Novopay assistance

March 19th, 2013 at 1:09 pm by David Farrar

has announced assistance for schools:

The $6 million package will be allocated as a one-off payment across the sector, calculated on a formula of $105 per Full-time Teaching Equivalents (FTTEs) plus $500 per school. For example:

  • A small school of 5 FTTEs will receive $1,025
  • A medium school of 20 FTTEs will receive $2,600
  • A large school of 120 FTTEs will receive $13,100.

If there is eventually a court battle between the Government and Talent 2, then this will be added to the disputed bill!

Joyce also updated on the system:

“In the last three fortnightly pay periods, the percentage of complaints and notifications received dropped from 2.2 per cent to 1.9 per cent to 1 per cent while at the same time the total number of people being paid increased from 74,373 to 84,822.

“Following Pay Period 26 this week, the next big challenge will be Pay Period 1, in which significant changes occur for the start of the new financial year, including adjustments to KiwiSaver and student loan repayment rates. These changes may introduce new issues. The Ministry is working closely with Talent2 to minimise any increases in error rate.

So it has got better, but may get worse with the new financial year.

Out of interest does anyone know what the error rate with Datacom was?

“In regards to bug fixes, 87 defects have been resolved as part of the remediation plan to date, with 143 scheduled for resolution in a release on 23 March and a further 46 currently scheduled for 20 April. 228 defects are being managed through business as usual processes and we are looking at a fourth release to deal with remaining defects and usability issues.

The total number of current defects is 526. These include 49 Category Two defects (very serious), 320 Category Three defects (serious), 115 Category Four defects (moderate), and 42 Category Five defects (cosmetic). It is planned that the number of Category Two defects will be reduced to 12 on completion of the second release this coming weekend.

I guess a category one defect is the system is offline!

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21 Responses to “Novopay assistance”

  1. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    Who signed this contract with Novopay?

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  2. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    What a relief, to know that people who haven’t been paid for months are all neatly accounted for in a system of categories. :neutral:

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  3. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    RRM – you drama queen

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  4. campit (467 comments) says:

    RRM – those are software defects, each of which can impact hundreds of people.

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  5. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Joyce is doing a pretty good job so far by the sounds of things. He definitely deserves his ‘Mr Fixit’ tag!

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  6. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    not sure what the average was but my accuracy rate each time i was audited at Datacom was 99.9% (and i disputed the .1).

    and i was paying around 2-2.5 times the average number of staff most datacom people had.

    there were some shockingly bad staff there though.

    everytime we got forced to go and help the people paying less staff than us, who were lagging behind, we typically found so many errors they would ask us to stop helping.

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  7. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    It is an extreme disappointment that the ‘career’ public service seemed unable to get the Novapay thing sorted without intervention from the Prime Minister and his appointed Senior Minister. The situation did become so serious that it was probably beyond the authority of senior public servants to take the appropriate actions – but then they could have submitted to the responsible Minister or Cabinet seeking authority for the appropriate actions.

    It is just bleeding obvious that significant payroll issues (not being paid or serious underpayment) are ‘dynamite’ employment issues and need to be dealt with in one way or another straight away. The responsible Ministry did not seem to grasp this fundamental point.

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  8. pidge (56 comments) says:

    Chris Carter Signed the contract with Novopay on 11 August 2008. More than you probably want to know is here: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/NovopayProject/ProjectInitiation.aspx

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  9. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    pidge – youre just picking on chris carter cause hes gay

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  10. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    dime – If you can afford to just not get paid for 2 months, well good on you.

    I couldn’t afford to not get paid for 2 months. But that is what my mate the school teacher is up against. And the last time she got paid at all, it was at the wrong rate…

    Fortunately (for her) their kids are grown up, they are mortgage free, and her husband works in real industry where you get paid properly for the work you do!

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  11. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    so, youre saying your mate can afford to as well.

    the way some people act like its the end of the world.

    if you cant live for two months.. thats not good.

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  12. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Dime –

    My mate is pissed because it WOULD be the end of the world if she just failed to turn up for a few weeks. But if her pay fails to turn up… well too bad, our hands are tied, it’s all too hard, just lump it…

    (On the other thing – I’m a wage slave with a new family and a new mortgage, and all the insurances etc etc in place. At the moment everything that comes in, goes straight back out again. It won’t always be this way, but at the moment… it is :-) )

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  13. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    RRM – if Dime worked for a big ass corporation and a screw up meant Dime didnt get paid for 2 months (how many peeps exaclty have gone with anything for 2 months?), Dime would not run to the media, cry on talk back, do interviews with the herald, scream that the board be sacked etc etc

    teachers act like children.

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  14. Boglio (78 comments) says:

    It would be good to know how many errors were due to input by school staff because of the new ways of reporting staff time. Not to minimise the awful problem of software bugs but in my experience many errors are GIGO. In my company many errors were due to interpolation of numbers and keying.

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  15. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    How ironic. Dime talks about teachers acting like children, but in the same post he talks in the third person and uses words like “peeps”.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Anyway, if Dime is happy to be without pay for 2 months than good for him, but he has no right to be annoyed at people who aren’t so happy about it.

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  16. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    On a positive note, good on “Mr Fixit” for starting to sort out this shambles, and more importantly compensating schools that have had to pay for extra admin staff out of their operations buget. It’s a shame that the government allowed it to happen in the first place (prior warnings were there) and when it did go pear-shaped took so long to get on to doing anything about it.

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  17. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “The total number of current defects is 526. These include 49 Category Two defects (very serious), 320 Category Three defects (serious), 115 Category Four defects (moderate), and 42 Category Five defects (cosmetic). It is planned that the number of Category Two defects will be reduced to 12 on completion of the second release this coming weekend.”

    I see part of the problem already – 10 or maybe 20 Category 2 would be acceptable to go live (I work in IT and have worked on my fair share of large projects). Though for the way the implementation has been portrayed in the media I would have expected a damn site worse stats on the defects. However, These stats alone indicate that the project went live too early. I would be interested to see the same measures for the initial release date. The figure of 87 fixes to date does not seem a lot – depending on the categories of course.

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  18. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Manolo,
    Three Nat ministers signed off on it knowing there were flaws.
    Parata , Craig Foss…is this the correct name??, Bill English?? The Foss guy was baled up in the corridor at parliament by reporters and asked was he responsible. He said ” Yes I am responsible , I am partially responsible.” I do not know anything about the guy but this accepting responsibility was so refreshing and so unlike Parata.

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  19. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Idiots on this site began discussing the Novapay debacle spouting on about it being the teachers unions beat up. To date we have spent $11m of your money and mine on (non) remedies. In addition we are most probably the only country in the world to have its third ranking politician in charge of paying the school caretaker! So what if Hipkins signed the original contract it was Hekia (and English and Foss) who signed off the implementation knowing that the system was flawed beyond any level of safe roll out.

    It is a bloody disgrace and another reason that the now invisible but still being paid to swan off around the world whilst doing nothing good here Parata should lose her job. Just where is accountability with this government?

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  20. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    The count of bugs is meaningless without knowing whether they impact people being paid correctly. Plenty of systems have been in use for years or decades with scores of known bugs that are more than cosmetic. The error rate is also meaningless unless you know what is normal for a new system of this type. If only we had people whose job it was to find these things out and report them.

    I also wonder how much time and effort we are wasting by continuing to pay people fortnightly instead of monthly.

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  21. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Looks to me like Joyce is doing what should always have been done. Putting facts out there, and talking clearly about how it is going and what the prognosis is. Being clear that next pay period will be bumpy is a good thing to do.

    The report sounds a lot like a status report I’d write on my projects. Assuming that’s true, then a category one defect is a defect that prevents an important system function working for a large number of users, and has no possible workaround. A category two defect is usually a defect that materially impacts an important system function but has a workaround (typically manual processing). A category three is usually one on a function that isn’t critical, or that isn’t user visible.

    The definitions may be a little different, but they’re reasonably standard across the industry.

    On that definition, the normal criteria for deploying a system is no known category one defects, and any known category two defects must have a remediation plan and a workaround in place. I think the main issue here is that they didn’t do user acceptance testing or piloting well enough, so they had few known defects when they deployed, and found a lot in the first pay run. That’s not something a Minister could easily know – unless someone wrote a report saying there are a bunch of defects we don’t know about and there is a lot of risk. For the average Minister with no IT experience, they’d not even know where to start with a report like that anyway.

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