From our Swindon Correspondent:
From the Guardian:-
PHE was responsible for collating the test results from public and private labs, and publishing the daily updates on case count and tests performed.
But the rapid development of the testing programme has meant that much of the work is still done manually, with individual labs sending PHE spreadsheets containing their results. Although the system has improved from the early days of the pandemic, when some of the work was performed with phone calls, pens and paper, it is still far from automated.
In this case, the Guardian understands, one lab had sent its daily test report to PHE in the form of a CSV file – the simplest possible database format, just a list of values separated by commas. That report was then loaded into Microsoft Excel, and the new tests at the bottom were added to the main database.
- How many cases were in the database before the update
- How many cases came in from each lab
- How many failures there were (e.g. validation problems)
- How many cases are now in the database.
I’m going to presume there are no controls in this process. Lashing Excel together is what some Johnny in a user department with no software development experience does, not experienced software designers. I’m guessing there’s no controls for missing files from a lab, duplicate data from a lab, malformed data from a lab, no audit trails, no testing process.
And there’s simply no excuse. The people with skills to do this aren’t cheap, but they also aren’t that expensive. There’s probably people in some parts of government on furlough who could do this properly. This is what you get from government.