Signs that the government’s test and trace operations might have run aground were made evident yesterday after the Department of Health posted a job advert for a Senior Delivery Manager with “experience of turning around failing call centres”.
According to the ad the DHSC is looking for a temporary “VP of operations” with experience “in running call centres of 18,000” for a rate of up to £2,000 a day.
It comes as the prime minister, Boris Johnson, admitted that the £12 billion coronavirus contact-tracing service needed to provide faster results and he shared “people’s frustrations” over turnaround times.
Figures published on Thursday showed test and trace figures had hit a new low of less than 60 per cent of close contacts being reached, while turnaround times had risen to nearly 48 hours.
The job post added that the DHSC was looking for a candidate who “can implement improvements straight away”, had “experience (and evidence) of turning around failing call centres” and had “examples of quick wins”.
Interesting job ad. Department of Health looking for a ‘Senior Delivery Manager’ for test and trace operations. *£2,000 a day.* “Experience of turning around failing call centres” a must. https://t.co/NId3PooV93 pic.twitter.com/n9zAfhep1W— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) October 22, 2020
The advert, which was posted on the website of the recruitment company Quast, has since been taken down. An employee at Quast confirmed that the job advert had been placed with them, adding that they had only realised the “nature and sensitivity of the role” once they began to get inquiries about the job.
The deadline for applications was listed as Friday 23 October.
The DHSC confirmed that it was actively recruiting for the role, but added that the advert would be redrafted. It did not deny or confirm whether the day rate for a successful applicant would be up to £2,000 a day, as originally stated.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “The text for this advert was not drafted or approved by the department. As part of our ongoing commitment to improve services, we are recruiting experienced employees with a wide range of experience, including driving high performance.
“To date, with the help of NHS test and trace call handlers, the service has contacted over 1 million people who may have been at risk of unwittingly spreading the virus.”