MPs to question DVLA bosses over Swansea Covid outbreak as staff claim they are told to 'turn off' track and trace app

Employees report being told to 'turn off' their track and trace app while at work, something the DVLA denies. Credit: PA Images

MPs are set to question bosses at the DVLA over a coronavirus outbreak at their offices in Swansea after hundreds of workers caught the virus in the space of a few months.

In late December, Public Health Wales declared an outbreak after more than 350 positive cases were identified at the DVLA's call centre in Llansamlet over four months. That number reportedly stands at more than 500 now.

One employee who did not want to be named said cleaning at the sites is "not up to the required standard" and staff are being told to "turn off" their track and trace app.

They added that workers are "very worried" and feel like "just a mere number to the DVLA".

In a statement the DVLA denied telling people to turn off their test and trace apps and said it is following all Covid-related safety guidance.

Despite more than 500 cases in total since September, there are currently only four confirmed Covid cases at the DVLA offices in Swansea. Credit: PA Images

A person employed by the DVLA in Swansea told ITV News that staff numbers at the three main sites have increased from 400 in June to 2,000 people.

They explained that people "hot desk" but "the cleaning at the sites is not up to the required standard."

They complained that their "team are very worried" and no one gets told when a colleague contracts Covid-19.

They said: "We don't get told when colleagues contract Covid but you can always tell as the area gets cordoned off.

"A staff member sadly died and managers had to be pushed by colleagues to be told directly.

"We've also heard staff in our contact centre were told to turn off their NHS tracing app due to workers being pinged.

The DVLA denied claims staff had been told to switch off their track and trace app and insisted they have invested significantly in making sure their offices are Covid-safe.

A DVLA Spokesperson said: “Staff safety remains a priority for DVLA, as it has throughout the pandemic, and we continue to follow all relevant guidance and advice to help keep our offices Covid secure, including the latest advice from Welsh Government.

“Staff in roles that enable them to work from home are doing so and have throughout, in line with current government advice. However, in view of the essential nature of the public services we provide, some operational staff are required to be in the office where their role means they cannot work from home.”

They also said that there are currently no cases of the virus in their contact centre and only four positive cases across the entire workforce.

Bosses at the DVLA will appear before MPs on Wednesday morning to give evidence around the recent outbreak to the Transport Committee.