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177072022-NHS Scotland case study
Client story

Check In Scotland service protects public health and enables businesses to re-open safely

Client: Scottish Government
Region: United Kingdom
Industry: Public sector

Capgemini joins the Scottish government in multi-agency collaboration to launch award-winning national COVID-19 contact tracing solution, which was used 20 million times at 27,000 venues across Scotland

Client Challenge: The Scottish NHS wanted to develop a national digital contact tracing service to protect public health during the COVID-19 emergency and to enable the hospitality sector to re-open safely after the lifting of lockdowns and restrictions
Solution: Multiple government and public health stakeholders partnered with Capgemini to develop the Check In Scotland service, which features QR code scanning technology and quickly became the country’s go-to national contact tracing solution
•          Service used by 27,000 businesses, representing almost two thirds of all hospitality venues in Scotland
•          Facilitation of more than 20 million check-ins
•          More than 500,000 app downloads
•          Delivered £7.7 million in savings through efficiencies in the contact tracing process

In March 2020, as the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge, the Scottish government acted swiftly, putting in place a range of measures to help protect the health of its citizens and to support those sectors of the economy most affected by the essential lockdowns and emergency travel restrictions.

A key component of the government’s response was a Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support health protection strategy, called Test & Protect, implemented by the Scottish government and Public Health Scotland and designed to interrupt chains of coronavirus transmission in the community. 

For the hospitality sector, swiftly identified as a high-risk environment for the transmission of COVID-19, the economic consequences of the essential early lockdowns were especially severe, with the accommodation and food services industry alone worth £4.4 billion to the Scottish economy every year. 

Contact tracing was regarded as a vital component both in the fight to limit transmission of the virus and to enable a safe, though limited and tightly controlled, re-opening of the hospitality sector. But early contact tracing efforts featured a wide variety of formats and systems, including handwritten contact details on paper forms and notebooks on entry to venues, bars, restaurants, and cafes. As a result, the quality and consistency of data provided and the speed of collection were variable, creating challenges for contact tracers seeking to access and act on the data as quickly as possible. 

Multi-disciplinary team ensures robust design at speed

Capgemini has been providing strategic technology consultancy and specialist services to the Scottish government and NHS for more than a decade, including setting up and maintaining NHS24, Scotland’s national telehealth and telecare service. When requirements emerged for an easy-to-use and nationally available digital “check in” solution intended to provide a single reliable and consistent platform for citizens to provide their data on arrival at a wide range of venues, Capgemini was able to respond quickly and was subsequently chosen as a partner for the project.

The strength of this partnership and Capgemini’s knowledge of the Scottish NHS’ infrastructure and landscape proved valuable in helping to shape and deliver the government’s pandemic response. For example, the partners coordinated to enable the gathering, analyzing, and presenting of the key COVID-19 statistics that government scientists and political leaders used to inform decision making, as well as the service design and roll out of the National Contact Tracing contact center.

Led by the Scottish government, a multi-disciplinary team was established with colleagues from NHS National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, and Capgemini and tasked with designing, building, deploying, and promoting the digital service, which ultimately took shape as the Check In Scotland service.

Extensive in-person and remote testing supports simplicity and usability

The team was determined to put users at the heart of the service’s design and undertook an extensive amount of user research, including talking to venue owners, managers, and trade bodies to understand their aspirations and the practical challenges they were facing when welcoming customers.

A wide cross section of users was consulted to inform the specification, interface, and content. The partners aimed to develop a simple and common approach to maximise adoption by the public and venues alike. Virtual sessions hosted by the project team and attended by citizens, businesses, privacy and human rights groups, and contact tracers tested the service and gathered feedback. In-depth investigations into the most effective data collection model provided valuable information for contact tracing teams and ensured ease of integration with other Test & Protect resources. This process was supported by an information governance and security specialist embedded in the team from the outset.

A key feature of the service design was passing the responsibility of data controller from venues to NHS Scotland, a move endorsed by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office that ensured the service was GDPR compliant and safe to use. This enabled the hospitality sector, in particular smaller businesses, to re-open with confidence. Meanwhile the Scottish Tech Army, a network of technical and digital experts providing voluntary support to the COVID-19 response in Scotland, was engaged to provide independent technical advice and guidance, security, and remote user testing.

NHS Scotland coordinated with Capgemini to build the Check In Scotland app using a proven design and development framework for native apps in the public sector. The solution enabled people to provide their contact details instantly and securely by scanning a Test & Protect Check In Scotland QR code poster, downloaded by participating venues, via their smartphone camera. This provided contact tracing teams with quick and easy access to quality data in order to trigger immediate follow-up action. The team also created a complementary website, which included links to other sources of COVID-19 health advice and guidance, to offer flexibility to those wishing to use the service in a different way.

Widespread use supports re-opening

Check In Scotland was launched in early 2021 by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and supported by mass media promotional campaigns to maximize awareness and uptake. The service was an outstanding success. By the time COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in early 2022, the Check In Scotland solution had:

•          been used by more than 27,000 businesses that make up almost two thirds of all hospitality venues in Scotland

•          significantly reduced the time required by venues to collate and supply contact tracing data

•          been downloaded more than 500,000 times

•          facilitated more than 20 million check-ins 

•          enabled 300,000 contacts to be traced, thanks to the accuracy of the data  

•          delivered £7.7 million in savings through efficiencies in the contact tracing process.

Subsequently, the Check In Scotland project won the GO Awards Scotland COVID-19 Outstanding Response Award for Public Sector Organizations and the overall “Excellence” award while also being recognized as highly commended in the National GO Awards COVID-19 Response and Recovery category.

We’ve sought to highlight the benefits of the Check In Scotland system. If someone does test positive, all that information is held centrally. Instead of the contact tracers phoning a business and saying we need all this information, they would already have it.

Scottish Beer and Pub Association

“The app takes the burden off the business itself. It saves us from dealing with data protection issues because the data goes straight to NHS Scotland. They then have all the details to hand, and it ensures those details are accurate.”

Scottish Hospitality Group

The success of Check In Scotland really is down to the collaborative effort of all parties and is a great example of what can be achieved when public bodies and industry in Scotland work together with a shared purpose.

Lesley Allen, Service Owner at Scottish Government

Adoption of the service across Scotland has exceeded expectations and is a testament to the team for their drive and motivation to ensure all user needs were factored into the design of the digital service. It also reinforces the impact of a highly engaged senior leadership team focused on pace, delivery, and quality.

Carol Sinclair, Chief Officer of Public Health Scotland