The future of Novopay

April 27th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

D-Day looms for the trouble-plagued school payroll system.

A decision on whether to ditch Australian providers Talent2 and possibly give the contract back to Datacom will be announced soon.

A spokesman for Steven Joyce, the minister charged with sorting out the pay debacle, insisted yesterday a decision had not been made, but the Government has previously signalled a decision by the end of the month.

Talent2 chief executive John Rawlinson could not be contacted for comment.

The company has been forced to hire extra staff and work round the clock to try to fix the bugs, which have numbered in the hundreds and left some school staff without pay for months.

The latest pay round showed there was still a long way to go.

There were 39 staff not paid, 210 underpaid, 142 overpaid, 264 schools affected and 123 bugs resolved.

Far from a long way to go, that is an error rate of around 0.4% – less than under the previous system. That context would be useful.

The system is still damn buggy and I don’t think it will be deemed acceptable until school staff are able to enter in all staff details themselves, and confirm the details are correct. Once they have achieved that, they won’t need the expensive call centres doing so much manual work.

13 Responses to “The future of Novopay”

  1. gazzmaniac (2,842 comments) says:

    Instead of school staff entering the data themselves, why don’t schools make teachers do it? Then there will only be one person to blame if they fuck up.

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  2. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    The school I am on the BOT for has a staff member working an extra day a week to fix up Novopay. Needless to say, we are billing the Dept for this.
    What I would like to see is just where Chris Hipkin’s muddy fingerprints are on the decision to go with Novopay. My understanding is that he was one of the team which recommended it. And now he acts as though that was never so…

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  3. BeaB (2,512 comments) says:

    The Ministry of Ed hasn’t been called the Dept for over 20 years!

    I love the reasoning of some BOTs thar somehow they are using their own money to pay support staff and the Ministry should recompense them. It is all taxpayer money and we are the ones who pay every time our very well funded schools stick out their greedy hands.

    Datacom made errors every fortnight. Memories are short when there is political hay to be made.

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  4. Paulus (3,567 comments) says:

    Pay Clerks need proper training as it is a complicated system and the Teacher’s pay codes and differences are very complex, not at all helped by different Union requirements and their constant changes.
    It is not helped by those employed by the schools, often being older former teachers who well know the pay configurations and ramifications required, but perhaps lack the ability to translate to the computer skills necessary under Novopay.
    It is reported that a large number of Pay Clerks have left schools unable to cope with the changes.
    Remember Datacom had enormous problems too, and I understand reported that they were not unhappy to lose the account.
    It did their reputation no good.
    Bear in mind that the Personal Computer was not even around 30 years ago, and has moved so fast that was inconceivable when the Novopay deal was initially signed off by the Labour Government 12 years ago.

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  5. Jack5 (9,299 comments) says:

    Add Novopay to the list of software dogs bought by the State and semi-state (such as the police stuff-up and a number in health services).

    We have some great veteran software experts in NZ such as Sir Gil Simpson who could give wise advice on selection of new systems. Usually, the smart way is to buy something proven and adapt that. No, the in-house folk or in Novopay’s case, probably silver-tongued marketers, bewitch bureaucrats and politicians. They dazzle them with promised (but not to be realised) gimmicks and “cost savings” from a bespoke system. They pick some thing the politician or bureaucrat has always wanted and promise “we can do that easily”. They promise cost savings, of course.

    One of the hardest things in everything is to cut losses and take a better course. It’s surprising how few advisers will tell you to take the apparently tough cut-losses course. We’ve got something built into our nature making us cling to disasters in which we have already sunk resources.

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  6. simonway (507 comments) says:

    The “error rate” may be “less than the previous system”, but what’s more important is the amount of money involved, and especially the amount of money underpaid. If Datacom underpaid several people $50 every fortnight, and Novopay underpays a few people a thousand dollars every fortnight, then Novopay’s errors are more significant even though there’s not as many of them.

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  7. Muzza M (312 comments) says:

    My brother is the finance manager at a school in Nelson. This Novopay debacle has affected both his professional and personal life.

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  8. kiwigunner (251 comments) says:

    The admin officer at our school has been similarly affected. This may be a joke to some – but this mess has been far more than a payroll stuff up. Datacom where far more resopnsive when errors occurred – this is a major part of the whole mess.

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  9. Morgy (173 comments) says:

    Muzza, how? (not being smart….curious)

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  10. wreck1080 (5,019 comments) says:

    Wow, if the errors are less than the previous system then problem fixed !!

    Just goes to show, stats do not show the truth.

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  11. Muzza M (312 comments) says:

    Morgy, unfortunately my brother is a perfectionist, he takes the shit from work home with him, it causes him great stress. I wish he wouldn’t but he does.

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  12. kiwigunner (251 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be too sure about the stats either – we have ten problems still outstanding in a school of 5 teachers.

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  13. chrisw76 (98 comments) says:

    Yeah, these stats seem interesting. I wonder if they look better than they are because people are giving up reporting them fortnightly and Talent2 are taking a decline in complaints as a sign that things are getting better?

    In my wife’s case her pay is right, but the deductions for her super are still not happening. We can’t tell if the employer contribution is happening at all if these deductions aren’t happening. As her pay is right, would this count as a success or not under the above stats? Meanwhile she keeps filing a note with the payroll admin and we hope it will get sorted eventually!

    The last stat I heard from her school is that a significant proportion of the staff there have similar glitches with their pay.

    Cheers, Chris W.

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