Javid defends hiring £71,000-a-year official to oversee ‘no longer required’ NHS Covid pass
Sajid Javid has defended moves to hire a £71,000-a-year official responsible for the NHS Covid pass, despite the document no longer being required to enter venues.
The Health Secretary told MPs he can see “absolutely no prospect” of the pass “ever coming back into place”.
But he insisted the vacancy needs filling despite facing calls in the House of Commons to scrap the job.
The requirement for people to show the NHS Covid pass to visit indoor and outdoor events and venues, such as cinemas and nightclubs, was scrapped earlier this year.
It has also been used as a way for people to show their vaccination status or test results when travelling abroad.
Conservative former minister Sir Desmond Swayne asked in the Commons: “Why is his departmental leadership advertising for a deputy director delivery for a Covid pass. What’s that about?”
Mr Javid replied: “I believe the reason the department keeps that under review is although the pass has stopped and there’s absolutely no prospect I can see of it ever coming back into place, that it’s right when we wind this down and work on the digital resources that all things that are necessary are looked at appropriately.”
Conservative MP Peter Bone (Wellingborough) could be heard shouting: “Scrap it.”
The position for “deputy director, delivery lead Covid pass” has been advertised by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with applications due by June 15.
The job advertisement states: “On February 21 the Prime Minister announced the living with Covid strategy, which sets out to remove certification requirements in England, but that the NHS Covid pass would be required to access venues and events in the UK and for international travel purposes for the foreseeable future.
“Covid pass is an award-winning DHSC programme undertaking a complex transition whilst continuing to deliver a vital citizen service in a changing health landscape.
“We’re building capacity in a team which has delivered award-winning services to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The job description adds: “As deputy director, delivery lead you will use your exceptional stakeholder management to continue the work of Covid pass in this inclusive, award-winning manner.
“You will be a passionate advocate of future-proof technologies and will work with service management and policy colleagues to deliver the Covid pass programme, a key strategic priority for DHSC and Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). This is a high profile, complex programme which interacts with other departments, devolved administrations and public and private sector stakeholders.
“You will have oversight for the further development, iteration and implementation of the programme delivery roadmap and for supporting teams to deliver successfully against agreed milestones on time and to quality standards.”
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Victoria Jones / PA.