Brits More Likely To Adopt A Contract Tracing App Driven By NHS Than Big Tech

Jul 14, 2020

July 14, 2020, LONDON – A global survey by Oliver Wyman Forum today highlights the need for British policy makers to make it clear who is driving the contact tracing app's development.  With 40% of the respondents having more trust in the NHS as a result of the pandemic, as much as 80% would be willing to download an app developed by the NHS versus just 50% for an app supported by big tech firms.

The results are a red flag for the UK Government, which recently halted an app being developed by NHSX and is now testing an app using Google-Apple technology. In comparison to the NHS, only one in five (21%) of those surveyed have more trust in the national government and over a third (36%) have less trust as a result of the pandemic.

Lisa Quest, Co-Lead of the Oliver Wyman Forum Future of Data initiative and UK & Ireland Head of Public Policy at Oliver Wyman, says: “When the new contact tracing app is launched, it’s imperative that the Government highlights its privacy protections. Our UK respondents who do not want an app developed by big tech firms are primarily concerned about privacy and how their data could be re-used. Brits also recorded the highest level of trust out of all European respondents in their public health authority, the NHS, so government must also indicate a health provider endorsement to encourage uptake.”

The survey of 5,300 people across seven countries – the UK, Germany, Spain, France, US, Australia and Singapore – demonstrates a rupture in trust levels across national governments and much greater levels of trust in the national health authorities when it comes to handling data issues amid the pandemic.

Top-line country comparison findings include:

  • 36% of Brits trust the Government less as a result of the pandemic whereas only 21% have more trust. This puts Britain squarely in the middle in comparison to the other countries surveyed, with Singaporeans and Australians by far recording the greatest levels of trust:
    • Australia: 11% less trust, 41% more trust
    • Singapore: 13% less trust, 50% more trust
    • Germany: 19% less trust, 24% more trust
    • France: 39% less trust, 17% more trust
    • USA: 44% less trust, 19% more trust
    • Spain: 47% less trust, 24% more trust
  • On the other hand, public health authorities such as the NHS have seen an increase in trust levels as a result of the pandemic with 40% of Brits feeling more trust versus 15% feelings less. Only Singapore records higher trust levels in their public health authority, with the UK recording the highest levels of trust among European respondents:
    • Singapore: 13% less trust, 47% more trust
    • Germany: 15% less trust, 35% more trust
    • Australia: 18% less trust, 35% more trust
    • USA: 23% less trust, 34% more trust
    • Spain: 25% less trust, 37% more trust
    • France: 27% less trust, 23% more trust
  • British respondents prefer that contact tracing comes from the NHS, as over 80% would download from it versus 50% for a big tech-developed app. Brits stand at the higher end compared to other counties, again only behind Singapore:
    • Singapore: 86% would download an app developed by public health authorities, 59% would download an app developed by big tech
    • Spain: 80% by public health authorities, 49% by big tech
    • Australia: 76% by public health authorities, 44% by big tech
    • Germany: 73% by public health authorities, 47% by big tech
    • France: 63% by public health authorities, 36% by big tech
    • USA: 65% by public health authorities, 42% by big tech

About the survey

This survey is the second wave in a series of global surveys to measure sentiment towards data sharing during COVID-19. The series has to date surveyed a total of 9,900 respondents across the UK, Germany, Spain, France, US, Australia and Singapore. In addition to focusing on trust, it also covers questions related to preferences towards what type of data should be shared and with who, and views about getting back to work.

About the Oliver Wyman Forum

The Oliver Wyman Forum is committed to bringing together business, public policy, and social enterprise leaders to help solve the world’s toughest problems. The Oliver Wyman Forum strives to discover and develop innovative solutions by conducting research, convening leading thinkers, analyzing options, and inspiring action on three fronts: Reframing Industry, Business in Society, Global Economic and Political Change. Together with our growing and diverse community of experts in business, public policy, social enterprises, and academia, we think we can make a difference. For more information, visit www.oliverwymanforum.com.

About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a business of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit www.oliverwyman.com. Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.