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Creativity, Commitment & Compassion in the face of COVID-19

Across our five main sectors – Health, Transport, Defence, Justice & Immigration, and Citizen Services – we have innovated at speed to meet new challenges presented by the pandemic, acted decisively to ensure the continuation of the vital public services we are privileged to deliver, and worked hard both to protect the well-being of our colleagues and to support our customers.

10 facts about Serco's role and performance on NHS test and trace

Serco’s worldwide contribution to defeating the virus

As a trusted partner of governments across the globe, Serco is uniquely positioned to support the fight against COVID-19. The examples below offer a mere snapshot of the additional support we have provided to governments. Like the continuity of our general business, they have relied on the expertise and excellence of over 50,000 Serco colleagues in four continents.

Covid Testing centre in the UK

Citizen Services

COVID-19 has presented governments with unprecedented challenges in supporting and communicating with citizens. Our teams have been involved in support our customers in meeting these challenges.

  • In the United Kingdom, at the beginning of the pandemic we swiftly mobilised to support the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) brand-new NHS Test & Trace programme, initially recruiting and training 10,500 people as non-clinical call handlers in just five weeks. These new team members from Serco and our partners - publicly thanked by the Secretary of State for Health - are responsible for calling the contacts of confirmed cases.  Test & Trace has contacted millions of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus or have recently been in contact with someone who has been infected.  Overall Serco provides approximately half of the non-clinical call handlers and is one of two providers supporting this important work. We have continued to adjust the size of our team in line with the UKHSA’s requirements. Around 90% of citizens our teams talk to agree to self-isolate.

  • Serco’s UK teams have won praise for their delivery of testing centres, playing a critical role in helping the UK Government reach its required capacity for testing, and showing resilience and agility in responding to local outbreaks through mobile, walk-in and drive-through centres across the country. We opened the very first centres within an amazing two days, and our team now manages about 20% of the testing sites.

  • Serco is only providing support for NHS Track and Trace in these two areas and we are not responsible or involved in other elements including designing or managing the processes, sizing the capacity, running the booking system, developing or managing the IT systems, managing the data supplying the tests, running the laboratories, providing consultants or developing the App. As the National Audit Office has stated there are 454 suppliers supporting Test and Trace. Contracts with Serco represent less than 4.5% of the value of contracts awarded, see page 33 - Test and trace in England – progress update (

Luisa Jordan ward in Scotland for Covid-19


We are proud of our Health colleagues who have truly been at the frontline in combating the virus and its effects. Across the world, we have continued to deliver our core health services but have also been at the forefront of increasing hospital capacity, as well as establishing temporary facilities from scratch, to provide citizens and communities with the healthcare they need.

  • In the United Arab Emirates, Serco worked closely with the Government to establish a 3,000-bed field hospital at the Dubai World Trade Centre, as well as developing numerous other health solutions for our customers in the battle against Coronavirus.

  • Similarly, in Scotland, Serco was a key partner in setting up the Louisa Jordan Hospital, based at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow. Our colleagues there deliver cleaning, catering, portering, linen and waste management.

  • In Western Australia, our team at Fiona Stanley Hospital helped to design a new COVID clinic, which was set up in just six days, including the transformation of four gyms and converting 500sqm of hospital space to a negative pressure isolation room.  At its peak, the clinic tested over 500 people daily.  Our team also implemented new policies, processes and procedures, including reconfiguring the hospital, supporting our teams with new information, training and practices, and all while managing the ever-changing government advice.  Innovations have remained in place to ensure readiness for any further outbreaks.

Virtual Visits Pups In Prison

Justice & Immigration

Keeping those in our care healthy and safe has continued to be our top priority during the pandemic. 

Our teams have delivered a range of innovative approaches whilst also serving and supporting the local communities where they’re based.

  • Across our UK justice operations, colleagues and prisoners have innovated and contributed in various ways. At HMP Lowdham Grange, hundreds of washbags and sets of scrubs have been made for nearby NHS hospitals. At HMP Kilmarnock, the textile workshop has been redeployed to produce Personal Protective Equipment for the local NHS maternity hospital and inpatient facility, including innovative ‘cap ear/elastic savers’ which allow NHS staff to wear surgical masks without discomfort and pain. Meanwhile, HMP Dovegate’s Therapeutic Centre has successfully trialled a new method of prisoner medicine distribution, reducing the need for direct interaction with medical staff, and thereby keeping prisoners safe as well as freeing up staff time to focus on combatting the virus.

  • In Western Australia, we ran much of the State Government’s hotel quarantine programme at its early peak - keeping approximately 1,500 citizens safe and healthy at specially arranged facilities. This was a collaborative effort between our Justice and Immigration and Healthcare teams and was stood up within 24 hours.

  • At the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, the team implemented an innovative solution that enabled prisoners to continue their ‘Pups in Prison’ training sessions virtually, whilst maintaining the latest government COVID 19 restrictions.  With five pups being trained by 10 prisoners, video conferencing enabled the training to continue, ensuring that the vital community support programme, run in partnership with Assistance Dogs Australia, could continue to deliver on its promise of providing assistance dogs to people with special needs, disabilities, and dementia throughout the pandemic.

Cleaning Dubai Metro to combat Covid-19


COVID-19 has presented transport infrastructure worldwide with huge, new challenges. 

By continuing to operate our services with increased and innovative health and safety solutions, Serco has played a vital role in getting other key workers from A to B during the crisis.

  • In the United Arab Emirates, we are proud to operate the Dubai Metro, the world’s largest driverless metro system. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have increased the number of trains when necessary, and designed new station processes to support social distancing, as well as establishing new cleaning and facility management procedures. This has ensured the safety of citizens, and kept the Metro running during the pandemic.

  • In Texas, USA, Serco’s Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) team has continued to work alongside and assist emergency services, keeping the road free for critical travel. Consistently putting themselves at risk, and going above and beyond the call of duty, the team managed almost 5,000 incidents in just six weeks.

  • In the UK, our NorthLink Ferries team introduced a new temporary timetable, thereby maintaining an essential service between mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles throughout the pandemic. Meanwhile, our Cycle Hire teams have had an exceptionally busy period, responding swiftly to the increased demand for bikes. In Edinburgh, over 30,000 trips were made in each of May, June and July, with a nearly 40% increase in new users compared to the same point last year. In London, one single weekend in May saw 133,000 hires.  Our teams have been working hard to support other public servants as well: in Edinburgh, an innovative scheme has provided over 5,000kms of free commuting for NHS workers.



Across the world, the military has been providing extra support to governments battling COVID. 

Many of our defence services relate to the most sensitive areas of national security and should not be discussed in detail.  However, as a trusted defence partner across our regions, throughout the pandemic Serco has continued its vital work in support of governments’ defence and national security – such as ship and shore modernisation for the US navy, supporting critical satellite communications for the UK MoD, or delivering on-base clinical care to the 80,000 service men and women in the Australian Defence Force – all the while adjusting our provision of services to deal with high absence levels and social distancing requirements.