Community testing an important strand of a wider plan to increase availability of asymptomatic testing. The ambition of that plan is that anyone that cannot work from home during periods of national restrictions has access to rapid asymptomatic testing through one of 3 delivery channels:

1. Institution/employer-led testing

NHS Test and Trace is working with government departments, institutions and employers across both public and private sectors to support delivery of asymptomatic testing to organisations with more than 250 employees, including those providing critical services. Delivery will be through on-site testing in the workplace, the option to refer employees to a particular testing site and rollout of testing at home to individuals (subject to further MHRA approvals). NHS Test and Trace will provide tests, other peripherals, standard operating procedures, training and other guidance (tests will be provided free to private institutions until the end of March). This franchise model builds on the rollouts that have already been undertaken for NHS staff, adult social care sector, universities and schools.

2. Community testing

Expanding the Community Testing Programme to all local authorities in England until at least end of March with establishment of asymptomatic testing sites (ATS) in communities focusing testing of those people that are permitted to leave home for essential reasons, including those unable to access asymptomatic testing through other routes. Community testing is the route through which staff of employers smaller than 250 people would access asymptomatic testing.

3. Home testing

Accessing testing through either a collection or postal model (once this is approved).

Government recognise that as each of these channels develop and are scaled up, there is potential for overlap and will therefore work closely with local authorities, regional convenors and NHS Test and Trace to ensure a common understanding of approach to ensure citizens are directed to the most appropriate asymptomatic testing channel for their needs. We will also ensure information on which employers are engaged in institutional testing is made available to local authorities to aid planning of their community testing programmes.

Find out more via online briefings

DHSC has (via BuildUK) provided the information below and is running a series of webinars daily 2-3pm from Wednesday 20 January – Friday 29 January detailing what the testing programme entails.

If you have suitable sites and would be interested in being considered for the programme please attend one of the webinars next week to get chapter and verse an if still keen to go ahead email

Joining Instructions – MS Teams Link – active daily 2-3p, from Wednesday 20th January to Friday 29th January.

Join on your computer or mobile app  – Click here to join the meeting  

Or call in (audio only)  +44 20 3443 8728  – hone Conference ID: 192 073 409#  

If you have any questions please contact

Further information is available here

Please email with any queries.

To access the FIS COVID-19 Hub and the latest updates click here