Joyce: Novopay upgrade over the weekend

The first of three software upgrades to Novopay will be carried out over the weekend.

Steven Joyce, the minister in charge of the troubled teacher payroll system, says “This is the first of three planned releases in February, March, and April as part of the remediation plan which are designed to address the most significant bugs in the system. The first will address some of the known calculation errors as well as some of the reports that are necessary for end of year audits.”

Some teachers will find grim satisfaction in the software upgrade, which could be seen as an admission that problems are the result of faults in Novopay rather than human error.

Mr Joyce recently gave Novopay developer Talent2 a $5 million top up (on top of approximately $30 million in taxpayer funding so far).

The minister stressed that while the government was picking up the tab in the meantime, it was still an open question whether the Crown, the Ministery of Education or Talent2 ultimately picked up the tab.

The extra funding did indicate Mr Joyce favoured persevering with Novopay in the short term. The minister says while he has talked to previous provider Datacom, a switch back could take at least a year.

Mr Joyce also provided details of a PwC report on payroll period 23, which saw more problems.

552 staff were notified as not paid, 521 were overpaid, and 589 underpaid. The affected staff were from 628 schools around the country - or roughly a quarter of the schools covered by Novopay.


RAW DATA: Steven Joyce statement

Update on Novopay

Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce today released an update on Pay Periods 23 and 24.

Pay Period 23, which was paid on the morning of 6 February, paid 74,373 staff a total of $143.87 million. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has compiled a report about the pay period showing there were complaints and notifications received regarding 2.2 per cent of staff across the country. 552 staff were notified as not paid, 521 were overpaid, and 589 underpaid. The affected staff were from 628 schools around the country.

All complaints received are either currently being resolved or have been resolved. A similar report is being prepared for Pay Period 24, which was paid on Wednesday, and that will be released next week.

“This was a larger payroll than Pay Period 23 with 78,351 staff paid a total of $160.3 million. Early indications are there was a similar level of issues to that of Pay Period 23,” Mr Joyce says.

Mr Joyce advised that Talent2 was planning to release the first of three planned software upgrades this weekend.

“This is the first of three planned releases in February, March, and April as part of the remediation plan which are designed to address the most significant bugs in the system. The first will address some of the known calculation errors as well as some of the reports that are necessary for end of year audits.”

The Ministry of Education and PWC are continuing to progress and further develop the Remediation Plan, and the Minister expects to receive and release further updates on this next week.
Mr Joyce says he met yesterday with the lead technical reviewer Murray Jack and was expecting a draft technical report on the system later next week.

“I have asked the review team to evaluate the software remediation plan as part of their work to give us an indication whether that will address the identified issues with the system. That will slightly lengthen the time before the final report is received, but will help provide us all with a better understanding of the options we have to proceed.”

Education Ministry officials yesterday met with a range of sector groups in Wellington to update them on a number of matters in relation to the Novopay system. As part of those discussions they discussed providing extra support for schools while the pay system is remediated, or moving to a backup option if necessary.

“Officials will continue to work on recommendations to Ministers in the coming days”, Mr Joyce says. “It is my intention to finalise arrangements alongside decisions on progressing the pay system so we have a clear path forward.

“I appreciate the on-going issues with Novopay are hugely frustrating for the school sector and I want to thank administrators and other staff for their patience and hard work.

“I want to assure them that everything is being done to remedy the situation as quickly as possible but the reality is the issues remain complex and will take some time to resolve.”

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3 Comments & Questions

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I believe the figures quoted significantly understate the problem.
My wife has not had a correct pay since Novopay started. Her base pay is correct. However, the management units she is entitled to (and was paid via datacom) have not been paid despite numerous attempts to correct the problem. Because the master files appear wrong I would assume the audit thinks my wife is correctly paid. At her school the error rate is about 20% on that payrun. I would say that was fairly typical and is a long way from 2%.
We both have no confidence that this type of issue will be solved, nor backpay will be forthcoming. As an IT professional I am appalled.

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Talent2 should be made to pay for this mess, not given even more money to sort it out. The whole development of the system was/is a joke. First of 3 upgrades ?! - these are obviously not minor tweaks/fixes, they point to major re-writes of the application which is a sure sign that Talent are poorly managed and lacking technical expertise. Joyce is in a difficult position here, hes getting shafted by Talent2 and switching back to the previous provider isn't an option but I wouldn't be paying them an extra cent or taxpayers money for this mess.

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I for one am azazed at the integrity the PPTA has displayed in dealing with this horrific multi-party technology bungle.

If I was the PPTA I would be striking by now and teaching the govt a real lesson

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