Joyce sends mixed signals on Novopay

Steven Joyce

Steven Joyce sent mixed signals on Novopay today.

On the one hand, the cabinet trouble-shooter said he has authorised the Ministry of Education to send formal breach of contract notices to Talent2, the Australian company that created and runs the troubled payroll system.

On the other, Mr Joyce revealed his government has set aside $5 million to patch up Novopay - indicating there are no immediate plans to break with Talent2.

The $5 million will fund bug fixes, and Talent2 hiring 30 to 40 call centre and payroll processing staff to the 130 already allocated to the project.

Mr Joyce earlier said the government has opened talks with Datacom, which provided the previous teacher payroll system.

But in allocating extra funding to Talent2 today, Mr Joyce seems to be indicating the government will stick with Novopay, at least in the medium term.

Mr Joyce said he met with Datacom last night, with regards to a contingency plan and came away with the impression "It is clear that any alternative to Novopay would be challenging to roll out and could take anywhere between three to 12 months to be fully implemented.

Mr Joyce also released the terms of reference for a technical inquiry into Novopay.

Although the government putting another $5 million on the table, Mr Joyce said it was an open question who ultimately picked up the tab for Novopay fixes: Talent2, the Ministry of Education or the Crown.

Labour's Chris Hipkens said the government was throwing good money after bad. So far, around $30 million has been spent on Novopay.

Mr Joyce said although extra cash has been allocated for bug fixes and extra staff, glitches will not be fixed in time for the next pay period. 


"On the face of it the  terms of reference appear thorough and the scope appropriate to achieve a good picture of whether Novopay is technically capable and suitable to deliver stable and accurate payroll in schools for the next decade," Institute of IT Professionals NZ CEO Paul Matthews told NBR.

The terms of reference seek detailed independent information on the stability of the system both now and for the next decade, steps needed to achieve stability if it is found to be an issue, and investigating the validation and quality assurance of manually entered data, Mr Matthews says.

"The scope is also clear in that this includes the technical suitability of Novopay and its online interface, support tools, ongoing maintenance and validation. We’re happy to see the security and privacy architecture included in the scope especially in light of security and privacy issues in recent times.

"Given this is a technical review however, we hope that the actual review team will include accredited and experienced senior IT professionals, specifically with independent IT certification such as ITCP or equivalent, rather than non-IT people. This will ensure it’s a true technical review as per the scope rather than just a systems management review."

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I cannot believe the audacity of Joyce. The only reason he doesn't give two hoots is it affects teachers. Or in Joyce's words: militant smart asses. This is payback.


I don't believe it!! Another $5 Million for Talent 2. If any of us made such a stuff-up we would be down the road. If you are Talent 2, make a stuff up and they give you $5 million!


What a surprise. Joyce has two hands and neither knows what the other is doing. Joyce wears multiple hats and who knows which he has on when. Lets do what the government always does, just bumble on until the solution presents itself. Become real and terminate Talent 2 for breach of contract, and get a Kiwi to do the work. That's how the real world works.


Also I suspect that the payment for the system did not provide for progressive payments at defined landmarks - e.g., acceptance of offer, on completion, then three months on, then one year on. The reason for my thinking is that Minister Joyce seems to have no leverage over the suppliers.


Regardless of Joyce or another Nat opinion of teachers, and certainly I have no truck for them, it is an indictment on any organisation that cannot pay its employees the correct amount and on time. It shows a complete lack of good faith and a lack of good ethcis and good morals on the part of those governing and managing that organisation. There can be no excuse, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.
The Min of Ed are a disgrace as an organisation and can have no credibility or respect. They are bumbling, mumbling fools from top to bottom.


Just a thought: is this a ploy to upset teachers throughout NZ so they leave the teaching profession? Should our teachers leave due to the payroll debacle it potentially gives the NZ government the mandate to consolidate schools and to reduce the education spend ... supports a key strategy that the minister has been advocating for some time.


Had the previous government known anything about contracts and developing new systems, this fiasco would not have happened. It also does not paint the Education Ministry management in a very good light, either.
This whole disaster is just another example of the numerous 'hospital passes' that the incoming government acquired.
Teachers, and principals, would also help their case if they dropped their militant union stance, dumped the current union leadership and replaced both with a mature view of co-operation.There are a majority of very good teachers, but there are also a significant number of inept teachers, surviving on the coat tails of this majority.


Would you prefer that the teachers don't get paid for another year or so?


Joyce, just can't make the hard call. He'd rather apply BandAid to a gaping wound, spurting blood.


Joyce really is bumbling around on this. He is great at pontificating on things and making out he has control and knows what he is doing (very arrogant) but he makes little traction on so much. But as per usual NZers sucked in and do nothing and we'll get more of the same in the next few years.


All western nations are the same. filled with people trying to rape the debt slave.


One question seems to have not been asked: how did the MOE come to think a 5 year old recruitment agency was better able to provide a large and complicated IT solution than a large IT company based here in NZ that had been successfully running the existing solution for a decade and fully knew the complexities and pitfalls of the business requirements?


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