There is no doubt that there has been disaffected teachers due to the move by the Ministry of Education to the new Novopay Payroll System last year. But a closer inspection of all the facts indicates that the payroll provider Talent2 is taking proactive steps to rectify the situation and may just be turning the corner.
In August 2012 the Ministry of Education implemented Talent2’s Novopay Payroll System into approximately 2,500 state and state run schools, processing the pay of over 100,000 teaching and support staff. While it is producing accurate results for the majority of payees (being paid the right amounts at the right time), there were a number of issues experienced during its initial launch – which led to a great deal of adverse publicity.
As a result, the Ministry of Education commissioned an independent inquiry conducted by Deloitte in March 2013. Talent2 and its delivery partners cooperated in the review, being totally transparent, making information available and participating in interviews.
While the issues with the system have been widely reported through the media, the Deloitte inquiry highlighted a number of points that have not received coverage.
Firstly, it was documented that throughout the 6 months, there had never been a missed pay day (Novopay Technical Review, March 2013).
The Deloitte Report also found that defects or bugs “tend to come about because it is impractical to fully test all possible business scenarios before go-live and because change can be difficult for users” (Novopay Technical Review, March 2013).
Recent figures from PwC for Pay Period 2 of this financial year also show encouraging results with the error rate at 0.44% which falls below the expected parameters of a stable system as reported by Deloitte in the Review as 0.5 – 1.0%.
Since the report, Talent2 is making good progress and taking its own proactive steps. They have increased the number of staff in the Service Centre and are improving processes as recommended and outlined in the Technical Review. A new program is being formulated to build confidence in the system, encouraging users to adopt the online system instead of submitting manual forms – which often leads to errors.
In keeping all stakeholders informed and up-to-date on the progress of resolving all issues, there is now a dedicated section on the website where information can be readily accessed. When issues are identified, they are flagged on the official Ministry of Education (Novopay) website as ‘Alerts’.
Statistics show that the remediation program is delivering positive results and good progress is being made. Steven Joyce (the Minister responsible for Novopay) announced that a number of bugs were resolved in the third scheduled software release that was undertaken over the weekend of 20-21 April.
In the release, it was noted that a total of 123 bugs were resolved, including nine category two (very serious), 88 category three (serious), 19 category four (moderate) and seven category five (cosmetic)
(Govt releases PwC report on Pay Period 2, 23 April 2013). Mr Joyce announced that “bug clearance is making steady progress. A total of 363 defects have now been successfully fixed since 20 February – including 47 category two bugs”.
The Deloitte Review concludes that it believes the Novopay core software platforms can provide a technically stable platform for the delivery of schools payroll.