JUST 15% of people think a private firm should be in charge of coronavirus contact tracing systems, a new poll has found.

A Survation poll, commissioned by campaign group We Own It, asked people living in the UK who they felt should run contact tracing schemes as we move out of lockdown. While 67% said public health teams and local health services should have responsibility for the systems, just 15% felt that a private company like Serco should control them.

In England, Serco and other private firms look after large parts of the test and trace system. The scheme has been plagued with issues since it was established at the end of May.

READ MORE: Nearly half of public don't trust Serco to deliver virus testing scheme

The Independent Sage Group has said it is “extremely concerned” that the system, proclaimed to be “world-beating” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is picking up contacts from just 25% of estimated symptomatic infections of Covid-19.

We Own It’s campaigns officer Pascale Robinson stressed the virus is still a “huge risk” to the public, pointing to the recent local lockdown in Leicester as an example.

She went on: “If we’re to get out of lockdown safely, to see friends and family, and hug our loved ones again we need an effective track and trace programme.

“The way to deliver this is with local public health teams and local health services - the people who’ve got the experience of doing contact tracing - in charge. That would be a system the public could have faith in, and that would deliver the coherent response we desperately need.

“The public understand this - and it’s time for the government to listen.”

Serco’s involvement in the UK Government scheme has been hit by scandals – in May, the firm accidentally shared contact details of 296 tracers. Staff hired for the system have also said their workdays comprise of sitting idle, with one claiming they went 38 hours without making a phone call and watched Netflix instead.

The company has also been handed a £1 million fine for its management of accommodation for asylum seekers in Glasgow, just months before being giving the contact tracing contract – thought to be worth £108m.

The National:

This week global public health expert Devi Sridhar (above), who advises the Scottish Government on their Covid-19 response, gave three areas she felt Scotland had “got right” in its approach to the pandemic.

One of the examples was the decision to go for local contact tracing, using local public health boards, while a second was the “very high level of trust in government”.

READ MORE: Devi Sridhar explains 'what Scotland got right' in Covid-19 fight

Sridhar also said this week that “Scotland’s weeks away” from days with no new confirmed Covid-19 cases, while “England’s months away”.

She stressed that we will “probably never get” to full elimination of the virus in Scotland “without England’s co-operation”.