Otago school principal representatives remain distrustful
about the troubled Novopay system, despite a Government support
package and a review which says the system can be fixed.
The Minister Responsible for Novopay, Steven Joyce yesterday
said the Deloitte technical review concluded Novopay could be
fixed with greater effort from Novopay provider Talent2 and
the Ministry of Education.
The review found the core software platforms were not stable
because of a backlog of systems issues related to the high
degree of customisation of the system, and inadequate quality
assurance processes, which had allowed incorrect data to be
entered. The findings of the review were being used to adjust
the Novopay remediation plan, which was already under way. At
the same time, the Government was boosting its efforts on a
back-up plan with the previous payroll supplier Datacom,
although a switch to Datacom would involve significant work
to update the Datacom database from before August.
A decision on whether to persist with Novopay is due in eight
The $6 million support package is $105 per school plus $105
for each full-time equivalent teacher. This comes on top of
$5 million set aside in February, part of which has funded
the Backlog Clearing Unit and its 100 staff. The Government
has also spent $700,000 on the technical review and a
Otago Primary Principals' Association president Whetu Cormick
welcomed the support package, but said schools were unlikely
to be celebrating.
''I personally have spent hours on Novopay errors, whereas my
energies should have been focused on my students and their
learning needs,'' Mr Cormick said.
''No amount of extra money or support from someone in the
ministry is going to make up for this.''
He said the findings of the review that a ''stable system can
be achieved'' was flawed.
''Increasing errors have become apparent, with the ministry
advising schools in the last 24 hours that permanent and
fixed-term teachers and support staff are being terminated on
''This is just another signal that Novopay cannot deliver a
quality payroll system. The sooner the minister dumps Talent2
and Novopay, the better.''
Otago Secondary Principals' Association president Melissa
Bell said it was obvious there was no quick fix or magic
''Mr Joyce acknowledges the high degree of customisation
required by Novopay - this can hardly be surprising and
really endorses the importance of ensuring that Novopay was
robust before being launched.
''We acknowledge and welcome the school support package to
address some of the administration issues, but remain
concerned about the debt schools are carrying which is a
significant, and in some cases, an unmanageable burden.''
The Post Primary Teachers Association was pleased with the
payout, but president Angela Roberts said legal action
seeking compensation for ''hurt and humiliation'' would