Welcome to the Fast Stream Opportunity Network (or FSON for short).
We will be formally launching the FSON on the 17th March alongside our sister group, the Civil Service Opportunity Network (CSON). You can look forward to hearing some words from our backers, finding out our next steps and, most importantly, getting to know us as individuals and as a community closer to that time.
For now, we’ve put together a little introduction to give you an idea of who we are, what we’re about and how you can help.
Who we are
We are a community that has come together to give support to others from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We formed as a group of Fast Stream peers independently coming together in late 2015 and to date have grown to over 70.
We have also supported the formation of our sister community, the Civil Service Opportunity Network, which has the same aims and values as us and provides focussed support to the needs of the wider Civil Service.
We are particularly focused on helping those from ‘poor’ – what we call ‘low socio-economic’ – backgrounds who have not had the opportunities to develop their full potentials to be as successful as they can be in the Fast Stream.
‘Poor’ doesn’t mean you’re not financially well-off. You could come from a low socio-economic background because of a lack of support throughout school or in families, or even a lack of exposure to positive role models in professional occupational backgrounds. If you’re from a low socio-economic background you might feel disadvantaged because of any of the following:
- Having a low income
- Non-professional parental background
- Regional accents
- Being in care
- Having personally been, or having family, in the justice system
- Being on benefits
There are many reasons why you might come from a low socio-economic background that leaves you feeling disadvantaged. There is no single type of disadvantage.
We are completely inclusive communities; if you want to contribute to making a difference then you are free to follow, join and participate in the work we do. You can follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our email updates to see what we are up to. We will regularly send opportunities for you to get involved and we’ll share our individual stories so you don’t feel alone in your experiences.
Fast Stream Opportunity Network – @FSOppNetwork
Civil Service Opportunity Network – @CSOppNetwork
Just go here and fill out your details: http://eepurl.com/bTedF1
What we will do
We want to promote the diversity of potential individuals across the Civil Service have and break the stereotypical image of a ‘Fast Streamer’. We want to celebrate and champion differences in background and the variety of skills that brings to the Civil Service. We will do this by:
- Supporting outreach work, targeting socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
We want to remove any barriers – including psychological – to entry and progression as a result of someone’s background. We want to break the vicious cycle of disadvantage by ensuring people are able to gain new experiences, face stretching challenges and advance their development because they have the potential to go further. We will do this by:
- Working with stakeholders such as Civil Service Resourcing to improve the Fast Stream experience for this group including the application process, training and postings.
We envision a Civil Service that is truly representative and better integrated with wider society. We want to see a Senior Civil Service that role models diversity. Conscious and unconscious bias must be addressed wherever it is, such as with regards to accents, education and background. We will do this by:
- Working with partners with similar aims.
- Representing this group of Fast Streamers to partners.
All Civil Servants should feel comfortable being themselves and truly able to bring their whole self to work. All Civil Servants must have good awareness and understanding of difference and diversity and the barriers that people can face. We will do this by:
- Facilitating socials, support groups and targeted learning and development opportunities.
- Support similar work in other development opportunities such as the Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme
How you can help
If you want to get involved all we need is a commitment to our purpose.
We want to foster an atmosphere of inclusiveness and openness. This will mean an environment where anyone can be honest and not subject to judgement of any kind. We must all avoid being dismissive of the experiences and views of others and encourage contributions from everybody.
Where experiences are shared we ask that Chatham House rules be observed unless otherwise stated. Individuals will be able to state their consent if they’re happy for experiences to be associated with them personally, or if they would prefer their experiences to not be shared at all, and those wishes must be respected at all times.
We are just getting started so there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved.
The FSON community will grow and change in line with the needs of Fast Streamers who face socioeconomic disadvantage. The network welcomes feedback and input from its membership at any time.
Get in touch
You can leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter or if you prefer you can email Kieren.Aris@faststream.civilservice.gov.uk confidentially.