The Novopay papers

February 2nd, 2013 at 8:41 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

provider Talent2 were unwilling to staff a call centre for stricken teachers in the week before Christmas, documents show.

Then-Associate Education Minister Craig Foss had to call chief executive John Rawlinson to intervene.

Education Ministry acting chief executive Rowena Phair wrote to Talent 2 board chair Andrew Banks last month to say she was “appalled” and it was “unacceptable.”

“The impact of this decision would have been that a large number [of] schools’ staff would not receive their holiday pay prior to Christmas.”

It is obvious there were great tensions between the Ministry and Novopay for a considerable period of time. The client and the supplier were blaming each other. The ministerial inquiry announced by Joyce will no doubt shed some light on blame – once the current situation is resolved.

Finance Minister Bill English, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Craig Foss signed off the project in June last year despite advice there were 147 “software defects”.

The number of defects is not actually significant, especially in a $100m contract. What is more important is the nature of those defects.

In June last year, a report to English, Parata and Foss, outlined 147 bugs in the system. There were no problems at the most serious level, but 10 at the next level and 105 at “level 3″.

So no show-stoppers had been identified?

So why did the Government proceed?

Four independent advisers – from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Social Development Ministry, the Primary Industries Ministry and the New Zealand Transport Agency – gave the system the green light.

“Talent2 now has a proven way of rectifying defects and releasing the fixes,” the Education Ministry report said.

The ministers allowed the project to go ahead in August.

I’ll be very interested to see the PWC advice especially. There could be some culpability around that advice, if it was flawed.

With the benefit of hindsight, a regional pilot should have been insisted upon before rolling out nationwide. The inquiry will have to look into that also of course.

And one question for those with memories. Who was the ministerial advisor of the Education Minister who developed the original contract, and what role does he have today?

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53 Responses to “The Novopay papers”

  1. berend (1,708 comments) says:

    No one could have foreseen these troubles! Because big bang software development projects always work, especially when executed by a recruitment company.

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  2. big bruv (13,886 comments) says:

    I know it is a bit nasty of me but the novopay fuck up brings a smile to my face every payday. I simply cannot muster up any sympathy for teachers.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 33 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    I simply cannot muster up any sympathy for teachers.

    Yeah – I HATE teachers … selfish, evil bastards.

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/15/15927932-lives-saved-by-teachers-custodian-and-even-children-in-connecticut-school-shooting?lite

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  4. GJKiwi (175 comments) says:

    Big Bruv, what a childish remark. In German the term is Schadenfreude. Pleasure at someone else’s misfortune. Whether or not you have sympathy for them as a group, people who work expect to get paid and be able to pay their bills and, in particular, their mortgages.

    I would have given the Novopay system a 3 strikes and you’re out warning. After the third pay round, if things weren’t working, they lose the contract. I always recommend to my clients that they run systems in tandem for the first few months, to ensure that the figures agree. If the figures don’t agree, then they go with the old system until they work out what is wrong with the new system.

    My question would be, in a country that has any number of excellent payroll systems, why did the Government not contract someone with expertise in the area? Pay Global would have done an excellent job, and I’m sure others as well. Idiocy, as far as I can see.

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  5. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    And one question for those with memories. Who was the ministerial advisor of the Education Minister who developed the original contract, and what role does he have today?

    Is there some relevance to this question? Is there any indication the original contract/required specifications were deficient, as opposed to their implementation? And if the contract was so stuffed from the outset, why did National persevere with it for the last four years? I thought its job was to undo all the damage that Labour had managed to inflict on the country!

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  6. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    No, not nasty bigbruv, just pathetic.

    Well you have a childish hatred of tecahers so let’s not talk about them. Perhaps then you could muster up some sympathy instead for the teacher aides who work with children with high needs, physically and/or intellectually disabled for example. They work for little pay anyway. Don’t you think they deserve to get paid?
    Or maybe you could muster up some sympathy for all the people who work at schools that aren’t teachers – groundspeople, office staff etc. Do they deserve to get paid?

    Idiot.

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  7. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    This has become a huge media beat up. Campbell was all over it last night. He had the cheek to talk about ” 2 guys interviewing each other about each other”.

    This is being hyped by the media to attack this govt.

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  8. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Bulk fund the schools and let them use whatever system rocks their boat.
    Govt. should get the hell out of education in every way it can. Just as it should get out of other stuff.

    National Politicians never learn. Education has been the chain around their neck forever but they are just too piss weak to flick it off and let others deal with it and make it non political. Which would have the benefit of screwing the Labour Party as well.

    Its often said people never learn from history. In the case of the Nats. it’s just so true.

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  9. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    “The number of defects is not actually significant, especially in a $100m contract. What is more important is the nature of those defects.”
    Either those defects were critical or the critical defects that became apparent after go-live were overlooked in all piloting phases.
    I’ve been involved at a high level on the vendor side of several multi-million dollar IT implementations and there is no excuse under current accepted methodolgies for the clusterfuck that is Novopay. From what I have read the blame lies squarely with those that signed off the go-live and with Talent2, unless they can prove their claim that the ministry impacted on their ability to perform.

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  10. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Are you serious. kowtow?

    Novopay have stuffed up teachers pay for half a year now, and there are no signs that it is getting better.
    In fact teachers have been warned that their next pay could be the worse yet. It’s getting so bad that the government (after their holidays of getting paid) have finally admitted that things aren’t improving and that they are talking to the previous provider.

    The whole mess, apart from impacting peoples lives, is going to cost the taxpayer a fortune to fix up.
    And you think it is a media beat-up solely designed to attack the government? Really?

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  11. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Not long ago on this site this issue was all about moaning teachers and the unions. As more and more information comes out it becomes clearer that the system is fatally flawed. It doesn’t matter ministerial who begun the process it matters who checked to see that it was ready to go – the person or people who sign it off are ultimately responsible – their ministerial pay packers are at their not inconsiderable level for this very reason – so Parata/English/Foss should be accountable for this.

    Labour laws require for their schools and that workers are paid in full and on time. That school staff are owed $12m and continue to work for the children and their communities should be reason to get in behind them and in turn offer support to them rather than further add abuse.

    Simply they all deserve to be paid correctly – just as dick head posters here (big bruv) would expect.

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  12. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    With the benefit of hindsight, a regional pilot should have been insisted upon before rolling out nationwide.

    Yup – agree.

    Bearing in mind the magnitude of the project, the biggest concern of all is why this piece of logic wasn’t applied at the outset.

    Business Management 101: Fail.

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  13. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    I don’t think it’s possible to assess whether or not it’s a clusterfuck until we know two things:

    1) what is the nature of the errors?

    2) how do those compare with the errors in Datacom payruns?

    In terms of parallel runs, which in a payroll system is the equivalent of a pilot, we know they did at least one – that was referenced on an item yesterday on Checkpoint (RNZ’s drive time). One would assume they did more. The difficulty with parallel runs is that it requires double-entry: i.e. the people inputting the data all round the country have to enter it into both systems. This of course introduces human error.

    My jury is still out on this and at the moment my preliminary opinion is alongside kowtow’s. There is profound ignorance in the media and in the public about how payrolls work and the teacher’s payroll is incredibly complex, probably the most complex in the country. Not only do you have multiple awards but you also have hundreds of allowances under each award, altogether totalling thousands of individual combinations, all of which would calculate differently. Teachers are also known for making hay out of issues like this and I don’t think you can eliminate this from the equation.

    Personally I’m waiting on the technical audit and as DPF says I’d also like to see the Deloittes report and I really hope they publish the Datacom error rates as well, but I don’t expect them to. As to why they granted Talent2 the tender, why money, of course, duh. I bet there was a significant price differential between it and Datacom. I wouldn’t be surprised if Datacom deliberately inflated its price simply so it wouldn’t get the contract. I have been told it hated it.

    But the fundamental root cause of all of this is the complexity of the award structures, and solving that means the politicians need to take on the unions, in the Education sector…. And the politicians of course don’t talk about that, and neither do the useless repeaters who dare to call themselves “journalists.”

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  14. loonybonkersmad (27 comments) says:

    Shedding light on the previous system:

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/1111/payroll-problem-plagues-schools

    Moving from a dog to a dog? Clearly this is a long-term issue that no one seems to get right.

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  15. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    A Talent2 system was used a NZPost and its startup was awful – so why did they let this go……

    Its beyond understanding with what they knew that they let this thing go ahead. Probably the only reason was that the Datacom contract was at an end and they either went back (ie: we screwed up by going to talent 2) or they went ahead (ie: we know what we are doing)

    Idiots.

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  16. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    As more and more information comes out it becomes clearer that the system is fatally flawed.

    Yes this is a common opinion but what’s it based on? Nothing. Until we know the nature of the errors, we have nothing to base it on. The numbers don’t mean a thing. It could be the wrong postcode on a payslip, for example. But we don’t know, do we.

    So it would be good if the braying fools could just tai ho. But they won’t. That’s why they’re braying fools.

    Thank you loony for that link…

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  17. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    kiwigunner @ 9.52am Well said

    Reid @ 10.02am If you really don’t think that this is a big mess – a Novoshambles?? – then you have you have your head in the sand.

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  18. unpcnzcougar (52 comments) says:

    Seriously, for $100 million there shouldn’t have been a single error in that system. I have experience with complex payrolls, and developers, and my second comment would be that it shouldn’t have taken 4 years to develop a proprietary system.

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  19. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    What I have been really keen to see are the metrics behind this. How many paid employees per pay cycle, how many errors etc. I have been suspicious that we are getting MASSIVE NOISE from the few but without the numbers it is difficult to confirm that. In this link to a board meeting in November, http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/document/pdf/20135/NovopayProjectboardMeeting1Nov12.pdf , it looks as though in Pay Period 15 there were 87K people paid with 120 in an exception pay run and that Period 16 over 90K paid with 233 exceptions and 221 stops. Am I reading that right or are we still none the wiser as to the sheer scale of the errors? I know teachers and they haven’t had a problem. Can anyone point us to where the metrics are other than what I have linked to here?

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  20. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    It’s the gummints fault. And it doesn’t matter which one, National or Labour. They’re just not getting the smartest people onto it because of the entrenched attitude in the ministries:

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2013/02/time-to-spay-novopay.html

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  21. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    Reid @ 10.02am If you really don’t think that this is a big mess – a Novoshambles?? – then you have you have your head in the sand.

    I didn’t say it wasn’t a big mess bc I said we, none of us, have enough information yet to assess whether or not it is and I explained what information we need.

    The fact there are errors in every payrun is only significant if you don’t understand how payroll systems work. You cannot say: there are errors, therefore the system is a shambles. You can say that about other IT systems but not about payroll systems which deal with rosters and which don’t simply pay the same money to the same people month after month.

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  22. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Ha ha, Reid. It’s probably a tossup as to who is the most hated in Developer Land. Acc or Min Ed.

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  23. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    “In hindsight” is what Parata, English, and Foss (sort of), and now DPF said. A well coordinated response to a very poorly implemented plan.

    I kind of like $30m+ contracts to be implemented without these words ever having to be said. In fact when they are it is an admission that the work didn’t go to plan or simply wasn’t done. The problems have been developing and festering for 4 years – even if the Ministers didn’t understand IT they all had a responsibility to keep a watchful eye on progress and reviews. In hindsight isn’t really good enough – they are paid that these words never get said.

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  24. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Am reading the letters:

    From Stuff:

    Talent2 also accused the ministry of “hindering” it’s performance in the ministry’s management of the project.”

    Gee. Whoda thunk?

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  25. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Ok Reid I’m not going to argue with you. But think about this…

    I have a family friend who is a teacher aide. She works with a boy who is severely intellectually disabled. When he gets frustrated he has massive tantrums. She has been hit more than once by this boy, but she carries on, not because it is part of the job but because she sees small steps of progress, for example he can write his name.

    She gets paid something like $15 an hour. (I’m not sure of the exact amount, but I remember being horrified when she told me).

    She is still owed over a months wages from last year. After every pay round when her pay is incorrect she has to inform the payroll officer at the school, and it is a requirement that she has to fill out the paperwork. She says her payroll officer is fantastic but at the end of her wits.

    She is lucky that he husband earns good money and that she doesn’t need to work full time at a higher paying job (which she could easily get). Her main motivation for being a teacher aide is that she finds the job very rewarding. Nevertheless, they are not “rich” and her pay helps and she is finding it stressful.

    She and no doubt thousnads of others like her deserve better.

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  26. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Id be interested to know if there was a switch in data gathering process as well, with a move to data being entered online as opposed to the old email collection under the previous system. If thats the case, if the source data is fucked, then no pay system, no matter how good, will cope.

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  27. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    Monique – just the usual posturing when a contract is going off the rails. Contractor will look for any reason or excuse to claim the client or outside parties ‘hindered’ the contract to try and deflect claims for lateness damages. Interesting the contractor seemed to be trying to screw more money out of the Ministry presumably by threatening to ‘walk away’. Seems thebest way to win IT contracts is to over promise and under quote knowing you have the client over a barrel mid-contract.

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  28. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    @ Reid

    According to the papers dumped yesterday, talent2 were one of the most expensive tenders. They seemed to win because they displayed a better understanding of what the tender required – far better than datacom. Of course that’s gone out the window. They had planned to run it with 50 people. They currently have 150shift

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  29. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    ‘Just On the day shift’ that should have been

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  30. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @insider, why on earth do they need 150 people to “run it”? Why on earth is it not the responsibility of school admin staff to enter ALL the data correctly and have it verified online by appropriate senior staff? Why on earth does Talent2 have any access to the data at all?

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  31. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Members of the Novapay Board which recommended the roll out received up to $1672 per monthly meeting for the benefit of their advice. In hindsight was this money well spent? In hindsight were the correct people chosen? In hindsight should there have been better communication (Hekia?) with schools the users of this dog of s system? I’ll add too that end users – schools- were hardly consulted or prepared for the changes, even had they been implemented well, because our current leaders see discussion with collaboration with schools as something they do not want to do. Teachers and other staff far from moaning have been and continue to be very patient (though appropriately signalling problems and trying to get paid for doing their jobs) despite this.

    Alan school staff enter information correctly and the system buggers up – that is the major problem. Another is the system can’t manage what needs to be entered.

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  32. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Talent 2 don’t deserve a cent for this shambles.

    They weren’t even going to have any staff operating their call centre leading up to the pay period just before christmas – a particularly important pay period as it includes holiday pay. They seemed to have no problems with teachers not being paid over christmas and the new year, as long as it could save them a few dollars.

    A new year arrives and it is still going on – which Joyce saying the worst is yet to come. Unbelievable.

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  33. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Looking at the time line, problems were starting to emerge as early as 2009.
    The government started to get worried, but Talent 2 put on the charm offensive.
    They couldn’t smooth over the cracks forever, however, and when it become aware that things were in trouble the “going live” date was delayed.
    This gave time for Talent 2 to get it sorted but they still couldn’t get it right.
    The government became increasingly concerned and their communication which Talent 2 became a lot more terse. At one point the government threatened to cancel the contract. Talent 2 responsed even more strongly making threats of legal action.

    This is a crucial point, because then the government backed down.

    Despite serious misgivings that things would work, it appears the government just crossed its fingers and hoped for the best.
    We all know what happened next.

    Talent 2 deserve our scorn, but ultimately the buck stops with the government ministers that signed off despite knowing full well that things were in trouble. Another thing to add to Parata’s legacy.

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  34. Nick K (1,243 comments) says:

    And one question for those with memories. Who was the ministerial advisor of the Education Minister who developed the original contract, and what role does he have today?

    I see no one has offered an answer on this, so I’ll say Grant Robertson, Labour’s deputy leader.

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  35. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    bc

    Yes I am serious. I believe that the media pack sensed that there was a huge bonus to flogging this “story”,because that’s all it is to them.They don’t give a shit about teacher’s salaries,taxpayers’ money etc. They saw a weak minister ,parata and a big stuff up,not of her making and they bayed like the hounds of hell. There have been scalps. And the latte lapping wankers will be able to claim they have held power to account in their self satisfied smug way.

    well if they care so much about education ,why not go after the stuff up the release of the NCEA results was. That was laughable.
    About taxpayers’ money ? The LAV’s.
    Taxpayers’ money? The whole welfare system needs looking at.etc

    Has anyone starved to death,lost their house,killed themselves.

    No,but the teacher’s unions have had a field day,thanks to our shit,lazy,socialist and anti National media.

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  36. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    So to the people who are alleging it’s a shambles, how do you know that? On what basis have you concluded such is so?

    Number of errors? As I’ve explained, so what about the numbers? We need to know what their nature was, that’s when we can make a conclusion. Until then, everyone is simply guessing.

    Bear in mind this is not my opinion, it’s a simple fact. We don’t yet have the numbers by category, so what about that doesn’t anyone understand?

    Also, this does not mean I have made up my own mind, so I wish some people would stop hallucinating that my pointing out this above fact means that therefore, I have in fact concluded myself, that there is no problem. For I haven’t. All I’m saying is what’s the point of munting on about anecdotal tragedies like say when the cat died because the teacher wasn’t paid until we have that data?

    I think what’s happened to Talent2 on the business front as a result of this debacle is an interesting angle. It’s a real disaster for them. They are a subsidiary off-shoot of the Morgan and Banks personnel firms, based in Perth, with lots of systems in Aus and SE Asia. Not only need they never again submit another RFP response in NZ, the international ramifications of this are significant to their future overseas tenders especially. This is an issue which will become well-known in the industry overseas, one imagines. It’s a shame this has happened.

    One real big factor in this has been a very weak counter-PR campaign and had that been run smoothly from the very first time this had hit the papers, the whole story could by now be much different. I think this has to do with the fact the Ministry of Ed would have had in its contract they would manage public comms and they have done an absolutely appalling job, haven’t they. They firstly stayed completely silent and still like a possum staring into the headlights, then they did next to nothing while the lefty politicians picked it up at the behest of the unions feeding through tales of woe and anguish. The idiot Parata did nothing except quickly fob it off to the recently-appointed associate Foss who was extremely pleased to get it judging from the tone of his first press conference after she’d told the reporters to speak to him about it.

    So the useless Ministry of Ed – duh – and the useless Minister(s) – duh, stood by while the opposition slowly built it into an Aussie-size political bushfire, over the months. I don’t blame Parata for the sign-off, she had to depend on experts and they must have said yes and that was their fault, not hers. But I do blame her for letting this become the PR disaster it has. The political buck stops with her, on this one.

    Meanwhile Talent2 clearly forced to remain silent by its contract while the Ministry of Ed made not one effective move as the PR just got worse and worse, their possum-strategy clearly not working; finally but fucking finally, the Talent2 CEO get’s the opportunity to speak, and starts off rather badly by blaming the users. Now I saw the whole interview at the time and personally I think the media spun this the same way it spun the whole John whatisname of the business council who got run out of office by the bitch on Campbell Live on the basis of making a sexist remark that the stupid bitch took completely out of context. It wasn’t quite as bad as that episode but it was along the same spectrum, the spin on the Talent2’s remark, because he said a lot of other, sensible things, as well. But no, that wasn’t the “story” was it. That wasn’t “the angle.” BUT, he was stupid to open the door to the media to do that, he shouldn’t have said it, it was a stupid thing to say. And the upshot of that is, Talent2 has subsequently never been given another opportunity to put its side of the story. Which is unfortunate and frankly, unjust.

    It’s all too late now, the thing has developed a momentum of it’s own and it long ago reached the point where Talent2 was a mere cork on the ocean.

    So given that’s been the consequence I’m really looking forward to the data when we can all conclude whether or not Talent2 really deserves what has happened to it.

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  37. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    Any company identifying itself as “Talent2″ should raise some concerns with the organisations this company is doing business with. The name suggests arrogance and overwhelming confidence, hallmarks of flyby night companies that are more style than substance, therefore alarm bells should be ringing.
    E,O & E aside, there is sufficient evidence that an audit of this companies activities and performance should be undertaken by the office of the Auditor General, if this has not been commenced already.
    In situations like this where a roll out of a new service is undertaken there is opportunity for “black holes” to be created, and reassurance that these don’t exist should be undertaken.

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  38. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “Seems the best way to win IT contracts is to over promise and under quote knowing you have the client over a barrel mid-contract.”

    This has been common tactics for years in the industry. It has been historically done by the big boys and they make their money by using change control processes to overcharge the inevitable changes during implementation but make most of the money post initial implementation in the ongoing costs (especially payroll).

    Government like organisations are the worst for this as they never take in to account that by underpaying up front they inevitably get done over worse than if they had made a more reasonable choice.

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  39. tvb (4,418 comments) says:

    I too have little time for the teaching profession. By what is happening to novopay is intolerable. Minister Joyce is on to it. I feel he will get other difficult education issues such as the Christchurch school restructuring. Ms Parata will be left with very routine matters in a slow narrowing of her responsibilities.

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  40. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Four independent advisers – from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Social Development Ministry, the Primary Industries Ministry and the New Zealand Transport Agency – gave the system the green light.

    Perhaps Parata could have looked into the veracity of this advice, rather than simply firing Lesley Longstone.

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  41. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Nick K –if I caught a snippet on the TV1 News correctly, last night, the answer is Chris Hipkins

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  42. Keeping Stock (10,337 comments) says:

    @ Ross12 – and Hipkins was very quick to try and put some distance between himself and Novopay; funny that…

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  43. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    When in business you should manage your risks and your workloads. You should not piss off your customer.
    Seems Talant2 is singualarly unsuccessful at that on more than a few occasions.
    Interesting that a company with so many systems apprently installed and running couldn’t just duplicate one at small cost. That’s what software is capable of. Most of us thrive off that every day.
    Fail and great rip off of the taxpayer.

    Somewhat like the incis project the Police spent a 100 mill on that had to be scrapped and never worked.

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  44. Scott1 (549 comments) says:

    My guess is this.

    Talent2 is right that the school pay system is a tough contract. They made an error in determining just how difficult it was going to be and the company came under strain as they realised delivering the contract properly was not going to give an acceptable return. That probably involved the ministry not explaining some of the complexity and yet it would also have been their job to understand the task well enough to understand that. Then once they had the contract they kept getting in a deeper and deeper hole without knowing exactly how far they were from digging their way out – apparently too far.

    Usually this has something to do with communication lines between programmers and management – but this is the case in all of these companies.

    At the point that they tried to renegotiate I imagine the ministry’s answer was – “just sort it out”. But it doesn’t help to demand a company do something that it can’t do even if it is contractually obliged to do so. I suppose the Ministry didn’t know that talent didn’t have the resources to do it properly (maybe no one does, without scraping much of the current structure) – but it appears Talent2 now realised that, so they started to prepare for the legal consequences.

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  45. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    I just heard on the news that it’s going totake 12 to 18 months to fix-up. You could redo the whole system in that time. Talent2 does the Victoria University’s payroll (IIRC) and that must be much more complex (although smaller) than the teacher’s one so I don’t know what’s can be going wrong.

    I’ve heard some pretty terrible screw-ups at a school I know about, they are so terrible that they are funny but it’s a massive time waster that goes on and on and on. At Christmas time, teachers really need to re-charge their batteries but with them being in at school over Christmas trying to sort out pay issues, they’re going to be tired and grumpy before the kids even get back.

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  46. smttc (752 comments) says:

    I have to say that like Big Bruv I do not really give a shit about this issue. But what has been exercising my mind from day 1 of this debacle is “Are teachers so useless and only moaning because they live from hand to mouth and cannot live without every cent of their next pay?”. A local primary school prinicipal assures this is not the case. So I conclude this is just teachers playing politics.

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  47. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    And of course you wouldn’t mind at all smttc if you didn’t get paid for the work you have done.

    Idiot.

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  48. Sponge (176 comments) says:

    God, anyone would think that Datacom had been doing a great job. In the 2 years up until Novopay came in my wife never once got paid correctly. The errors were usually not much but it was amazing how they managed to get it wrong time after time.

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  49. smttc (752 comments) says:

    bc, I like the teachers know I will get paid in full eventually in spite of the cock ups. It is just a question of time. So as I say are teachers so deprived of money every pay day that they have to yell and screech.

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  50. earth6 (1 comment) says:

    “And one question for those with memories. Who was the ministerial advisor of the Education Minister who developed the original contract, and what role does he have today?”

    Good thinking.

    Small contribution: The current head of DSW used to be all-over manager of “e-government” I believe, before his current appointment. What was his contribution to Novopay?

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  51. HB (321 comments) says:

    There are plenty of reasons why someone employed at a school could struggle if they were underpaid or not paid for weeks at a time.

    Some families it will be their only income (including our office lady who was recently widowed).
    Some families have students at university and are helping them out.
    Some employees are young graduates with a student loan and this is their first job.

    Many people employed by a school will be living pay to pay or would be compromised financially if not paid properly for months at a time. The only wealthy teachers I know are the ones who are married to doctors, lawyers, accountants and the like.

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  52. chrisw76 (85 comments) says:

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again: failing to manage the Education portfolio properly will cost National the election. In the next six months this area need to get back on track and improvements need to be seen.

    Personally in my role I have a one strike tolerance for a pay cock-up. Mistakes happen, but they need to be fixed promptly. I don’t care if it is $5 or $5000; there is a contract and if I live up to my side in full then I expect them to as well.

    When Novapay first came in and there were issues, I thought teething problems and it will all be sorted in a couple of months. Well time is passing and now the MoE is saying there could be ongoing problems for months (they just don’t know). This changed my thinking from “unions just playing up” to “MoE are bad employers”.

    If my employer came to me and told me that the new payroll system was a dog and I should warn my creditors that there is a chance they wouldn’t be paid in a timely fashion, but they promised I’d get paid correctly eventually sometime in the next 12-18 months as long as I filled in paperwork every week detailing the mistakes and a spent my personal time talking to the payroll admins, then I’d be both stressed and furious. I seriously doubt there would be anyone here who wouldn’t be.

    Not having to deal with uncertainty around income is the reason you become and employee after all.

    Ignoring the few commentators here that just seem to have a hatred of the teaching profession and/or publicly funded education in general, the painfully obvious point is that if as an employer you cock up something as basic as pay, then union or no union, you are going to have trouble implementing policy for which a leap of faith is required.

    Cheers, Chris W.

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  53. Trevor Mallard (248 comments) says:

    This system was tendered and let in 2008. Chris Carter was the Minister. I’m not sure who was in his office at the time.

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