A day in the life of a Civil Service fast streamer

Hi, I’m Alison and I’m in my first year on the Civil Service Fast Stream. I work as a Policy Advisor within the Land Management Reform Unit in Welsh Government.

My typical day is made up of a mix of meetings, working on policy documents and communicating with other government officials about the progress of projects within my remit. If you are considering working in the Civil Service Fast Stream, I thought it might be helpful to understand a typical day in the role.

A morning of research, meetings, workshops and drafting responses

8:30am – 9:00 am. I check my diary, emails and the Land Management Reform inbox. There is a commission for a briefing pack for the Minister of Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs (now the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd) which was received last night. This is within my remit so I assign it to myself on the management system.

9:00am – 10:00 am. Ministers have different preferences on how they like pieces of work to be drafted, so I spend a few moments going through the briefing guidance before drafting a response. The Minister is attending a meeting with a key stakeholder, so I summarise all previous correspondences from key members of the company and share my draft with my line manager for comments.

10:00am – 10:30am. At the Land Management Reform Division (LMRD) meeting heads of each team give a brief overview of what their objectives are for the week and highlight their key outcomes. It is also an opportunity to share key messages from the Minister. These weekly meetings are a great way to hear from senior leaders in government and learn about all the interesting projects the wider division is working on.

10:30am – 11:30am. My team has commissioned an analysis report from an external research company on proposed future farming proposals. As the owner of this piece of work, it is my responsibility to liaise between the research company and the relevant policy leads.

I chair the findings workshop with the research company and make notes of any questions that need to be answered. After the meeting I write up the minutes and action points, looping in my line manager and the deputy director.

11:30am – 1:00pm. My manager responds to my first draft and has some suggestions he would like me to implement. I make the necessary changes, add additional information and forward the completed draft to my deputy director to be formally cleared.

Lunchtime in the park

It is time for lunch! It is important to take regular breaks and get fresh air so I take advantage of the good weather and stroll around the park close to my flat.

An afternoon of policy work, attending a talk on sustainable farming, responding and commissioning responses to a range of internal and public questions

1:30pm – 3:00pm. I spend some time researching current agricultural policy in England and Wales, noting down the ways that they interact with each other. I take some notes to prepare for a meeting I have scheduled with our legal team. This is part of the work I do to support the wider policy team.

3:00pm – 4:00pm. I attend a talk hosted by the University of Cardiff discussing the future of sustainable farming. It is important to listen to the different opinions of stakeholders regarding the proposed policy Welsh Government is proposing. The talk highlights some interesting points to feedback to my line manager.

4:00pm – 5:30pm. I’ve received a few emails from a number of policy leads with questions regarding the findings for the analysis report. I go through their questions, responding by email or scheduling meetings where required. Several questions from members of the public have arrived in the inbox.  

I commission responses from relevant teams, making sure to clearly highlight the question and the date a response is required by and update the management system with the progress.

5:00pm – 5:30pm. I spend the last half an hour tidying my inbox by sorting the emails into the relevant folders and sending out any remaining, then draft a provisional to-do list for the following day.

After work socialising

There is a strong Fast Stream community in Welsh Government with a forum, monthly meetings and social events. Today we are competing in our local pub quiz, so I head off to meet some other Fast Streamers in Cardiff.