Consultancy firm paid £563,400 to help set out ‘vision’ for test and trace body

American giant McKinsey was paid more than half a million pounds for a 40-day-long consulting contract to advise the Government on the “vision” for a new test and trace body.

The consulting giant won a contract in May to write a document setting out the long-term “mission and vision” for the proposed new organisation for the coronavirus test and trace programme.

The deal, first reported by Civil Service World, was worth £563,400 for McKinsey, according to a recently published contract with the Department of Health and Social Care.

It commits the consultancy firm to provide a document with “design principles for the organisation design exercise” and “high-level KPIs” (key performance indicators), as well as potential options for how the organisation should be structured, with a list of pros and cons of each.

The contract said that McKinsey “in keeping with its approach to ensure value for money for its clients” will not charge per hour or day of its time. Instead it charges for delivering a project by a date.

“This fee includes all time, expenses, overtime, weekend work and use of dedicated resources and consultation with other (McKinsey) experts who are not part of the full-time team.”

The NHS’s test and trace system was set up in a bid to track down Covid-19 outbreaks, and could let life return to a new normal in the UK while still keeping infection rates low.

“While this service is being rapidly stood up to meet near term objectives, work is required to develop options for the longer term future of the organisation responsible for this and associated services,” the contract states.

Questions have also been raised over a clause which allows McKinsey to hold on to the birth certificates, driving licence details, utility bills and health details of customers, public officers and users of websites.

The consultancy will be allowed to keep the data for seven years after the contract ends.

On Twitter, Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth said: “What a total waste of money. But what’s really concerning is this re McKinsey holding onto personal health data for seven years. Why have ministers agreed to this? We’ll be raising in Parliament when we return.”

McKinsey was contacted for comment.