Emergency procurement rules that were introduced at the beginning of the crisis mean that Deloitte, which faced an industry-wide crackdown last year for a string of high-profile audit failings and misconduct, was not required to go through a competitive tender process.

It follows complaints of missing test results and a string of administrative errors at the Chessington drive-through facility in Surrey, as well as unreliable testing kits given to thousands of NHS staff.

Deloitte declined to comment.

A spokesman for the DHSC confirmed Deloitte’s involvement but declined to comment on the firm’s role or the tender process.

The spokesman said: “Deloitte, alongside a number of other public and private sector partners, are supporting us to accelerate the scale of the testing capacity for the programme.”

At least 49 people have suffered delays in getting their test results since centres opened.

The DHSC said 39 people who were tested at the Chessington have since received their results, while a further 10 cases are still being investigated.

Britain’s record on testing for Covid-19 has lagged behind many other countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Austria.

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