We partnered with the Department of Health and Social Care’s Test and Trace programme to rapidly upskill the public, so that lateral flow asymptomatic testing could be carried out at scale during the coronavirus pandemic.

Taking a digital approach to protect public health

In October of 2020, the UK was on the verge of entering a second national lockdown. The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) Test and Trace programme had a critical role in monitoring and suppressing the virus and the Asymptomatic Testing Sites division was looking at how they could harness new lateral flow testing technology to help to proactively diagnose and protect the public during this critical time.

DHSC came to Capita to solve a problem – how could we help them to quickly and safely train individuals to support mass testing in organisations such as schools, care homes, local authorities and private sector?

We quickly worked with the DHSC alongside Crown Commercial Services (CCS) to design a mission-critical solution. We proposed a safe, digital platform that would enable training to be accelerated for thousands of individuals through self-service digital content.

This solution could be scaled up quickly by involving military and civilian users and didn’t require the involvement of clinical trainers who had already been redeployed back into the NHS. By being on hand to provide holistic support to users, we could future-proof the solution and scale and adapt at pace as technology and needs changed.

In just eight days we designed and delivered a pilot platform and video content to support the DHSC’s early LFD distribution pilots. This up-skilled 2,000 initial military and civilian users on how to process (LFD) tests.

Our initial rollout to 2,000 users expanded to training over half a million people across the UK. We worked closely with the DHSC to meet a long series of rapid yet critical deadlines and help Government to maintain vital services during the pandemic.

A unique partnership

Working together, during such a challenging and rapidly changing situation, required true collaboration on all sides. It was impossible to predict the full scale of the project and the key to success was our ability to respond to evolving scientific advice and government plans. In order to succeed, a partnership collaborative way of working was needed by all parties. Our partnership had to be agile and data-driven, and we understood how important it was to ensure we provided ongoing value for the taxpayer. Together with DHSC and CCS we created solutions and made decisions quickly as we worked through the various urgent requirements of the programme. Our teams delivered under immense pressure and scrutiny, due to the high-profile nature of the project.

Throughout the project, our agile approach meant that we could continually monitor and adapt to enable us to:

  • Regularly design and upload 27 learning modules across a series of weeks and months, responding to new changes in LFD types and government guidelines
  • Translate content for Welsh users and supply videos in five additional languages
  • Provide weekly clinical guidance updates to all modules and videos
  • Work closely with DHSC to monitor usage via PowerBI dashboards across the UK testing sites to help ensure that organisations and users were able to access the right training
  • Ensure that the platform and content users continuously accelerated on a weekly basis, with continued 100% uptime and 98% learner satisfaction.


In November 2020, we established a support helpdesk to ensure that users received a quick response to any issues they were experiencing. We continually monitored our work and set ambitious service level agreements that we remained committed to throughout the project.

Rapidly expanding our support

At the beginning of 2021 students and teachers were due to return to school, which meant there was a sudden uptake in the number of people who needed to be regularly tested. 100,000 new users registered in just one week, which was the projected use for the entire 6-month project period. We coped with the increase in demand successfully and retained 100% uptime performance on the platform.

“The quality of the platform and content is fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier. Everyone across testing is very impressed with it.”

Meena Raman
Head of Operational Workforce

“Capita have been truly recognised for the impact of [their] innovative approach and cross collaborative working.”

Pat Desmond
Crown Commercial Services

“I cannot believe how far we have come in such a short space of time! It makes me feel really proud to be part of such an important programme.”

Caroline Bond
Asymptomatic Training Platform Lead

In April 2021, the project was renewed for another six months and just one month later we reached 500,000 users. This was a challenging, but rewarding project, with our teams working under pressure to support people during such a tense period in their lives.

A successful digital approach

Taking a digital approach was key to the success of the project, as it enabled a wider and faster release of training, which turned out to be critical considering the uptake and changing scope. Had we attempted to reach this number of individuals with face-to-face learning, as per the original suggested methodology, this would’ve cost an estimated £17million.

Key highlights include:

  • Digital learning has replaced the need for face-to-face training
  • 98% of people say they had a positive experience with the content and platform
  • 99% of testers felt confident whilst carrying out Covid-19 tests
  • 0.2% void test results
  • Incredible value at £7 per person running costs across the whole programme.


The future

As we learn to live with Coronavirus, Test and Trace continues to be a key element in recognising and controlling the spread of the virus. We’re continuing to work closely with the DHSC to deliver training and ensure that people across the UK can access Covid-19 tests. Capita and Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) won Gold for the External Learning Solution of The Year 2022 award (LPI 2022 awards).

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