The Slovenia Times

NIJZ outsourcing coronavirus contact tracing

Health & Medicine

Ljubljana - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has decided to outsource some of the contact tracing to a private company, City Connect. The six-month deal is worth almost EUR 2.3 million, or EUR 1.86 million without VAT, the business newspaper Finance reported on Monday.

NIJZ stopped tracing risky contacts during the third wave of the epidemic last spring due to a shortage of staff, but resumed the service on 14 June.

It will now be assisted by City Connect, a BreĹžice-based company incorporated in January, which has been awarded the contract without an open call.

In mid August, NIJZ published on the national public procurement portal a transparency explanation to say that it had selected City Connect in direct negotiations.

It did not say why City Connect had been chosen, what scope of services the call centre would provide, or what its references were.

NIJZ only said the procedure had been carried out without publishing a public procurement tender "due to utmost urgency" which could not have been anticipated.

It however told Finance that setting up a professional call centre and outsourcing support had been planned for a while, while funds for the project could only be provided following the 7 July passage of the bill on emergency measures in healthcare.

According to Finance, NIJZ had invited six call centres to submit their offers and City Connect was chosen as the best bidder, while NIJZ has not yet disclosed all the offers because the decision on the selected company has not yet become final.

NIJZ said the six companies had been invited based on information from the Slovenian Business Club, an association of business executives, or had contacted NIJZ themselves. Finance said that City Connect had not been on the Business Club's list.

The company meanwhile told Finance it has 33 employees on permanent employment contracts in Slovenia, while they "hired 340 operators in Croatia" last year.

City Connect also said it is the fastest-growing contact centre in the Adriatic region, where it has more than 3,000 employees.

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