DHSC banner

DHSC Careers

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.

Download Candidate Pack Apply on Gov.UK

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.

£28,966 – £37,503
£28,966 – £33,985 (National) or £32,792 – £37,503 (London)
Higher Executive Officer
Contract type

Type of role
Working pattern
Flexible working, Full-time, Part-time
Number of posts
Leeds, London
Reference number

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 and fast-track your way to a rewarding and meaningful career
Meet Abi Brown
Meet Ella Pinder
Meet George Mainstone

Young Leadership

When you join the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme, you are joining the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) which plays a vital role in leading the nation’s health and social care to help people live more independent and healthier lives for longer. The Health Policy Fast Track Scheme provides an exciting opportunity to develop an understanding of the political environment and gain hands-on experience of how health and social care policy is developed and delivered by Government, in an unprecedented time. Working with front-line services, think tanks, academia and stakeholder organisations, you’ll build the skills needed to become a topclass policy professional and health care leader, developing and delivering high quality, evidence-based policies. You’ll develop a rewarding career that makes a real impact on people’s lives.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion is one of the DHSC’s biggest priorities and we recognise it’s a work in progress. One of our goals is to establish a workforce which reflects the society we serve, and DHSC welcomes applications from all. We are especially interested to hear from gender diverse, BAME, disabled and LGBT+ candidates who are currently under-represented. People with a range of experiences and backgrounds are needed to help us improve outcomes and reduce inequalities across health and social care, and to become a more inclusive place to work.

We view flexible working as essential for all our employees, and it enables us to recruit and retain talented people. The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

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. Here are the benefits you can expect on the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme.

Competitive salary

Your starting salary is £28,966 (National) and £32,792 (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 more structured, 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.

Staff networks

Our large number of staff networks, which are open to any employee to join, help to ensure that the needs and voices of all our employees are heard and play an important role in making DHSC a truly inclusive, diverse and supportive place to work.


Financial discounts
You’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 with salaries in excess of £48,000. 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.

What we're looking for

  • Good communication skills
  • You should feel comfortable in dealing with ambiguity and shifting priorities, because the department is always on the go
  • An innovative person who looks for opportunities to do things differently, while anticipating economic, social and technological opportunities and risks.
  • You're able to think ahead and weigh up the economic, social/technological opportunities and risks of a decision
  • Someone who enjoys working with others, has good influencing skills, and is able to build collaborative relationships that balance challenge with support, developing trust and mutual respect across the wider health care system.
  • Able to use sound judgment and evidence to make effective decisions.
  • Able to manage and thrive in an environment which requires the ability to think and absorb information quickly.
  • Someone with at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree, in any subject. Current Civil Servants, who have served their probation period can apply without a degree.


How to apply

To apply for the Scheme, please download the Candidate Pack for more information.

Phase 1: Online Test

After submission of your basic information, you will be invited to complete an Online Civil Service Judgement Test (CSJT). This is an online, multimedia multiple choice assessment. You will be provided with full instructions on how to complete and have until 23:55 Monday 16th November 2020 at the latest to complete.

Phase 2: Personal Statement

If you pass the CSJT you’ll be asked to submit a CV setting out your career history, highlighting specific responsibilities and achievements that are relevant for this role, and 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 14 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 will be invited to attend an online Assessment Centre. 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.

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?

Successful candidates will be offered a place on the Scheme to join in September 2021. 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. Apply today.

For further information please email hpfts.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk