding of the political environment. Get hands-on experience of how health and social care policy is developed and delivered by Government, and fast-track your way to a rewarding and meaningful career.

What’s involved?

Have an impact on people’s lives

You’ll be working with front-line services, think tanks, academia and stakeholder organisations. Over a three-year period you’ll build the skills needed to become a top-class policy professional and health care leader. Then you can develop and deliver high quality, evidence-based policies.

Scheme location & duration

You will be based at the DHSC headquarters in either Leeds or London. You’ll do several work placements over 3 years in your preferred location. The Scheme includes placements in core policy roles, our Arm’s Length Bodies/NHS and Private Office to give first-hand experience of working intensively with Ministers.

Get mentor support and a degree

You’ll get a full development and support package including a senior leader as your mentor AND a fully supported MSc in Health Policy (delivered by the Imperial College). We want you to be 100% ready to lead on vital policies, getting the education and experience you need without having to pay extra for it.

Pay and perks

Taking part in this Scheme and working for the Civil Service is an amazing opportunity with fantastic benefits. Participants like Hannah, Jenny and Scott agree – you can find out more about their stories below. Here are the benefits you can expect on the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme.

Competitive salary

Your starting salary is £28,122 (National) and £31,832 (London) + increases in line with your performance and pending Departmental and Scheme pay awards.

25 days’ holiday per year

Your paid holidays increase by one day for each year of service you complete, up to a maximum of 30 days. You get bank holidays on top.

Fully financially supported study package

You’ll have the opportunity to study for a relevant postgraduate qualification, fully funded by the DHSC.

Extensive on-the-job training

We offer lots of training and development opportunities throughout the Scheme, because this is a real chance for you to grow. Some training will be in a structured classroom format, but a lot of it will be on-the-job. You’ll enjoy several different placements so you can experience the department’s wide impact on policy as you work and learn alongside DHSC experts and inspirational leaders.


Once you become a civil servant you can choose to opt into Civil Service pension arrangements. You may not be thinking about pensions in your twenties or early career, but later in life you’ll be so glad you had a pension arrangement like this. If you’re not sure what pensions are all about, don’t worry. If you join the Scheme, we’ll talk you through all your benefits and bonus options.

Interest-free loans for rent deposits and travel

If you have expensive travel costs to get to work, we help you spread the cost with an interest free loan. Buying a season ticket in advance really brings down the cost of each work journey. We’ll give you the total amount for your season ticket. To spare you the headache of paying it back, we’ll deduct monthly payments directly from your net pay.

We also offer interest free rental deposit loans.

Financial discountsYou’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of DHSC employee discounts, including a Cycle to Work Scheme, Charitable Giving and Recognition and Reward Vouchers to help you get freebies from some of your favourite brands.

A rewarding career – what could the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme lead to?

Example salary

By the end of the Scheme, you are expected to be in a good position to apply for leadership roles in the £48,086 to £51,801 bracket. Not many graduates can achieve that three years after leaving university.

Example roles

Example roles you could work towards after completing the Scheme include being a Director, or National Director in a national organisation. With this Fast Track Scheme on your CV, you’ll be heading at speed in the right direction.

What qualifications and experience do you need to apply?

The DHSC is a fully inclusive and progressive Youth Friendly Governing Body. You won’t be judged or marginalised on your ethnicity, faith, gender, orientation, level of ability. If you are passionate and meet the requirements, we’d love to read your application.

There are two ways to be a contender for the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme – already be working in the Civil Service or similar (see below), it is also open to external applicants who have a minimum qualification of an undergraduate degree at 2:1.


If you have an undergraduate degree at 2:1 or above, you have what it takes to apply. The DHSC look forward to seeing your application.

Civil Service experience

You can also apply for the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme if:

  • You are a Civil Service employee, OR:
  • You’re an employee of an accredited non-departmental public body (NDPB) and have been appointed on merit following a fair and open competition; or else you have been given a permanent post through an exception in the Civil Service Commissioners’ rules.

Do you need to be a UK citizen to apply?

You’ll need satisfy both the Nationality and Right to work/Immigration requirements. You can apply if you are a:

  • British citizen
  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Commonwealth citizen
  • Swiss national
  • Turkish national, in some circumstances

Nationality requirements are explained in more detail in the Civil Service nationality rules. You must also have the right to work in the United Kingdom and meet the Immigration and Visa requirements for the length of the Scheme. Further details can be found on the Gov.uk Visas and Immigration page.

“I have been on the Scheme just under a year now and have learnt a huge amount – every day is different!”
Hannah | Research Policy Manager
“Health & social care is a big space. It’s okay not to know everything. Build your knowledge by asking questions.”
Jenny | Briefing & Policy Manager
“I worked in a(n) environment supporting the UK’s relationship with the World Health Organization. Time flies when you’re having fun.”
Scott | Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary

What we’re looking for

  • Good communication skills
  • You should feel comfortable and able to adapt in a work environment where things are always on the go and priorities can change
  • You can get creative (and dynamic) when it comes to new ideas and ways of doing things. You’ll look for opportunities to do things differently
  • You’re able to think ahead and weigh up the economic, social/technological opportunities and risks of a decision
  • Good teamwork skills – you’ll enjoy working with others, and have good influencing skills too. You’ll be able to build collaborative relationships that balance challenge with support. You’ll help to build trust and mutual respect across the wider health care system.
  • Good problem solving and decision making skills – you can use sound judgment and evidence to make effective decisions. Critical thinking plays a big part in that.
  • Reminder: You’ll be someone with at least a 2.1 degree, in any subject. You can also apply without a degree if you are a current Civil Servant, and have served your probation period.

How to apply

To apply for the Scheme, please submit an online application by no later than 23:59 Wednesday 18th of December 2019.

Phase 1: Online Test

After submission of your application, you will be invited to complete an Online Situational Judgement Test. This is an online, multimedia multiple choice assessment. You will be provided with full instructions on how to complete the test and will have 5 days to complete it.

Phase 2: Personal Statement

If you pass the online test you’ll be asked to submit a Personal Statement of 500 words explaining your motivation for applying to the Scheme. This is where you get to tell us why you think you’d be a good fit for the Scheme.

Phase 3: Video Interview

If you progress onto the Video Interview stage, you’ll take part in a video-based interview where your answers to a series of pre-set questions are recorded and subsequently evaluated by an assessor. If you’re invited to a Video Interview, you’ll have five days to complete it. These general tips on how to prepare for video interviews by Youth Employment UK will help you present yourself at your best.

Phase 4: Assessment Centre

If you pass the above stages, you’ll be invited to attend a half day Assessment Centre in either Leeds, London or Newcastle. The HPFTS Assessment Centre reflects some of the key elements of the Scheme roles and full details of the assessment process will be made available to you in advance if you are shortlisted for the Assessment Centre. Any reasonable adjustments will be accommodated at the assessment centre and throughout the assessment process, so it’s very important that you let us know if this applies. You will be able to claim travel expenses for the Assessment Centre up to £80. Feedback will only be provided if you attend the Assessment Centre.

If your application is successful…

Successful candidates will be offered a place on the Scheme to join in September 2020. We also operate a Reserve List for 12 months, where we may offer suitable applicants future, non-Scheme vacancies within the Department that require similar skills.

Ready to make a change?

You’ve taken the first step and looked through this information to understand the skills and experience needed to be a great fit for the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme. Now let us help you achieve your ambitions. Apply today!

If you want a hard copy of this information (or an accessible version in e.g. audio, Braille or large font), please email DHSC-scs1recruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk