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News : Coronavirus: Outsourcing Row Over New £10m Test & Protect Contract


Glasgow, Scotland, Nov 27, 2020 -- The Scottish Government has agreed to pay a private company for help with Covid tracing, despite SNP ministers insisting the work is not being outsourced.

NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) has signed a deal with Glasgow telemarketing firm Pursuit Digital Ltd for "additional Test and Protect call centre capacity".

NSS said the work would "free NHS colleagues to return to vital front-line services".

Labour said it suggested there was "chaos" in the Test and Protect system.

The deal, confirmed on the Government’s procurement website, was awarded directly rather than through competition under emergency Covid rules.

NSS said the reason was "extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable".

The contract is for an initial two month period up January 3, with a possible extension to 31 March 2021.

In May, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government would meet or exceed its target of finding 2,000 people to carry out contact tracing.

However, in September it emerged that Scotland had just 874 contact tracers available.

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Last month there was a row over the private sector filling the gaps, after ministers said "all the work of identifying and tracing contacts will be done within Scotland’s NHS".

It emerged NSS gave funds to Motherwell-based call centre Ascensos and to Barrhead Travel for the "immediate and rapid deployment of contact tracers".

Accused at the time of reneging on her commitment, Nicola Sturgeon denied the use of private call centres amounted to outsourcing.

She said: "No parts of the contact tracing system is run by the private sector. I want to make that perfectly clear.

"This small number of staff recruited from the private sector work within the NHS system, they work under direction of the NHS, they are trained in Test and Protect, they work as part of that integrated NHS system – they are not working to a private company that has been given the responsibility of running contact tracing.

"That’s not semantics, that’s a very, very different thing."

Responding to the latest contract, Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: "It again shows chaos [in Test and Protect].

"On the one hand, when they’re public facing, ministers are saying this is in-house and NHS, but millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is going to these private companies.

"SNP Ministers were warned months ago to build up contact tracing capacity and draw on the 20,000 volunteers who offered their skills and expertise to the NHS during the first wave.

"The increasing reliance on outsourcing raises a number of serious questions about the Scottish Government’s management of Test and Protect and the consequences for lives and livelihoods."

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton added: "Until we get a vaccine, public health and public freedoms are entirely dependent on the strengths of the testing, tracing and spot-checking systems.

"The Scottish Government squandered the summer lull when they should have built up capacity and we're still playing catch up.

"This week's figures show that just shy of 450 people who received a positive diagnosis weren't interviewed within the first 24 hours of Test and Protect being told.

"Those delays put their contacts, and the public as a whole, at risk.

"People have made sacrifices for months and the government needs to keep its side of the bargain.

"That must involve being fully transparent about how many tracers we have and how many more are available."

A spokesperson for Pursuit said: "As one of Scotland’s leading contact centre and digital technology providers, we have been engaged by NHS National Services Scotland to provide support to the National Contact Tracing Centre.

"Our contract is subject to performance targets and our team is prepared to meet the demands of any requirements specified by NHS National Services Scotland."

A spokesperson for NHS National Services Scotland said: "NSS has agreed a contract with Pursuit to provide staff in support of the vital work of Scotland’s National Contact Tracing Centre (NCTC).

"This strengthens capacity across the full range of tracing activity that NCTC delivers in support of our NHS and communities across Scotland.

"Pursuit have been contracted on a short-term basis, initially until January 3, with the option to extend until April 1 following a robust review of performance and dependent upon demand.

"To comply with procurement regulations, published award notices must include maximum potential costs, such as assuming all optional extensions are agreed and completed.

"In the vast majority of cases, total contract costs fall significantly below the sum stated in the award notice.

"All staff provided will be based in the UK and trained to the same high standards as NHS colleagues working within Scotland’s NCTC.

"This partnership ensures resilience, achieves maximum value for our NHS and enables NCTC to scale up or down swiftly to support Scotland’s Test and Protect programme.

"Our NHS continues to lead our national contact tracing programme, working in partnership with health boards, laboratories and testing centres and supported by Scottish Government."

NSS also awarded global consultants KPMG a £500,000 contract in May for "programme support services" for "trace, test, isolate and support".

Later the same month, it awarded a deal to Buckinghamshire-based 8x8 Ltd, who provide online communications systems, for "virtual contact centre software and services".

The work was categorised as "Contact Centre Service for Contact Tracing".

And in September, NSS awarded a contract for to Glasgow-based Elite Training and Consultancy Ltd for the "delivery of on boarding digital events for Contact Tracing".

In addition, NSS also awarded a contract to Irish firm Nearform Ltd in July for "a proximity tracing app for Scotland and technical support services".


Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

Today's Tip of the Day - Impacts Of Technology

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide Consultancies

Call Center Masters

Giving consulting services to call centers

CC-CMM Certification Institute

CC-CMM Certification


Service Journey Thinking
Service Journey Thinking is a comprehensive approach for improving the experience customers have along the service journey. It considers the service journey not only from the customer’s perspective, but it also examines the components that support the experience, including people, technology, processes and policies. By applying Service Journey Thinking, COPC Inc. helps brands promote greater efficiency, improved performance and reduced cost within their operations. For customers, this means reduced effort, improved satisfaction and enhanced loyalty.


Genesys PureConnect
Call Centers, Contact Centers and Cloud Solutions Consultancies

Customer Support Asia

Customer Support Asia assures the success of service offshoring initiatives in the Philippines. Our consultancy serves both:
- clients that have service partners in the Philippines, and need to implement a major service initiative (performance/CX improvement, service change, site expansion, etc); and
- clients that desire to outsource services to the Philippines for the first time, and need expert help to qualify an an "ideal fit" partner, and manage an end-to-end service transition

We support both contact center services and "back office" BPO projects, limiting our practice to sites in the Philippines

CX Central

Contact Centre Specialist Consulting
CX Consult provides specialist contact centre consulting with decades of experience across Australia and Asia/Pacific lead by industry expert Justin Tippett. Services include health checks, optimisation, outsourcing (local and offshore), technology upgrades, strategy and more.

Whether you have a 5 seat contact centre or a large multi-site operation we'll provide you with expert advice to ensure you can achieve your business objectives.

ERIC YOUNG ASSOCIATES (Tele-Centre Assist Inc.)

Contact Center Consulting & Profit Improvement (Lean Six Sigma), Inside Sales, Efficiencies, Call Center Audit, Technology & vendor selection, Telephony, Recruiting, Training, Performance Management, Customer Journey Mapping, Software (CRM) Implementations

Lieber & Associates

Contact Center Consulting
Lieber & Associates assists organizations with contact center issues.This includes management, processes, training, and technology. The firm's assessments evaluate and make recommendations for 15 call center areas ranging from call seasonalities to staffing to better use of the telephone systems. Contact center technology services range from new technology selection and implementation to problem-solving and optimization to technical trouble-shooting. Senior consultants have more than 20 years of experience each and are leaders in their discipline. Clients span most business sectors.

Mpathy Plus

Mpathy Plus transform service, improve performance and provide operational support. We work in all areas of customer service and contact centres from initial strategy, feasibility studies, business cases, project management through to operational reviews, resource planning etc. We are independent and have vast experience of implementing, managing and changing contact centres and the customer experience.

Outsourcing Solutions Europe

Outsourcing Solutions Europe is an advisory firm that helps companies to find the right contact center/BPO partner to serve European customers

PCA Advisors Ltd

Contact Center Sales - growth and marketing strategies
I work with contact centers to position their companies to take advantage of opportunities that exist for them. We also work with their existing sales team to improve their communication and hunting skills. 'Growth' is our greatest ability.

Pelorus Associates

Marketing Communications
Pelorus Associates is a market research and marketing communications company that assists developers of contact center solutions by providing in-depth market research and by authoring white papers, e-books, and blog posts.


We can help You boost Your business results by:

- Building or developing high performing multi-channel customer care operations

- Improving metrics like Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), First Contact Resolution (FCR), Customer Retention rate, Inbound conversions

- Developing Your teams' skills to excel front and back-office operations and Customer relations

- Preparing and executing efficient Voice of the Customer and Customer Advocacy approach

- We will help You manage challenges and risks when changes affect people, operations and technology.


PT VADS Indonesia provides consultancies with trainers, modules, a development programs for individuals and/or teams. Types of consultancies provided by PT VADS: Knowledge Process, Transformation Consultancy, Customer Services, Contact Center, Leadership, Interpersonal Development, Motivation, Training for Trainers and Digital Marketing.

SCC Services Group

Contact Center Operations Performance Management
In today’s competitive business environment, contact center and marketing professionals are constantly challenged to manage a growing business, achieve superior performance levels and at times are asked to support services and products that are becoming more complex.

Faced with this reality, the consulting disciplines that SCC Services Group focuses on are operations management and service delivery excellence in the customer service, contact center and brand marketing arenas.

Our consulting practice puts emphasis on:

- Contact Center Operational Assessments
- Human Capital Management
- Organizational Structure
- Brand Marketing
- Strategic Planning
- Sales and Customer Care Tra...
(read more)

The Taylor Reach Group

Established in 2003, The Taylor Reach Group is an award winning, call, contact centre and customer experience consulting and advisory firm. The company is based in Toronto and has offices in New York, Atlanta, Washington, Ottawa, London, Bangalore, Hong Kong and Beijing. We are vendor agnostic and do not partner with technology or outsource agencies. The only one who pays us are our clients. Each of our consultants possess a minimum of 20 years of ‘hands-on’ call/contact center operational management experience. We do not sell the pyramid, the seasoned experts you deal with through the sales process are the same people who will complete your project.
Taylor Reach has worked with contact cen...
(read more)

Triad Services

Services Triad is a consulting firm with experience in the field of customer relations. He will celebrate his 25th professional anniversary in 2021. His facilitation skills and creativity allow him to work on many transformations related to the operational management challenges of customer contact centers.
With the support of his consulting team, he collaborates to many projects in Canada and abroad for public and private sector organizations. More than 275 consulting assignments and 150 benchmarking studies are part of his curriculum.

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