Case Study

NHS Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace

Providing business analysis and product management to support the technical delivery of citizen-facing digital interfaces and underpinning technology.

In March 2020, the global pandemic and public health crisis hit the UK and life changed in ways we could have never imagined. The word ‘unprecedented’ became the most overused word almost overnight, but the pandemic was like nothing we had experienced for generations.

In response, the Government established the NHS Test and Trace programme to help limit the spread of the virus by breaking the chains of COVID-19 transmission. It would help to protect the public’s health and eventually enable people to return to a more normal way of life.

Clarasys, through our long-standing partnership with Digital Services provider Kainos, was privileged to be able to support the UK’s bid to tackle this challenging situation by providing business analysis and product management capabilities. Our involvement helped to bring clarity and direction in an intense and turbulent environment.

A digital solution was needed to quickly provide tests to those who required them and to inform close contacts of those testing positive to minimise the spread of the virus. The Government policies were constantly evolving as new scientific information came to light, this needed to be reflected quickly and clearly in the digital solutions to provide the general public and organisational users with the most up-to-date and accurate information. 

Amidst the constant digital changes it was important to build a solution that was accessible to all users and would operate within existing structures and processes to minimise disruption. Given the speed of change, balancing these critical elements was one of the biggest challenges in the pursuit to minimise the impact of Covid19.

Alongside Kainos, Clarasys provided business analysis and product management capabilities to support the technical delivery of citizen-facing digital interfaces and the underpinning technology in Test Digital, Trace, and Test Supply Chain.

By working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and impacted groups, we balanced the policy changes, public health outcomes, and citizen experience to provide direction and support the delivery of the digital solution. 

Our consultants assisted NHS Digital with the launch of a citizen-facing digital interface which enabled UK citizens, visitors, and organisations to access Covid testing. 

We worked with the Department of Health and Social Care and the UK Health Security Agency to harness supply chain technology to ensure tests got to those who needed them.

Working with Public Health England and the UK Health Security Agency we supported the design and delivery of the contact tracing infrastructure. This provided accurate healthcare information to those who had tested positive, their close contacts and collected vital information to minimise the spread. 

The Clarasys/Kainos partnership supported the programme to ensure that national services were successfully launched on time. Together, we reduced digital journey time and improved the user experience for UK citizens. The programme increased access to vital products and, at Omicron’s peak, we helped scale up to deliver 1m test kits per day and 2.5 million test results per day. Devolved administrations and multiple use cases were brought on board to use the service in a modular way, which reduced the time it took to implement changes. We also aligned existing separate services into one universal offering. 

What did we do that added value? 

Alongside incredibly dedicated, committed, and capable teams, we added value by helping to launch new digital services and features to support the pandemic response initiatives. These included the proactive delivery of new Covid treatments to vulnerable people through a data-led approach and a public antibody testing service for people following a positive Covid test. The programme was rapidly scaled to support heightened testing through the Omicron peak, and accurate and relevant isolation and contact tracing guidance was quickly delivered to individuals who had tested positive.

Over 500 million PCR and LFD tests were ordered and delivered, and critical international events including COP26 and G7 were provided with digital testing capabilities. Efficiency in the testing supply chain was increased by driving more strategic capabilities, consistency across processes and technology, and consolidating the third-party logistics of storing and shipping the tests.

Bringing clarity

The Clarasys team helped bring clarity and direction in an intense, turbulent environment. We helped navigate the evolving policy landscape and needs of the impacted stakeholder groups, providing clarity and direction to delivery teams.

We presented complex technical information in easy-to-digest formats and advised on the digital impacts of decisions. We also helped people to understand what could be done digitally to support policy change. 

Clarasys brought together insights from citizen research, impacts of digital delivery options, and best practice thinking to drive the most appropriate and impactful solutions while balancing cost and time to launch.

As the digital products grew, we helped manage the portfolio of products, roadmaps, and dependencies to ensure the most effective response to business needs. We also brought together many teams and suppliers to focus on the goals and priorities and we enabled them to work together to collectively achieve outcomes.

Our consultants also helped to balance conflicting priorities by assessing what would provide the greatest impact and/or value while taking into account aggressive deadlines, technology constraints, and a constantly evolving policy environment.

Finally, we took a collaborative, end-to-end approach to design which was based on capabilities and scenarios.

Every organisation involved in the programme worked under immense pressure. Reflecting on our collective and individual experiences it’s a programme we’re not going to forget anytime soon. Living and working with Covid gave us a sense of purpose but also was one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced. The time pressures, uncertain nature and constant change is an environment that we thrive in and we’re proud of the role we played in overcoming this Global pandemic.  

The commitment and resilience of every team member we worked with was inspiring, and whilst we hope we never encounter a situation like this again, we have a lot of learnings to bring to other environments. 

It was a privilege working alongside many stakeholders, bringing clarity and direction during this turbulent period and we’re looking forward to helping other organisations and government bodies navigate change and uncertainty to deliver a customer, client or employee experience that meets their goals and outcomes. 

We helped scale up to deliver


Test kits per day


test results per day

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