Finance

Sack Deloitte from Test and Trace inquiry role, Labour says

The Labour Party has called for audit firm Deloitte to be sacked from its role preparing NHS Test and Trace for a government inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.

Deloitte won contracts valued at more than £280m advising the government’s Covid-19 Test and Trace programme, according to data provider Tussell. The Big Four auditor has now reportedly been appointed to advise Test and Trace on preparing for the government inquiry into the pandemic.

Deloitte has been awarded a contract to create a “knowledge management system in preparation for the public inquiry”, including an “evidence generation strategy”, Private Eye reported in its 12 November edition.

“Deloitte were paid hundreds of millions of pounds by Test and Trace so it is clearly completely wrong for the company to then be awarded a contract to mark their own homework and help prepare the strategy for dealing with the public inquiry into the government’s mishandling of the pandemic, including the failures of Test and Trace,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner wrote in a 12 November letter to cabinet office minister Steve Barclay.

READ Deloitte execs share £14m profit after Covid-19 contract boom

Deloitte and the Cabinet Office were contacted for comment.

Rayner called for the contract with Deloitte to be terminated due to “blatant conflicts of interest” between the Big Four firm’s role on Test and Trace and its role preparing for the inquiry.

“It is clearly a conflict of interest for Deloitte to be awarded this contract. Why does the government think it is appropriate for this company to mark its own homework and help prepare Test and Trace for the public inquiry?” Rayner’s letter said.

READ Deloitte awarded £3.2m Covid contract for work it had already done, government auditors find

Rayner also asked what work the contract with Deloitte covers, who made the decision to award the contract, and if there were any conflicts of interest raised regarding the fact that Deloitte had been awarded contracts to run Test and Trace.

Deloitte’s average profit per equity partner climbed to £854,000 in the year to 31 May, up from £731,000 the previous year, thanks in part to its public sector work.

“Our highest profile project involved bringing together expertise from across our firm to help design the national testing programme — the largest diagnostics network in UK history. This capability has played a key part in the re-opening of the UK economy after months of national restrictions,” Richard Houston, Deloitte’s chief executive and senior partner said in a statement when the firm’s results were announced in September.

READ Deloitte hands staff ‘thank you’ bonus of up to £2,000 as it rolls back cost-saving measures

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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