https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...ntact-tracers-making-handful-of-calls-a-month "It was hailed as a “world-beating” service by prime minister Boris Johnson at its launch, but three months on and contact tracers hired to work on England’s test-and-trace system say they are making only a handful of calls every month and are occupying their time with barbecues and quizzes. Agents told the Guardian they were often calling people who had already been spoken to by another contact tracer, and making calls to numbers that did not exist or that went straight through to voicemail. Employees at Sitel – one of the companies contracted to provide the service – said they were being given quizzes by team leaders to keep them occupied in the day and that prizes were even being offered to those making the highest number of calls to keep up morale. One contact tracer said that in one instance £50 was awarded to the highest ranking caller in each team, who was then put in a draw at the end of the month to win a TV. The details come amid growing frustration among local health officials about the national test-and-trace system, which was launched in May and was seen as vital to easing England out of lockdown. Run by the former TalkTalk executive Dido Harding, it involves more than 20,000 contact tracers, paid around £10 an hour, employed by private firms such as Serco. One contact tracer said they had made just a few calls in two months of work, two of which had been fake numbers. “I’ve heard of tracers claiming to be sat in the garden having a barbecue so that they can stay logged in and clock up the hours,” he added. “They aren’t alone – there’s hundreds, if not thousands, of similar stories.” Another agent said that they were sent daily icebreakers which included questions such as “what’s your favourite flower?”, and that they had to do pub quiz-style questions as a part of the team “to pass the time and keep people active”. He said: “It’s very juvenile, particularly when they treat us with extreme scepticism and negativity when calls aren’t coming in.” Data seen by the Guardian provided by an employee at the company Intelling, hired through outsourcing firm Serco, appears to show the scale of inactivity among employees, with 471 agents making just 135 calls in two days – around 0.14 calls per agent per day. This figure includes calls to incorrect numbers, voicemails, or multiple calls made to the same individual. One tracer working at the company said that one individual had been called by tracers 20 times." What on earth is going on?