Novopay apologises for school payroll problems

Developers of the Novopay school payroll system have apologised over the ongoing pay problems that have pushed schools and their staff to breaking point.

Talent2 chief executive John Rawlinson today apologised for the ongoing issues after a meeting with Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone, the NZ Schools Trustees Association, unions, the Principals Federation, and other stakeholders.

"Talent2 apologises for the inconvenience that payment disruptions and inaccuracies have had on New Zealand teachers, principals, support staff, and their respective schools as they have transitioned from the incumbent legacy system to the new Novopay solution," he said."

Novopay has been beset with problems since it was brought in in August, with teachers and support staff underpaid, overpaid, and not paid at all.

Although thousands of errors have been corrected, there are now worries the crucial Christmas pay period will be affected.

Mr Rawlinson said there would be inevitable teething issues with Novopay given the system had managed over a billion dollars in salary payments, made over 550,000 separate pay transactions and managed 50,000 calls. Up to 100,000 education staff are being managed by over 150 dedicated Talent2 staff.

Despite assurances, Porirua relief teacher Ian Dodd said he still hadn't been paid

He is concerned his promised pay will not reach him on the next pay day - November 28.

"I am still apprehensive that this may not happen. I can't trust that the system will deliver what it says it will.

"If I don't get it before Christmas, with the school office manager away, and Novopay closed over the Christmas break I would then not get it until when schools reopen in late January next year," he said.

Last week the Ministry of Education agreed to reimburse schools for the extra costs they incurred sorting out problems caused by the system.

Ms Longstone assured those at today's meeting progress was being made and there was full commitment to getting the things right with the system.

"We are very sorry that schools and their staff have had a number of issues since Novopay came on line, but a number of those have been resolved and a great deal of resources from the Minister and Talent2 are dedicated to tackling outstanding issues."

It was also revealed today that the family trust of Associate Minister of Education John Banks had shares in Talent2 until May, when it moved to privatise the company and de-list from the Australian Stock Exchange.

Mr Banks advised the Cabinet Office of the sale of his family trust's shares.

He said in a statement he became a shareholder in Talent2 as a result of Talent2's acquisition of Sugar International Limited which his family trust held shares in.

He said he declared his family trust's shareholding in Talent2 when he first became a minister.

Mr Banks said he never received any government information or briefings regarding Talent2 or participated in discussions at either Cabinet or Cabinet committee level.

He said the issue of pay systems fell outside of his responsibilities as Associate Minister of Education.

The Novopay contract was signed in September 2008.

 

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