Ernst and Young and James Harvard won just-reported contracts in March and April
Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images
The Department of Health and Social Care has published details of two further consultancy contracts for NHS Test and Trace, both more than two months after the work commenced.
On 26 April, the department awarded Ernst and Young a £3,019,800 deal to provide data scientists between 1 April and 30 September. The work supports the Joint Biosecurity Centre, the division of Test and Trace which aims to provide evidence-based assessment and advice on the pandemic. In the published contract, all the details of grades and rates of staff covered have been erased. The deal was published through the government’s Contracts Finder website on 2 June.
On 23 March, the department awarded a £756,000 contract to build an enquiries, feedback and complaints digital helper to James Harvard, a management consultancy previously known as Hays Project Solutions. This is intended to allow the enquiries division of NHS Test and Trace to run such digital services without further support. The published contract lists 10 roles including a senior agile delivery lead and a digital solutions architect, but all financial details have been removed. It was published on 26 May.
NHS Test and Trace has been criticised for its extensive use of consultants. In February, its head Dido Harding told MPs that the organisation had begun “scaling down” its use of consultants, who charged an average of £1,100 per person per day with the highest daily rate of £6,624. In January, it was using around 900 Deloitte consultants and had earlier paid McKinsey, where Harding once worked, £563,400 to help define its “vision, purpose and narrative”.
In December last year, the National Audit Office criticised NHS Test and Trace for wasting money on outsourced workers, although this focused on call handlers who at some periods were used for only 1% of the time they worked.