Day of Action on 27 April: Fix contact tracing, scrap Serco!

We’re holding a Day of Action jointly with We Own It on Tuesday 27 April to tell the Government to end Serco’s contract for testing and tracing and give the money to the public sector.

The government has had to admit that their system isn’t working, and has handed over more contact tracing to local teams but it’s not enough. Now, we need to end Serco’s contracts once and for all.

To put an end to privatised track test and trace, Zero Covid and We Own It are running a day of action, and we need you to organise action locally. Will you join others on Tuesday 27 April to put the heat under Matt Hancock? Help show him that we want our money to go to properly qualified and appointed public servants, not private companies.

Public health professionals are now based in county councils (or equivalent), so we want you to urge your council leader or director of public health to demand proper funding from Matt Hancock to carry out contact tracing themselves.

A cartoon of Dido Harding and Chris Whitty in a rubber dinghy
Image: Artivists at Work

How to organise to scrap Serco on 27 April.

It can be as simple as inviting a small group (we advise no more than six people) to meet outside the local council leader’s office, or the town hall, with placards saying ‘Scrap Serco’. If you have the capacity, feel free to get creative. There are further ideas for slogans at the bottom of this page.

Once you’ve got the details confirmed, reach out to us at info@zerocovid.uk

Approach your local council

There are various ways to approach your local council on the issue of track and trace. You can write to the council leader or the chair of adult health and social care. Here is a template letter you can use. You could also write to your local ward councillors.

Letters can be written to the members of the adult health and social care committee if the council has a committee system. Information on who is who in your local council will be available on its website. Councillors may also provide phone numbers so you can give them a call.

It’s important to emphasise that you support your local council and public health body. They should be given the resources to take responsibility for disease control in their area. This was their job before. It’s important to stress that they are best placed to carry out local track and trace, from door to door if necessary. However, they need to be properly funded by the government. Ask them to write to Hancock about this, and invite them to come and support you on the day of action.

Hand out copies of this flyer, to inform passers-by about what’s being done with their taxes and this Z-fold leaflet with arguments for an elimination strategy, produced by the Zero Covid Science & Health team.

Take photos of your action

Send them to reports@zerocovid.uk and upload them to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, tagging them @ZeroCovid_UK. Make sure to tag your local council leader too, asking them to write to Matt Hancock to demand he scrap Serco’s contract. Tweet about your action using #ScrapSerco.

Use this template letter to write to your MP

Protest outside Serco HQ in December 2021

Thank you so much for taking action to scrap Serco!


More ideas for action

  • Stunts: Can you play on the whopping £37 billion budget allocated to test and trace over two years, perhaps by putting 37 phones (a link to contact tracing is helpful) outside the building, which makes a big impact in a photo? You can use the number 37 in other ways too.
  • Dido Harding was, until very recently, the head of the ‘NHS Test and Trace’, and she still plays a central role in the Government’s attempts to combat the pandemic. Can you target her for her incompetence and waste of public money? Maybe use ‘Dido, Queen of Carnage’ as a slogan, or highlight her links to horse racing, e.g. ‘The £37 billion Trojan horse’.

Some further ideas for slogans:

  • Scrap Serco
  • Scrap Serco! Give the cash to the NHS and local public health teams
  • Give us our money back!
  • No more Serco after 17 May!
  • Scrap Serco’s Test and Trace: Fund public health not private profit
  • Let’s get Test and Trace right this time
  • Dido is racing off with our money
  • Dido has run off with our money. Let public health teams lead on contact tracing.
  • Round up Dido’s cowboys and let the pros take over.
  • Discontinue Dido’s dodgy deals with Downing Street
  • Fix contact tracing: Scrap Serco!
  • Not a penny more to Serco. Give local public health teams the cash!
  • Give our £37 billion to the public sector
  • You’ve got no mandate to privatise the NHS. Test and trace belongs in the public sector

You could highlight that Matt Hancock has blood on his hands with some fake blood and a paper mask, making for a dramatic photo. This government’s stubborn reliance on the private sector has led to the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world. Other masks are available too.

It will be International Workers Memorial Day on 28 April, and thousands of workers have died because this government failed to protect them. Can you highlight this in your action?

The CEO of Serco, Rupert Soames, has said he wants to ‘cement the position of the private sector’ in the NHS supply chain. He sees our public services as a cash cow to be exploited. Why not show him we won’t let this happen?

You can order a mask with Matt Hancock’s face on it here.

If you can’t take action on 27 April

Tell your friends and contacts about this incompetence and ask them to write to their local councils and MPs.

 

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