COUNCILLOR Vikki Slade wrote a thorough and detailed letter to the chief of the government's test and trace programme.

The Liberal Democrat BCP Council compiled the letter of complaint prior to Tuesday's vote of no confidence motion.

The full correspondence can be read below.

I AM writing to formally complain about the Covid-19 testing both nationally and in my local area. I have already submitted complaints to Dept of Health and Social Care relating to matters of Staff Welfare, Financial Irregularity, Health and Safety and GDPR, and now the matter of availability of testing at Creekmoor Testing Site has raised significant local concerns.

The site in Poole was set up within a matter of days at the end of April and from its inception I have received complaints from individuals working at the site around their employment contracts. Staff were not told they would be self-employed and were given no paperwork confirming their terms and conditions, working hours or given access to training information. Only once I had become involved were staff provided with contracts – some of them over a month following them starting on site.

Staff were apparently also deducted monies from their pay to cover accountancy costs to a company run by a family member, without consent. Reports were also received about being told to make excessive mileage claims for travel to sites.

When I challenged this with Mitie who are responsible for the site, I was sent the personal details of a 3rd party about whom I had not made enquiries and raised this as a GDPR breach. I have asked for clarity on how this breach has been managed but despite being over 20 weeks old I have received no satisfactory response.

I was then approached by a separate staff member wanting to whistle blow on poor Health and Safety measures at the site. These include tests being made up without the use of PPE, staff breaks being taken in the ‘red’ zone when they should be in the ‘green’ zone and items such as playing cards and mobile phones, which are supposed to be excluded from this zone for cross contamination risk, being used.

More fundamentally, the tests are supposed to be kept in temperature-controlled conditions and destroyed when this is not possible. I have been given information that temperature logs are given fake readings to ensure that they remain within the required limits, which is not only fraudulent but risks the integrity of the tests.

Staff are also being expected to use the same mask for the whole day despite coming into contact with symptomatic residents. I am aware that those teams working under the Boots Opticians contract, where residents need support to carry out the tests, are wearing FULL PPE but for those operating the self-test, the provision of PPE is being rationed.

The final concern raised by this staff member is around paying for training. Staff are being expected to pay for traffic management courses but not until they have worked for several weeks actually doing the traffic management and are being expected to come in and complete the training on a non-work day without receiving any compensation for this.

I have put in complaints via the private companies running this site since May and I find it unacceptable that they can be ignored or dismissed so easily.

I am asking you to conduct an independent investigation into the operation of this site and the issues raised – I have received dozens of requests from residents to remove private companies from this role and I am concerned that the need for profit, and Government targets is taking precedence over the need to provide a good service for our communities.

I now come to the issue of testing capacity. This site has capacity for at least 500 tests per day, with a further 400, via several mobile centres attached to this site.

When first launched, the site was delivering this level of tests in the Summer, however the team are now only testing around 50 per day. There are more people arriving at the centre without an appointment and being forced to drive straight through than people actually being tested and this is causing frustration from the staff on site, anger from those needing tests and distress from those who are sat at home worried about sick family members.

We have even had the police called when a mother refused to leave with her small child after failing to get access to a test.

The Government are claiming that the problem is around local management. It is absolutely not about local management. I had been advised that the problem is around the ability to process the tests in laboratories, but I am now being told that it is because there are actually not enough tests available. Can you please confirm which is true?

There is no point having the capacity for 200,000 or 500,000 tests because centres are open and staffed if there are insufficient swab tests, reagents or scientists.

We need some honesty around what is going on and we need you as the head of this service and the Secretary of State to take responsibility.

Whilst we may not be an area that is a current Covid-19 hotspot, we are now seeing confirmed cases at the national average (and this is without the ability to get tests where they are needed). People here deserve the right to know if they have the virus, and if they do not, to be able to return to work or school.

I look forward to your early response.

CLLR VIKKI SLADE Fromer Leader, BCP Council