Coronavirus: Contact Tracing

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook a delivery model assessment to determine whether the private sector was best placed to operate test, track and trace services for covid-19.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions officials in his Department have had with (a) NHS officials and (b) local authorities leaders prior to deciding to outsource the operation of covid-19 contact tracing to Serco.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what procurement process his Department undertook prior to awarding the contract for operating covid-19 contact tracing services to Serco.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the contract for operating covid-19 contact tracing services was awarded to Serco.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

A proportionate delivery model assessment was undertaken in the decision to outsource the services to the private sector. This assessment was influenced by the speed to recruit, volume of staff required and timescales in moving back to delivery business as usual public services. Discussions were held with various officials before the decision to outsource was made. It quickly became evident that the public sector could not stand 18,000 contact tracers within the required timescales. There was also a risk that as the country exited lockdown, public servants would need to return to business as usual which would not have been possible with 18,000 people released as contact tracers.

The contract to Serco was a direct award under Lot 2 of Crown Commercial Service’s Contact Centre Services framework. All suppliers on Lot 2 were engaged with, in order to ascertain capabilities to meet the contract output specifications.

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