Guidance

Civil Service Fast Stream: Houses of Parliament

Updated

The Houses of Parliament Fast Stream recruits people to work for either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It will appeal to applicants with an interest in the constitution, politics and public policy.

Fast streamers are employees of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and serve Parliament, not the government of the day. They’re politically neutral and able to command confidence in the quality of their advice, no matter how controversial the subject.

In this 2 minute video, Liz talks about her experiences on the Houses of Parliament Fast Stream.

Houses of Parliament

What you’ll do

You’ll have a variety of roles in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. These will include a wide range of work, from facilitating debates and scrutinising legislation, to briefing MPs or peers and supporting the management of a complex and evolving institution.

Fast streamers in both Houses work as clerks of select committees, briefing MPs or peers for committee meetings and drafting select committee reports. There are roles supporting Parliamentary business in the chambers of both Houses.

In the Commons there are also roles in internal audit, outreach and Parliament’s restoration and renewal project.

You’ll be encouraged to learn about Parliament, government and devolved bodies, plus the EU (particularly in the Lords). You’ll also develop skills such as people management, project management and business planning.

Where you’ll work

You’ll work in a variety of roles in either House, from supporting select committees to getting involved in the Houses’ administration.

There are also opportunities for secondments to central departments of government, the National Parliament Office in Brussels and the Government Whips’ Office (for House of Lords clerks).

You’ll work mostly in Westminster but there may also be opportunities to travel for short periods. This will be either in support of select committees or as part of the temporary staff of international parliamentary assemblies.

Additional assessment

The final selection board is an interview by a panel made up of staff from the two Houses of Parliament, together with an external member. You’ll be questioned on topics such as your broad interest in Parliament and your political impartiality.

Eligibility

You must demonstrate the competencies and meet the eligibility requirements which are common to all Fast Stream schemes.

Training and development

You’ll get training on the job, and will attend courses and seminars aimed at equipping you with the skills necessary for promotion.

Promotion prospects

You can apply to be promoted to A2 grade (equivalent to Civil Service grade 7) 3 to 5 years after you join the scheme. Promotion will provide you with opportunities for more senior roles in the Commons or the Lords.

Find out how to apply or read about other Fast Stream schemes.