The documents, presented in a video call hosted by some of Test and Trace’s top executives, reveal the deep concern within the UK contact tracing organization over its image and performance.
In addition to restoring public confidence, leaders believe they need to “reset” their relationship with local councils, which has been strained since the service began.
Baroness Dido Harding, head of Test and Trace, argued that the service works well with local councils and effectively engages the public.
But the slides, which showcase what the bosses of Test and Trace call “the way to Christmas,” tell a different story.
They show that Test and Trace bosses are aware of the distrust felt by the public and local officials in the national contact tracing service, which has been repeatedly criticized for its poor performance.
Yet although the slides reveal that Test and Trace has ‘mobilized’ 27 ‘workflows’ to reinvent the service as part of a ‘countdown to Christmas’, questions may be asked as to why Measurements are only shown to tracers today – two weeks in a nationwide lockdown that was supposed to buy time for Test and Trace to improve.
The slides reveal that Test and Trace will introduce “strategic communications”, “incentives” and a “citizens’ advisory group” to restore public trust.
Test and Trace also plans to ‘reset our relationship with local authorities’ – although the slides only refer to a measure designed to achieve this – the existing containment framework, which covers local responses to the coronavirus.
The slides call for a “radical change” in the speed of the service, which official figures show is not meeting any of its turnaround targets.
Boris Johnson admitted last month that he shared “people’s frustrations” when testing was needed.
Other priorities for Test and Trace include increasing the size of the service and its data usage. The service has been widely criticized after briefly losing tens of thousands of cases over confusion with an Excel spreadsheet.
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The slides indicate that the “Road to Christmas” program is “to ensure that all staff working on things fall under these five priorities”.
In addition to Baroness Harding, executives on the appeal were David Pitt, COO of Test and Trace, and three senior executives from Public Health England (PHE).
The Department of Health was asked for comment.