SERCO have sub contracted contact tracing to CONCENTRIX (firm who were involved with tax credits)
HeIenaDove · 23/09/2020 17:23
It gets better folks
Exclusive: Serco Have Subcontracted Contact Tracing Jobs To The Company Embroiled In The Tax Credits Scandal And Debt Collection Companies
The firm behind last year’s tax credits scandal as well as companies linked to debt collection services are among those who have been handed contact tracing roles by Serco, PoliticsHome can reveal.
The outsourcing giant was handed a lucrative £108m contract earlier this year to run a major part of the government's contract tracing work, but has come under fire for subcontracting dozens of firms to conduct the bulk of the work.
In June, ministers confirmed that Serco had subcontracted approximately 9,000 staff out of the total 10,500 required to run the service to a panel of 29 subcontractors, but refused to reveal the list of firms because of commercial sensitivity.
But PoliticsHome can reveal that Concentrix, the US company behind a major tax credits debacle, are among those who have been handed contracts by Serco to provide staff to run the scheme.
Concentrix had been hired by HMRC in 2014 to tackle fraud and error in the tax credit system, but were removed just two years later following a swathe of complaints from MPs and claimants who had had their benefits reduced or halted by the firm
Ministers later admitted that 87% of the 36,000 people who lodged an appeal against the firm's rulings had their complaints upheld, while HMRC revealed that the cost of conducting mandatory reviews and closing the 181,000 cases left open by Concentrix had cost a further £30m in staff time.
Last year, the firm faced further criticism over their handling of the UK's Action Fraud call center after an investigation by The Times revealed staff handling calls had described fraud victims as "morons", "psychos" and "screwballs".
Speaking to MPs after the reports, then-civil service chief executive John Manzoni said officials would "make sure" the firm were not awarded further government work "unless they could persuade us that they had got better".
But despite the scandals, the company appears to have been contracted by Serco to run Tier 3 contact tracing services, which involves calling people who have come into close contact with an infected person and telling them to self-isolate.
Meanwhile, Serco have also handed contracts to two companies whose work is connected to debt collection services.
NCO Europe is a debt collection company that bills itself as “the UK's leading customer service provider, from Contact Solutions to creating Payment Plans”, while Arvato CRM UK says it delivers “award-winning customer service and back-office processing services for some of the world’s most respected brands”. It is part of the global network of Arvato, owned by Bertelsman. Its sister company, Arvato Financial Solutions, offers debt collection services.
Ministers have already faced criticism over the use of private firms to conduct contact tracing after it was revealed in August that the system had reached just 54% of people who had been in close contact with an infected person in the 20 worst-hit parts of the UK.
A spokesperson for Arvato declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Department for Health directed PoliticsHome to Serco. A spokesperson for the outsourcing firm said: “We went through a due diligence process for all our subcontractors that looked at their contact centre and customer service experience.
“Some of the subcontractors were already also on the Cabinet Office’s Crown Commercial Framework for Contact Centres.”
NCO Europe and Concentrix did not respond to requests for comment.
Responding to the story, shadow cabinet minister Rachel Reeves said: "As if continuing outsourcing to a company with such a bad track record wasn't enough, this government didn't even ensure that those it was subcontracting were up to the job.
"Instead of outsourcing to tier upon tier of private companies, this Tory government should have put money into our public services which know local communities better, and are far more efficient.
"With the testing system on the brink of collapse when we need it most, the government has serious questions to answer on why this subcontractor - embroiled in scandal and with a track record of failing government services - was given responsibility for part of one of the most systems in our country."
OldQueen1969 · 23/09/2020 17:51
I'm not a big fan of "big state" but I think for a public health crisis everything related should be dealt with "in house" employing appropriately qualified and experienced people to deal with it. The whole thing about the "moonshot" apparently being a private affair rather than available on the NHS gave me the rage - not that I think its even feasible mind you.
It's a sorry fucking mess in my humble opinion which I have been advised not to share on SM in case my business gets cancelled.
What a fucking world we live in.
HeIenaDove · 23/09/2020 18:28
I posted this over an hour ago. If it was a thread about not being able to wear a mask we would be on at least page 3 by now.
HeIenaDove · 23/09/2020 18:29
YY @OldQueen1969 but ppl wont care. Too much of a hard on for toffs.
Lindy2 · 23/09/2020 18:34
Serco can't even cut the grass at our local park without damaging the trees there.
My heart sank when I heard they would be part of this.
HeIenaDove · 23/09/2020 19:11
And what happened to the masks that Hancock et al ordered that were no good for the NHS because they have ear loops (like the ones ive got from Boots) Why cant they be sent out to low income homes. DWP records make it possible to do.
Xiaoxiong · 23/09/2020 19:32
Queen Can't agree more. The NHS and PHE is actually - or was - really good at contact tracing. When my DH got a notifiable illness a few years ago they traced him and his contacts within a few hours. It beggars belief that they would think a private company setting up from scratch would be faster or do better - this isn't some kind of consumer service where the private sector competition lowers costs and improves results.
HeIenaDove · 23/09/2020 19:40
A report was unable to find a single source of an outbreak of streptococcus that killed 15 people, but what actually happened?
In February 2019 Public Health England identified an outbreak of the invasive strand of Group A streptococcus (iGAS) in the Mid Essex area.
A total of 39 people were infected, 33 of who were confirmed from a blood test to be a part of the outbreak, with a further six possible cases.
Sadly 15 of those infected died.
Of those, 12 died at Broomfield Hospital and one at Colchester Hospital
The infection is caused by a bacteria that can be found in the throat and on the skin, which can become deadly if it enters the body and organs such as muscles, lungs, or the bloodstream.
All but one of the individuals were having treatment from primary care providers, supported by community nursing services for skin/pressure ulcers or other kinds of wound.
All of the individuals were aged 76-95, nine were female and four male.
In March 2019, Public Health England established an incident management multi-agency team to work to control the transmissions of the infection and to prevent more people from becoming infected
Since August 2019, no further cases have been identified.
The incident management team stepped down in January.
To read about the outcome of the report, click here.
Juststopswimming · 23/09/2020 20:13
This really depresses me. Hearing this kind of thing is like watching a car crash in slow motion. Except for this crisis - its like watching twenty different car crashes all one after the other. This government really will go down in history as the biggest disaster to ever hit this country.
I literally could not believe my eyes when I was reading that sycophantic "Boris is right" thread that started last night. Why are people so dense?
OldQueen1969 · 23/09/2020 20:51
Yes just checked back in and surprised that only a few posters had responded...... trouble is we've been encouraged to think that questioning the government's approach is akin to donning the old tin foil and shouting 5G, when actually there is alot of plain bare faced cronyism and corruption going on, which SHOULD be robustly analysed.
Every time people say "But it's all unprecedented and bless the government they're doing their best" I just want to scream...... this has been known about since the end of last year, and since March there has been so much research and information provided and what have we got? Not enough tests, questionable data and non-predictions, massive economic destabilisation, failing mental health and lots of waggy fingers when we've done as we're told.
Trying to keep the responsible level headed middle ground is nigh on impossible - the final insult is oh look, toilet roll is running out again.
Pardon the vernacular but you couldn't make this shit up.
Solidarity with the rational middle
HeIenaDove · 23/09/2020 23:39
Back at ya @OldQueen1969
Butterer · 23/09/2020 23:40
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
PerkingFaintly · 23/09/2020 23:43
Oh god. My heart sank just at the title.
Thanks for posting, Helena. I won't try to read this last thing before bed...
TrickorTreacle · 24/09/2020 02:04
They were a supplier at MOD Abbey Wood (not classified information) and their rates were monstrous. Talk about captive market. A few of us got into trouble over posting in the Soapbox (via MS Outlook Public Folders) but it was in good intentions. My boss hated SERCo as much as I did :-D
HeIenaDove · 24/09/2020 03:04
I read some of the tax credits threads on here in the past and ppl were put through a bloody nightmare.
HeIenaDove · 25/09/2020 19:39
HeIenaDove · 05/10/2020 18:37
Disconnect · 05/10/2020 20:45
Yes just checked back in and surprised that only a few posters had responded...... trouble is we've been encouraged to think that questioning the government's approach is akin to donning the old tin foil and shouting 5G, when actually there is alot of plain bare faced cronyism and corruption going on, which SHOULD be robustly analysed
Yes, criticising the government has now been spun as somehow unpatriotic now. I think it is because the government is so closely associated with brexit in people's minds perhaps.
You should have put 'pubs' in the title, you would have got masses of comments (mostly nutso, but attention none the less)
Disconnect · 05/10/2020 20:49
this has been known about since the end of last year, and since March there has been so much research and information provided and what have we got? Not enough tests, questionable data and non-predictions, massive economic destabilisation, failing mental health and lots of waggy fingers when we've done as we're told
Agree with all this. Diamond Princess quarantined on 5 Feb. Entirely obvious this virus would hit the UK right then.
The government gets away with it because half of the country can't look beyond our borders at what is happening in the rest of the world. They maybe see the the USA is handling it worse and that is enough for them. They may be have heard of NZ and Sweden, but beyond that nothing. They still think the UK is a special case and it is especially hard for the UK to deal with the virus, and the UK government is doing a good job because handling the virus is harder for the UK than anywhere else.
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