Forecasting of data and resourcing during the Covid-19 pandemic (FOI)
Forecasting of data and resourcing during the Covid-19 pandemic (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 20 August 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please could you provide me with any data, tables / charts and so on, relating to forecasting of Covid-19 case numbers presented to / by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) and / or the Competent Authority Ministers between 1 April 2021 and today, 16 July 2021.
I would particularly like to see any forecasts that may have accompanied each of the decisions made to ease restrictions during this period, including the forecasts relating to all available options presented at the time, ie the case number forecasts for the "do nothing" and the "ease restrictions" scenarios, and any other options that existed.
I would also like to request any forecasts of staffing requirements for the pandemic hotline, track and trace system and testing infrastructure associated with these decisions. Alongside this, i would like to see the actual number of staff available to these teams during the above period.
A and B
It has been estimated that to extract the specific data from each presentation and document circulated for each of the STAC and CAM meetings that have happened between April and July would exceed the time allocated for a response under the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014. Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 has therefore been applied.
Testing and contact tracing
Staffing projections are based on demand assumptions at the time the projections are made. These assumptions remain under constant review and the actual number of staff required is adjusted based on factors such as current policy, policy changes, the number of positive cases, the number of direct contacts, travel (the number of arriving passengers), and the number of symptomatic individuals. All of these factors have changed significantly, and frequently, during the period of April to July 2021.
Our aim is to ensure we have sufficient staff across the service to be able to respond to these changing demands. Therefore, we employ a mixture of staff on both fixed term and zero hours contracts.
To be able to provide the exact number of staff in each team / location, on each type of contract, throughout the period would exceed the time allocated for a response under the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014. However, to provide an overview:
Staffing projections produced in April 2021, estimated that a maximum of 183 FTE may be required by 30 June for testing and 89 FTE for contact tracing. It should be noted that the projections were calculated at the maximum number required over the period, ie increasing to the maximum by 30 June. Less staff were required in April and May due to significantly lower numbers of flight and ferry arrivals and relatively low number of positive individuals and direct contacts at that time.
In early April, just over 100 people were employed in testing, with 79 in contact tracing.
In order to increase the number of staff required by 30 June a recruitment campaign commenced in early April. More than 300 applications were received for testing.
In mid-May, the number of staff estimated to be required for the third quarter (from 1 July) was estimated to be 235 FTE for testing. By 30 June, approximately 185 individuals were employed in testing and therefore 50 more staff were required in order to fill vacancies for the maximum requirement in quarter three (July to September). And by late July, all of these posts were filled.
For contact tracing, a maximum of 149 FTE were agreed for the third wave (in July). However, the third wave peaked and then subsided more quickly than previous waves, which resulted in a pause in recruitment once the number of
Covid Safe Officers reached 121.
The Coronavirus helpline had forecasted the need for up to 19 staff for 2021. This forecast was based on a review of 2020 call volumes, average call length, and shift cover needed for seven day opening.
In April 2021 there were 14 advisers, spread across a seven day shift pattern which matched customer demand enabling calls to be answered. As call volumes increased in July, the number of dedicated helpline staff increased to 20, with an additional 20 staff from Customer and Local Services teams and other government teams to cope with the significant jump in volumes and to reduce wait times.
Article 16 - A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
(2) Despite paragraph (1), a scheduled public authority may still supply the information requested on payment to it of a fee determined by the authority in the manner prescribed by Regulations for the purposes of this Article.
(3) Regulations may provide that, in such circumstances as the Regulations prescribe, if two or more requests for information are made to a scheduled public authority –
(a) by one person; or
(b) by different persons who appear to the scheduled public authority to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.