Novopay problems shrink but more expected

Only 1% of education staff across the country have Novopay problems and reported pay problems appear to have halved, economic development minister Steven Joyce says.

Mr Joyce, who was brought in to fix the embattled education pay roll system, says staff are working hard to prepare for pay period one – the first of the new financial year.

But the new financial year is expcted to throw up even more challenges for Novopay.

“This will contain a number of significant changes, including increased KiwiSaver contributions and changes to student loan deductions," he says, and it could prove challenging for the system.

Meanwhile, Mr Joyce is waiting on a technical review of the Talent2 system before deciding whether or not to ditch it in favour of former provider Datacom, which has already provided a proposal to take it over.

The report, by Deloitte New Zealand chairman Murray Jack, is due in the next fortnight.

Mr Joyce already has the draft but once the final report is out it will be checked and sent to cabinet.

He has also just released a PwC report into last week’s pay period 24, which saw 844 staff from 406 schools not paid, overpaid or underpaid.

It included 286 people who were notified as not paid, 185 who were overpaid, while 373 were underpaid.

A fortnight earlier, almost double the number of staff from 447 schools complained of pay problems.

In last week’s cycle, a total of 84,822 people were paid $173.58 million – $13 million more than the previous payday.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

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16 Comments & Questions

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Why don't they terminate the contract?

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Has anyone from Talent2 ever fronted up? Do they even exist?

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I think we should be terminating the government people who were responsible for swallowing the bait dangled by those smooth-talking Aussie snake-oil merchants. Or if not terminating them, at least moving them to jobs better suited to their abilities - such as cleaning the toilets or taking out the garbage.

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The elections of 2008 terminated the politicians that signed NZ Inc for this... leaving National yet another hospital pass fiasco to manage.

But, at least some who were responsible were sent packing to the place where failed socialists slither off to in NY... and the remainder are still in the shadows bleating and whinging National couldn't handle the hospital pass they received from the very whingers themselves... but that's politics.

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Pete, there are many people who earn their living cleaning toilets and 'taking out the garbage' - often at night while most others are at home seeing their families or watching TV. They perform these unseen activities for a living. We rely on them and their work has purpose and value no more or less than anyone else.
Are you demeaning their work?
Maybe instead you are referring to the previous Labour administration which signed the country up to this product.
Mr Hipkins might want to remember that also...

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Teachers who have been effected by Novapay and have incurred bank fees should register for the lawsuit against banks campaign to pit these corporations against each other in front of a court system.

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I sincerely hope you are not a teacher of our youth, Jane.

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Proposed Name Changes:

Talent2 becomes Talent2Little
Novopay becomes known as Nevapay
Smoke and Mirrors becomes 'Cloud' and mirrors
Bleeding Edge Technology, stays as is

Everyone agrees Education is important
Education is supposed to help people learn new skills, gain understanding and have a professional response to life.

I suspect that Talent2little are not entirely to blame. If the Education Department officials responsible for designing and buying into Nevapay went through the NZ Education System is it any wonder Nevapay was a flop.

It is time to bring back discipline in schools and the concept of right and wrong, pass and fail, and allow apprenticeships back into the workplace. Students should be graded through exams and pass marks, and get the basics of reading writing arithmetic nailed.

In my experience, most programming bugs or incorrect functionality, track back to poor reading, writing, comprehension and listening skills. In my experience most failed software projects include the above plus poor planning skills.

The education system needs an overhaul.

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Samuel, you are very close. Sure Nova pay messed up. But the buck does not stop there. A system implementation of this size involves project management processes, project governance and hopefully an independent project director. Requirements are specified by users (the ministry on behalf of schools), the specification is signed off and testing outcomes signed off before a system is allowed to go live.

There has clearly been a failure of project governance by the ministry. Not the first in government. The specification was inadequate and the testing incomplete or inadequate. Someone in the ministry approved go-live without adequate assurance of the out come. This is a project governance failure. Whether they were negligent or incompetent (Shakespeare's "fool or a knave") does not matter. Heads must roll. Someone who had a nice office and carpark in Wellington should now be flipping burgers. Who is it?

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I agree Analyst, but good project managers understand the specifics of the project at a technical level. It is all too easy to accept deadlines and promises, and when the deadline comes and goes and it is not working someone should be accountable. Most people understand that.

But with failed projects the indicators are there early on in the game - e.g., wrong programmers, wrong premises, too many assumptions, failure to test each component. Then there is the glib hands-off approach, accepting assurances without specifics and wandering specs or expectations. Good project managers don't go bad, they get better. Bad project managers simply never had the training to be good. Good project management is not learnt at school or university. However, the ability to read, write, listen and comprehend, together with a love of specifics and cause and effect chains, are fundamental to good project management in software.
Our education system is poor at these things, and in teaching accountability.

Heads should roll, certainly, but the real irony or slur is that those that managed this education project are themselves the victim of poor education. We are way behind in this country because of our pinko no one fails attitudes being bred into today's children.
Until this changes expect more of this types of outcome.

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Dear Mr Joyce,

Please read my previous post.

Who is going to resign? Is it

1. Kristine Kilkelly, head of Corporate and Infrastructure?
2. the CIO? (Chief Information Officer for the uninitiated).
3. some consultant acting as independent Project Director (if no project director then revert to 1 and 2)
4. The Ministry project manager? Presumably a consultant. If no separate Ministry project manager (i.e. a PM separate from Talent2), revert to 1 , 2 and 3.)

I know, it will be the intern who carried the testing results up the hall....

Fix it, great, but also let the responsible people take the responsibility. That is what the big bucks in the big roles are for. You get paid moon beams for delivering and fired for failing. Its a two way street, who's going/gone?

A

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I am suprised that only 1% of education staff across the country have Novopay problems last pay run.
The school my wife works at 40% of the junior primary staff had issues.
Hope PwC checked the data presumably Novapay provided.

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If you believe its only 1% failures then you believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Clause. IMHO there has been a major coverup going on and while I'm to the right of Ghengis Khan I believe Joyce et al have shown weakness in dealing with the issue. No accountability, no responsibility, just weasel words and platitudes.

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In a professional software development company that has standards 1% failures means it is still in programmer component testing mode. It is not even up to Beta testing stage, let alone pre-release client testing. Probably internal alpha testing at best.

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And now bringing in debt collectors for overpayments. Real classy Ministry of Education, real classy.

Can teachers set the debt collectors on you guys for underpayments?

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Anyone in business would have this sort of problem totally resolved before lunch!

We can only assume that the police, justice, IRD departments, to name a few, get paid correctly, so the government already have payroll software that works. Teachers may think they are special - they are, but not in the way that they think... Surely other payroll packages will work just fine for their very simple requirements.

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