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Teachers likely to suffer more Novopay pain

Novopay’s new caregiver, Steven Joyce, has warned teachers the Novopay pain is not over just yet.

The economic development minister, who has been appointed to fix the education payroll shambles, admits there may not have been enough consultation with the most-affected staff.

Mr Joyce has today visited administrators at a Northland primary school and Wellington Girls’ College to discuss their concerns.

The system, responsible for paying 85,000 teaching staff fortnightly, was developed by Australian company Talent2 and introduced last September.

But it has been plagued with problems, including paying the wrong salaries to the wrong people or missing payments all together.

Mr Joyce says next week’s pay cycle – No 23 – will perhaps be the most challenging yet for Novopay.

He says so far he has met with most of the people involved with the development and implantation of the payroll system, including Talent2, and some of the ministry staff and their advisers.

“It’s my intention to meet with stakeholders over the next few days.

“It is important to get to the front line and talk to people directly involved with the payroll people, and I suspect there hasn’t been quite enough of that in a couple of places.

"You can’t actually deal with the issues unless you get in and see the issues for yourself,” Mr Joyce says.

And while he confirms there are a range of options available to him, he is uncertain at this stage which will be appropriate.

“I would say, at this point, there are no options which don’t involve some continued pain for a period of time while things get sorted.”

Mr Joyce also says he is committed to staying with Novopay and sorting it out rather than ditching it for another system. And he believes the two schools he has visited so far are also in favour if that.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

More by Blair Cunningham

Comments and questions

Joyce - “It is important to get to the front line and talk to people directly involved with the payroll people, and I suspect there hasn't been quite enough of that in a couple of places".

This is a telling statement that speaks volumes of what should have happened months ago, but didn't.

Yep. Unbelievable managerial incompetence created and prolonged this mess. Joyce is stating the obvious. Either replacement of Novopay or fixing it is not going to be quick. Given the hopeless management obviously responsible it seems very likely there are some major conceptual design flaws in the system. Retrofixes are always difficult and costly.

Why don't they terminate Novopay's contract & engage someone else? In the interim, they can do the pays manually

No doubt there is serious culpability on the contractor but clearly someone in the ministry very high up assumed delivery and is not from an IT background because if they were they would have appointed a day-to-day nose wiper on the supplier and seen this coming ... unless they did and that someone put their hand up but weren't listened to.

A little dicky bird told me Talent 2 are well within the contracted error rate and the system went live against their advice... note hard man Joyce's conciliatory tone.

Paul, that sounds like a very plausible explanation. In time all will be revealed!

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