Paul Waugh·Executive Editor, Politics, HuffPost UKThu, 25 March 2021, 6:11 pm GMT
Boris Johnson’s controversial Test and Trace service is hiring a “lessons learnt analyst” at a salary of up to £45,000.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has posted a vacancy for the year-long “senior executive officer” role, which will be based in the Joint Biosecurity Centre.
The job advert for the post, which will be part of a “Continuous Improvement Unit”, lists a range of necessary qualifications including “seeing the big picture”, “data manipulation and analysis skills” and “understanding of the political landscape”.
Among the duties will be to “effectively scope Lessons Learnt reviews and agree terms of reference with sponsor(s) and key stakeholder(s), taking account of cost, time and quality factors”.
The advert, shared with HuffPost UK, states: “The Lessons Learnt Team focuses on outbreaks in areas and workplaces, identifying learning opportunities, conducting interviews, research and analysis to identify best practice and recommendations.”
Boris Johnson this week defended the £37bn allocated to Test and Trace claiming it was “a very valuable thing” that enabled ministers to understand the pandemic in a “very granular way”.
But the service, run by Tory peer Dido Harding, has been dogged with criticism since its launch last April.
The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have highlighted its use of outsourced private firms, consultants being paid £1,000 a day and poor performance on contact tracing and testing turnaround times.
Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “Ministers are hiring someone to look into ‘lessons learnt’ at the same time as refusing to set a date for the start of the public inquiry.
“There’s an unfortunate irony in that the role has ‘seeing the big picture’ in the job description because if Matt Hancock had managed to do that in the first place, huge sums of taxpayers cash wouldn’t have been spent on such an ineffective system.
“And they don’t need someone who is good at ‘data manipulation’ as they have clearly been very good at that since the start.”
HuffPost UK revealed on Wednesday that private consultancy firm Deloitte is receiving taxpayer cash to help ministers to draft parliamentary answers and media “lines to take” to defend the service.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “After building a testing system from scratch, we have now carried out over 114 million coronavirus tests – more than any other comparable European country.
“As part of our commitment to improving and expanding services we are recruiting employees with the experience needed to help the system thrive.”
The department said that the role would sit within the JBC to help identify lessons learnt and best practice internally in order to improve operations.
It added that the government had successfully built the largest diagnostic network in British history from scratch, capable of performing more than 750,000 tests a day, compared to 2,000 just ten months ago.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.