Thursday 12 November 2020 3:02 pm

Deloitte defends £38.8m test and trace reward

Management consultancy Deloitte has defended earning £38.8m for services relating to the government’s coronavirus ‘test and trace’ system. 

The audit and consultancy giant has earned some £38.8m for services relating to the government’s test and trace programme, according to Open Democracy. The government’s test and trace programme is largely considered a failure.   

Read more: Dido Harding slammed for ‘three per cent’ Test and Trace success rate

A Deloitte spokesperson defended its role, saying the managing consultancy giant was “immensely proud to have been able to step up and answer the government’s call to British businesses to support the national testing programme when the pandemic first emerged.”

They continued: “At short notice we have provided the capacity, skills and expertise at the scale needed to support this critically important programme.”

Deloitte said 40 public and private sector companies are working on test and trace. 

“The UK is now testing more per capita than most major countries in Western Europe,” the spokesperson continued.

“Our digital technology, procurement, supply chains, logistics, real estate and project management teams have worked tirelessly since March. We look forward to continuing our support in the testing programme.” 

Read more: Covid19: Test and trace success rate stays near record low

Since its inception the scheme has faced a myriad of problems. A spreadsheet error last month caused by Public Health England trying to collate data from multiple sources into Excel meant almost 16,000 positive cases were missed and added to the nation’s coronavirus tally weeks later.

The system hit a record low point last month, with just 59.6 per cent of contacts of people who tested positive being successfully told to self-isolate.

The Treasury has allocated around £12bn to the scheme so far – equivalent to what the government normally spends on nursery and university education each year.

Deloitte’s role has included helping to set up testing facilities, and co-ordinating the initial set-up of home testing kits and NHS trust locations and care homes. 

The consultancy has been clear to distance itself from the tracing aspect of the programme – it has not been a part of building any contact tracing solution for the UK market at a national or local level.

The testing process has not been problem-free. Towards the end of the summer some people with coronavirus symptoms were sent hundreds of miles to test centres.

Deloitte is one of a handful of management consultancies to have worked on the scheme. PwC and McKinsey have also received millions from the Department of Health, Open Democracy has reported.