NEARLY half of the UK public don't have confidence in private outsourcing company Serco to deliver England's coronavirus track and trace programme.

A Survation poll that was commissioned by campaign group We Own It found 46% of people don't trust in Serco to run the programme effectively.

The track and trace programme requires the public to give personal information about themselves, their family and people they've recently had contact with. But 40% of those surveyed said they are less likely to take part in the programme because it is managed by a private company.

The poll comes after Serco was hit by a wave of scandals including slashing eviction periods for asylum seekers from 21 days to just 14 and changing the locks to their homes. The company was handed a £1 million fine for this just months before being put in charge of the track and trace system.

READ MORE: SNP slam ‘broken’ refugee housing system after Serco evictions ruling

In May, Serco accidentally shared the contact details of 296 of its tracers, in what would comprise a breach of data protection regulations. Staff working on the scheme have said they have had no contact from their supervisors, with one claiming they worked for 38 hours without making a single phone call

Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It described the poll’s findings as “deeply worrying”.

She said: “We’re all waiting anxiously for the end of lockdown - so we can see friends and family, and hug our loved ones again. An effective track and trace programme is central to seeing this happen. 

“That’s why it’s deeply worrying that the government’s decision to outsource management of the programme to Serco is undermining public confidence in the system - and making them less likely to take part. But it’s no wonder that people don’t have faith in Serco. The company has a diabolical track record - with a long list of failures.  

“Instead of continuing with the farce of Serco managing the programme, the government should scrap their contract and instead put local public health teams and local health services in charge of contact tracing.”

Just 27% of the public think the government was right to give the contract for track and trace in England to Serco.

The Scottish Government's Test and Protect was launched earlier this month and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that people’s privacy “will be respected at all times during this process”.

She said the information provided will be “held securely within the NHS and used only for the purposes of tracing your contacts”.

The Scottish Government will not have access to the information and all the work of identifying and tracing contacts will be done within the NHS.