back to article Serco bags £322m contract extension for Test and Trace, is still struggling to share data with local authorities

Serco has been awarded a £322m contract to continue its work on the COVID-19 Test and Trace system in England and Northern Ireland. In an announcement to the markets today, the outsourcing giant said the new contract had been awarded after a competitive process run by the Department for Health and Social Care and the Crown …

  1. Korev Silver badge

    Well, it shouldn’t be too Harding to see what’s going to happen here…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The song "Oh what a lovely war" comes to mind .. only "pandemic"

  2. 45RPM Silver badge

    Serco, Harding, Grayling, Handcock, Johnson - it’s a Comedy of Errors, Tory style - and with a body count (128,000) that makes Guardians of the Galaxy (83,871 on-screen deaths) look restrained.

    1. Tom Servo

      *Comedy of Terrors. FTFY.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Serco, Harding, Grayling, Handcock, Johnson. People you know would die of dehydration locked in a bar if the staff were not there to serve them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not a problem. Hancock knows a pub manager... erm, sorry, PPE supplier

  3. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Ah nothing succeeds like failure it seems. Maybe that's the secret. If only I'd failed more I could have been a CEO or a prime minister,or a Lord.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Merely failing isn’t sufficient unfortunately. You need to celebrate your failures and present them as yuge successes. If you’re not a complete psychopath, if you’re painfully aware of the consequences of your errors and the impact that they could have on others then you’re doomed to failure I’m afraid.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Ah yes. That makes sense. I've met a few of those. In education they rise to the top quite quickly, leaving a trail of broken careers, schools, kids, departments and even local authorities. And somehow it's never blamed on them. Even when they do actually have to resign from a post in failure they somehow seem to get seen as nobly taking the bullet for the department, which is left holding the disgrace. While they get a golden pay off and then pop up in a similar or better role before you know it. Just a few thousand quid better off. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard an incredulous "How the f*** did he get that job there?"

        I guess the real question is; who is it that gives these knob-heads a free pass through life, and why?

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Having connections thanks to your family may help too.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      You need to sign up to one of the members clubs, keep going through failures and make them see that you take those like a champ.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Ah, you see, you’ve failed there old boy what what. If you’d gone to Eton you’d have learned that the world revolves around you and those failures are, when you commit them at least, tremendous successes.

  4. sabroni Silver badge

    If you think that is wrong...'re just jealous.

  5. fajensen

    Whatever. Labour would have done worse /s

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is all Michael Foot's fault, for sure.

  6. Fenton


    How can this cost this much money?

    It just seems ridiculous, with this sort of budget you could set up a whole new cloud company role out a track and trace app and give everybody in the country a budget mobile phone.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: £22bn?

      Probably due to paying overpriced consultants that will tell them want their own local team have been telling them for ages. But appears they only listen to the consultant. We had that at a place I was at. That's all the consultant did, talk to us, then palm our ideas off as their own. And then some other ideas they'd come up with, we'd been saying needed to happened for ages.

      And then the rest goes on directors and exec pay I bet.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: £22bn?

      Well, I think a lot of the budget has actually gone on the labs (and buying and losing LFT kits...).

      I think the issue, though, is not where the money has gone but what it has achieved.

      The only purpose in mass testing is if you take some meaningful action as a result and clearly that hasn't happened. If all you want to know is how many people are infected you could do that with statistical sampling of far fewer people (as the ONS survey does).

  7. macjules

    So now we know what SERCO means

    Soames' Extremely Rich COVID-19 Organisation.

  8. PB90210

    "the new contract had been awarded after a competitive process"

    Carefully skewed to make the obvious candidates like NHS and local authorities, the guys with the skills and knowledge and ability, 'uncompetitive'

  9. steviebuk Silver badge

    Can't be bothered to find anyone else

    "the outsourcing giant said the new contract had been awarded after a competitive process run by the Department for Health and Social Care and the Crown Commercial Service."

    Or the Department for Health and Social Care couldn't be bothered to do the work to find someone else, is more likely.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Can't be bothered to find anyone else

      This and carefully worded bids which seem very cheap, but are really just a bait and switch exercise, because the big outsourcers' expertise is mostly in writing them, rather than delivering the goods.

  10. Cynic_999

    We need test & trace

    We desperately need a system that can trace where all the money is going and test whether it is getting anything worthwhile in return.

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