Life in the GCS Fast Stream

Blog post by Thomas Channon

Thursday 25 October 2018

Thomas Channon, a GCS fast streamer, reflects on his time with the Cabinet Office's Business Partnerships Team

Thomas Channon and John Manzoni

The fast stream is brilliant. You get the opportunity to experience the fast-paced nature of working in government. One moment you can find yourself in a meeting within Number 10, the next you may be writing a briefing for a Minister. The fast stream truly throws you into a variety of fascinating and worthwhile work areas, across government and in a very short period of time.

After finishing my first posting with HMRC’s press office, I was excited to find out that my next placement was to be in the Cabinet Office’s Business Partnerships Team (BPT). The Business Partnerships Team (BPT), I soon learnt, plays a vital role within government. With topics such as innovation, productivity, skills development and EU Exit at the front of business leaders’ minds, it has been an incredibly exciting time to work with the team.

The BPT’s core purpose is to bring the valuable expertise of businesses into government to help feed into policymaking. This proactive approach has helped to form long term partnerships with business on a number of projects and campaigns, such as Shared Parental Leave, the Race Disparity Audit and Age Tech. My work has brought me in close contact with corporates, think tanks, foundations and entrepreneurs and has helped me to develop my communications skills in narrative development, content creation, social media planning, horizon scanning and much more.

It was my work with the Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP), coordinated and funded jointly by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that made me really appreciate the BPT’s purpose. As an integral part of the government’s agenda for building a stronger economy and fairer society, the Inclusive Economy Partnership has shown me the importance of bringing together businesses and civil society organisations with government to address some of society’s toughest challenges, such as mental health in the workplace, transition to work for young people and financial inclusion and capability.

Now I’m coming towards the end of my six month placement within Cabinet Office, I look back at the highlights. For me, there are almost too many to remember: talking with John Manzoni at the All Staff Conference, helping to organise an IEP milestone event in Number 10, working with a professional film and podcast crew and meeting the actor and campaigner Michael Sheen. But overall, with so many different highlights, I think what I will remember most is the fantastic work that is being done by the BPT.

One thing which I think differentiates the Cabinet Office from other departments, is the high number of skill swaps and development opportunities. It is fantastic to work alongside a group of civil servants that have a strong desire to help you learn, develop and achieve. My next placement takes me to the Department for Education. A role which I hope will present a new set of challenges but also one where I can use the skills learnt within the Cabinet Office.

To find out more about the Business Partnerships Team, please visit our GOV.UK page.

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