This example e-Tray exercise has been provided to give those interested in applying for the Fast Stream a chance to experience an “e-Tray Exercise” which is one




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Civil Service Resourcing

Fast Stream

Example e-Tray Exercise

Overview


This example e-Tray exercise has been provided to give those interested in applying for the Fast Stream a chance to experience an “e-Tray Exercise” which is one of the exercises we use as part of the Fast Stream selection process. The aim of this example exercise is to explain what this type of assessment will involve and give you the opportunity to have prior experience of one.


An e-Tray exercise is a type of “work sample” exercise. Work Sample exercises are used for assessment purposes as they:


  • Ask people to make judgements and decisions about practical issues

  • Reflect work-related situations and assess how well people would perform in such situations

  • Provide evidence about an individual’s performance against a range of work place competencies which are considered key to a role

  • Minimise subjectivity, bias, and irrelevance in the selection process


This example exercise takes approximately 45 minutes. Generally, formal e-Tray assessments last from 2 hours 5 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes. It will:


  • Help you become familiar with the Fast Stream e-Tray work sample exercise format and structure

  • Illustrate some sample questions, which reflect the type of issues you may face in formal assessment

  • Provide some advice and guidance (in the form of Hints and Tips) on how to approach the e-Tray Work Sample Exercise


Our example e-Tray exercise includes a review of all the relevant tasks and instructions, as well as information to give you an overview of the assessment approach. It includes a brief example exercise, which allows you to practise two of the three e-Tray tasks (Tasks 1 and 2). You will also be given some information on the final task (Task 3). You will be able to work through at your own pace, familiarising yourself with the e-Tray assessment format. However, you should time one part of the example exercise (Task 2) in order to give you an indication of the time management challenges associated with completing this task in a formal assessment setting.

Task Instructions


The formal e-Tray assessment will consist of three tasks which are timed separately. The exact timing of each task may vary (as these may be adjusted depending on the version of the exercise). However, typically they are as follows:


  1. Review background information 15 Minutes

  2. Respond to emails (normally 24) 50 Minutes

  3. Written exercise 60 Minutes


Task 1 is not assessed and will allow you to read through and familiarise yourself with the background information about the scenario. Task 2 requires you to respond to a series of e-mails that will be presented to you. Task 3 requires you to draft a detailed free text email response to a request. All of the information you will need to complete these tasks will be presented on the computer screen and you will be able to access it throughout the exercise.


In a moment you will be given an opportunity to review some background information which is relevant to the exercise. This review period reflects Task 1 above but will not be timed in this instance. This is to give you plenty of time to become familiar with the example exercise scenario. However, you should bear in mind that in a formal assessment the time to complete this task would be controlled and more documents would typically be provided, reflecting the fact that you would require more background information to complete a full exercise. You may need to use a calculator while working through some of the tasks in the exercise and should keep one to hand. In the formal assessment a standard calculator will be provided.


Before you begin Task 1 you will be provided with some information about the example exercise scenario, as well as your role and responsibilities. This information will be presented to you on the next page. Once you have read this and are ready to review the background information, proceed to the following page. These are the equivalent to the on-screen folders in the Inbox. When you have completed this review and are ready to start Task 2, you will be given further information and instructions relevant to this task.

Example Exercise Scenario


The scenario is set in 2016. It is entirely fictitious. No specialist knowledge or experience of the subject is required. It is possible to provide a full answer from the information given in the documents. In particular, for the purposes of the exercise, you should not make any assumptions about the overall policies of the Government in power in 2016, other than those described in the information provided.


The exercise puts you in the position of a Fast Streamer working for the Disease Prevention Unit (DPU) within the Department of Public Health. The Unit is involved in developing and implementing policy regarding the UK’s fight against major human infectious diseases.


Your main work involves looking at ways of controlling and limiting the impact of disease, developing policy on buying, stockpiling and distributing vaccines, as well as liaison with local authorities regarding the development of plans to combat potential or actual outbreaks. The work has recently involved looking at the effectiveness of immunisation programmes in the UK compared to other countries, and commissioning threat analyses and simulations of potential major threats over the next five years. Your department oversees the Emergency Vaccine Programme that controls and allocates vaccines intended for use in emergencies.


Over the last five years, the public has become increasingly aware of the topic of disease prevention, so your area of work is of interest to the media and to Parliament and requires some sensitivity to public perceptions, and care as to the potential impact of your advice and recommendations.


A range of information is available for you to look at when responding to this exercise and can be found in the following folders: "About the DPU"; “Emergency Vaccine Programmes"; and "Press Cuttings". These will give you some background on the Disease Prevention Programme and other information relevant to the issues you must deal with. This information will help you to complete the example exercise.


Task 1 – Folder Content Summary


Folder name: About the DPU


Document Title

Overview of information presented in document





Background to the DPU

Summary of the Disease Prevention Unit’s activities


DPU Organisation

Summary of the organisational structure


Aims and Objectives

Unit and Section aims and objectives


Your Section’s work

Brief summary of the activities of the Category D unit, as well as the roles/responsibilities of the team.

Stages of Alert

Summary of the levels of alert (based on seriousness of threat).




Folder name: Emergency Vaccine Programme

Document Title





Overview of information presented in document

Emergency Vaccine Programme

Background on the Emergency Vaccine Programme

Category D Threat Analysis

Current threat level analysis for Category D diseases

Category D Diseases


Description of Category D diseases, including current measures to address these




Folder name: Press Cuttings


Document Title


Overview of information presented in document

The Kill Big H campaign ready to roll

Article in national newspaper highlighting the background to Histalgicomis and mentioning the forthcoming Dept of Health campaign

Perri Fever closes in on Rafaranda

Article in national newspaper providing some information on Perri Fever and highlighting the plight of Rafaranda

Extract of Research article by Professor Oliver Wendle.

Extract of research challenging current mortality rate estimates for Perri Fever.

FOLDER CONTENT


FOLDER ONE: About the DPU


THE DISEASE PREVENTION UNIT (DPU)


The Disease Prevention Unit is part of the Department for Public Health. The Unit is involved in developing and implementing policy regarding the UK’s fight against major human infectious diseases.


This involves the Unit in looking at ways of controlling and limiting the impact of disease, developing policy on buying, stockpiling and distributing vaccines, as well as liaison with local authorities regarding the development of plans to combat potential or actual outbreaks. Recent work has included comparing the effectiveness of immunisation programmes in the UK with those in other countries, and commissioning threat analyses and simulations of potential major threats over the next five years.


The Unit also oversees the Emergency Vaccine Programme that controls and allocates vaccines intended for use in emergencies.


Over the years, the DPU has been criticised for operating in a policy making ‘vacuum’, having very little interaction with the range of interested parties directly affected by disease control provision (e.g. Local Health Services, Health Professionals, Academics and Researchers). A growing awareness of this lack of stakeholder involvement has resulted in a change of approach. Although the DPU continues to maintain overall control of disease prevention in the UK, to enhance cooperation it now actively involves a range of external representatives in a consulting and oversight capacity. These representatives sit on a number of specialist committees. The intention of these committees is to ensure maximum possible collaboration and stakeholder engagement, as well as transparent scrutiny of policy development.


The general public is seen as the key stakeholder, and local/national press is considered a key conduit for public information and opinion forming. As a result, the DPU has become increasingly conscious of its relationship with the press and has a dedicated Press Office to assist with information sharing. The Press Office is well staffed and has considerable experience of managing the media during alerts and outbreaks. However, careful consideration has to be given as to what information is shared and its timing to ensure accurate and timely reporting.


You are in charge of the section dealing with Category D diseases, which are those diseases that are either new to, or are not typical for, the UK (see list later).


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