Just under £19m was spent on the Government’s contact tracing programme last year, the Director General for Justice and Home Affairs has said.
Speaking in a Justice and Home Affairs Scrutiny hearing, Director General Julian Blazeby confirmed the £19m figure was spent in the last six months of 2020, out of a total budget of £24m.
“The budget at the moment was initially indicated for the last six months of 2020 and then a budget allocated for the first six months of 2021,” the Director General said.
“The budget for the last six months of 2020 was in the region of £24m and up till the end of 31st December across a whole range of activity amounted to just under £19m.”
Pictured: The budget for the contact tracing programme was split across departments including Justice and Home Affairs, Infrastructure Housing and Environment, Health and Community Services.
He added this was split, saying it was spread across “contact tracing, monitoring enforcement, testing both travel and on-island testing and then a significant number of back office functions as well.”
Though £30m has been set aside for 2021, a review is still undergoing to assess whether it is still suitable considering changed numbers of travel, testing in schools, and the workforce testing which “wasn’t originally envisaged when the business case for this current year, of £30m, was set aside.” It is expected this review will be finished by February.
He further said that costs incurred for the increased testing in schools over December would be taken out of either the underspend from 2020 or the £30m pot for 2021.
Pictured: Director General for Justice and Home Affairs, Julian Blazeby, said that workforce testing had trailed off before Christmas.
He also revealed that there are currently over 130 employees working on the track and trace team, and said that the majority were not taken from other Government departments, but were “mostly the Back to Work Scheme - those who’ve suffered other challenges through the restricted measures we put in place, so therefore aren’t working their traditional sectors.”
On the subject of the workforce testing scheme, the Director General further noted the number of respondents had tailed off before Christmas.
“The uptake of workforce screening has ebbed and flowed,” he said.
“We had initially good uptake in the latter part of last year, then it tailed off before we got towards Christmas I suspect because maybe were nervous about testing positive or being contact traced and therefore would have disrupted their activities over the holiday period.”
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