Seven of the ten contracts signed by Test & Trace were awarded unopposed, the UK has discovered public spending surveillance and expressed further concern about government spending during the epidemic.
An interim study by the National Audit Office (NAO) found that Test and Trace spent a total of ৫ 5 billion on 121 contracts that were awarded without direct competitive bidding, using emergency regulations to allow the government to overturn general procurement rules.
A further ৪ 1.4 billion was spent on contracts awarded under “framework agreements,” which allow the government to enter into agreements with pre-selected suppliers.
The government spends about half of what it spends on policing each year – taking into account the amount spent on contract testing and tracing in limited competition.
The news revealed that some PPE suppliers were operated on a “high-priority” channel for government contracts, which resulted in politically affiliated firms being awarded large contracts despite little apparent experience.
The government defended the award of contracts for tests and traces, saying it used the private sector to conduct operations at a faster pace, but the NAO discovered that costing posed “specific risks” including “lack of central oversight” and “conflicts of interest were not being fully managed.” .
It was further observed that in some cases the firms only drew up contracts after commencement of work.
The watchdog revealed problems with contracts with outsourcing giants Serco and Seattle, who had been awarded a 720 720 million contract to communicate in England.
These agreements were so complex that the NAO discovered that the Department of Health and Social Care could not change the number of contact finders working in the call center for three months after the service was launched.
Media reports have found examples of communication tracers spending all day watching Netflix at the time. According to the NAO, call handlers had only 1% of the time spent in proportion to their assigned time, which indicates that “they had very little work to do.”
Yet the government has “quickly become aware of the possibility of additional power”, but it could only change the number of workers after the new section is introduced on 17 August. At the moment it has immediately reduced salaries for employees from 18,000 to 12,000.
The NAO said Test and Trace acknowledged that it had “inadequate commercial control and understanding” and that it needed “improvement”, but experts questioned why these changes needed to be made after commercial sector statistics such as Barnes Dido Harding? Program leadership.
“It’s a very large proportion of the huge amount of money and the government certainly couldn’t get a price like this,” said Nick Davis, program director for the Institute for Government.
“It’s not clear why people from outside the government were overseeing the project because they don’t seem to have improved the commercial oversight of the project.”
The NAO criticized the performance of the test and trace, saying it had missed targets and failed to plan to increase demand for the test.
It found that adequate test results were not provided within 24 hours, and that very few contacts of infected people were reported to have reached self-isolation.
In response to the study, Commons Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said the government had tried to “recover the wheel” by focusing on tests and traces, keeping local public health teams “out of the winter”.
Ms Hillier said: “Speed was key but only two-fifths of the tests were turned over in 24 hours. And Tests and Trace only contacted two-thirds of people who knew they had close contact with the positive test.
“The government needs to work on an urgent basis to find out what is going wrong at every step of the process.
“Throwing more money into the problem is not the answer.
“Testing capabilities have increased and it is easier to take a test locally but the performance of the test and trace is still not good enough.”
The report does not take into account the impact of the expanded mass testing program in recent days, but noted that the cost of tests and traces is only going to get bigger, with an estimated 154 contracts worth ১ 1.2 billion falling by November. 2020 and March 2021.