Outsourcing giant Mitie has won a £90m government contract to deliver a quarantine-compliance service checking up on people supposed to be isolating at home after international travel.
The Home Office said the service would have the capacity to carry out 10,000 visits a day in the coming weeks – a tenfold increase on the 1,000 checks a day currently targeted by police.
At present, people arriving England following international travel must quarantine for 10 days at a managed quarantine site or the address listed on their passenger locator form to reduce the risk of new variants of Covid-19 entering the country. Fixed penalties of £1,000 can be issued for failing to comply and the fine can rise to £10,000 for repeat offences.
The Home Office said Mitie staff, who will be working on behalf of NHS Test and Trace, would not have any enforcement powers as part of the new service. But it said they could refer any concerns about quarantine breaches to police.
The department said the checks would be in addition to the work of the Isolation Assurance and Compliance Service.
It said Mitie had been awarded the contract “following a government procurement exercise” but could not give a figure for the number of staff who would be carrying out the checks. It said the precise number would vary depending on the need for daily visits and the locations involved.
Last year Mitie won a three-year contract to provide security services at 27 Home Office sites across the country.
It also bought the facilities-management arm of troubled rival Interserve for £271m.