Salesforce has teamed up with sprawling consultancy Deloitte to peddle COVID-19 contact-tracing software to UK local authorities.
The UK government previously said its centralised test and trace system is intended to “work as one” with local authorities to “ensure that as many people as possible are reached by contact tracing.”
Seemingly, or perhaps wilfully, oblivious to these facts, Salesforce and Deloitte have now launched their own pitch to local authorities, as pointed out by The Guardian.
The pitch goes as follows:
Local break-outs of COVID-19 have put pressure on health protection teams to manage effective contact tracing.
No, really? “Many different approaches have been used to contact people with positive tests and trace their families and close contacts.” Some of which you both have already sold to the government, but go on… “Looking to the future, how can we put in place agile, robust and secure solutions, to support the teams dealing with local outbreaks?”
You tell us. Isn’t that what Deloitte, Serco, and Sitel were supposed to do in the first place?
Anyway, NHS Test and Trace, as the privately provided system is called, has not exactly gone to plan. Most recently, problems such as under-used contact tracers, continual software glitches and sluggish data-sharing with local authorities have been documented by Alex Lee, a former BBC journalist who retrained as a healthcare professional, in the broadcaster’s Panorama programme.
UK doctors' union the BMA has called for the role of private outsourcing in England to be scrutinised in any future public inquiry on the UK government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Salesforce and Deloitte have yet to respond to The Register’s request for comment. Still, the idea that a consultancy firm might design a system which struggles and then tries to flog an equivalent solution to the same public purse represents a degree of brass neck. ®