To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had on the appointment of Serco to oversee manual covid-19 contact tracing; what assessment he has made of the (a) value for money and (b) effectiveness of that centralised approach compared with resourcing local authorities or CCGs to deliver contact tracing at a local level.
Contact tracing will be overseen by specialist public health staff supported by a mix of health professionals and call handlers.
We are working with a number of private companies to ensure we have the right number and calibre of call handlers. Serco are an approved supplier on the Contact Centre Services contact centre framework. They gained their place through fair and open competition via an Official Journal of the European Union procurement. Value for money and capability were part of the assessment criteria. The Department has put in place arrangements to ensure robust contract management in line with relevant guidance.
The approach to contact tracing in the test and trace programme recognises the importance of both national and local approaches.