Minister releases Novopay Technical ReviewEducation
Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce today released the Technical Review into the school payroll system.
Mr Joyce says the aim of the Technical Review led by Murray Jack of Deloitte was to assess the stability of the Novopay system, look closely at the data contained in it, and make recommendations.
“I have repeatedly said that issues with Novopay are complex and there is no quick fix. The findings of the Technical Review confirm that,” Mr Joyce says.
The Review’s key conclusions are that:
- Novopay core software platforms are not currently stable for delivery of the school payroll. This is driven by the backlog of systems issues largely relating to the high degree of customisation
- Novopay can be made stable to deliver the school payroll for the next eight to 10 years provided there is greater effort by and capability of both the Ministry of Education and Talent2
- Inadequate quality assurance processes have not adequately prevented incorrect data from being entered, and contributed to issues experienced by schools and their staff
“The review highlights that Novopay has a greater degree of customisation than would normally be expected of a payroll software system. This level of customisation is driven by both the needs of the education sector in New Zealand, and the nature of the underlying payroll engine,” Mr Joyce says.
“It is this level of customisation that has created many of the challenges and made them harder to resolve.
“That said, the report says a stable Novopay system can be achieved, provided significant additional resources and capability are made available by Talent2 and by the Ministry.
“The Novopay Remediation Plan, already underway, has been assessed by the Technical Review team, which found it covered some of their reccomendations. It will now be amended and further adjusted to ensure it meets the all the recommendations outlined in the Technical Review.”
The report lays out a timeline for monthly progress in the Remediation Plan and outlines the following progress to be achieved by the end of June this year:
- Business issues per pay run less than 1 per cent
- Defects: zero fatal defects; fewer than 10 very serious defects
- Communications and training delivered
- Report back on data quality management analysis
The Remediation Plan is targeted at meeting these milestones.
Mr Joyce says while the Government has been working on a back-up plan with the previous payroll supplier Datacom this proposal needs further development to be a viable alternative.
“Datacom has done some very good work on their alternative proposal and I thank them for that, but switching to Datacom at this time would involve further substantial risks that would have to be borne by the Ministry and schools,” Mr Joyce says.
“The reality is that we are not yet able to responsibly make that change, if that was our preference. More work needs to be done on the proposal to mitigate those risks.
“It’s important to note that any change would involve considerable additional re-work for schools in the meantime if we reverted to the old system and then updated the pre-August Datacom database.
“On this basis my intention is to proceed with Talent2 on the Novopay remediation plan over the next six weeks to two months, while at the same time continuing to work up the alternative proposal with Datacom.”
Mr Joyce says the findings of the Technical Review will be fed into the Ministerial Inquiry, which will cover all aspects of the teacher payroll system from outset to present day. That report is due by the end of May.