Novopay – what went wrong

Danyl McL has a useful summary of what went wrong with . His summary is:

  • Novopay is designed so that schools do everything online (presumably through a browser or thin client). When the platform was launched there were ‘significant issues’ with the online user interface (UI); for example, it wasn’t possible to submit time-sheets for part-time teachers.
  • The work-around for problems submitting payments via the UI was for the schools to fill in a form and submit it to Talent2′s Novapay service desk via e-mail, and they’d manually enter the payment data into the system.
  • But the service desk wasn’t staffed or trained for this – they were supposed to be supporting anonline platform in which the schools did almost everything themselves. So this created a huge backlog of manual payments for them to enter, many of which missed the payrolls.
  • The service center also generated a vast number of errors in payments because it doesn’t have ‘robust quality assurance’ (I take this to mean there’s no verification when service center staff manually submit data: so if someone is being paid $20/hour and they work for ten hours, the manual system won’t prevent a service center staffer from accidentally paying them $2.00)

The failure of the user interface seems key. If that was working properly then schools would be entering all the data directly and more importantly being able to see a draft payroll batch and confirm it is correct.

The moment you can’t do that, and you have manual entries, help desks and the like and it turns into a logistical nightmare considering there are 100,000 pays per fortnight.

The inquiry will no doubt look into why the UI was not working before launch. Stuff reports:

Sir Maarten Wevers, the former boss of the Department of the Prime Minister is to head a Ministerial Inquiry into the botched handling of Novopay education payroll system.

Steven Joyce, who now has ministerial responsibility for Novopay announced that Sir Martin would head the $500,000 inquiry along with Murray Jack, chairman of Deloitte in New Zealand.

Can’t do much better than those two. I doubt they will sugar-coat anything.

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