A £2,000-a-day job advert for a test and trace boss has asked for experience in handling underperforming call centres. 

The ad for a Department of Health and Social Care VP of Operations emerged on the same day it was announced the system was still failing to reach the required 80% of contacts of people who tested positive.

The call from recruitment agency Quast asked for ‘experience (and evidence) of turning around failing call centres’ and a had preference for someone who showed ‘examples of quick wins’.

It added the successful applicant would manage two trace clients. 

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The system is currently run by private companies Serco and Sitel.

The advert, which stated the contract would end in March next year and be based in London, has now been removed by the DoH and will be redrafted, the Guardian reported.  

A DoH spokeswoman 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 one million people who may have been at risk of unwittingly spreading the virus.’

The performance of the test and trace system continues to slide, with just one in seven people having a test at a centre getting their result back in 24 hours.

The new weekly data from the programme shows 15.1% of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending October 14 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called in-person test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is down from 32.8% in the previous week and is the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began.

The figures also show a drop to 59.6% in the proportion of close contacts of people who tested positive who were reached.

This is the lowest weekly percentage since test and trace began and is down from 63% in the previous week.

For cases handled by local health protection teams, 94.8% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 14.

But for cases handled either online or by call centres, this figure was 57.6%.

Boris Johnson said on Thursday the test and trace scheme needed improvement.

He added: ‘I share people’s frustrations and I understand totally why we do need to see faster turnaround times and we do need to improve it.’

Dido Harding, who runs the scheme, said that reducing turnaround times was an ‘absolute priority’. 

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