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Novopay – Mission Impossible

Media Release November 20 2012 – for immediate release
Attention: Education and Political Reporters

Novopay – Mission Impossible

After nearly four months, school principals report that Novopay has not improved the standard of its delivery and for many it has now become ‘mission impossible’,’ says Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.

‘We have just conducted our third survey’, said Drummond, ‘and the results show we still have 90% of principals telling us that they have unresolved issues from previous pay rounds and that in 70% of schools at least one staff member is not paid correctly in the latest pay round. 87% of principals have no confidence in the system.’

The Novopay system has cost tax payers $29 million and has been troubled right from the start. Staff expected a few teething problems and showed much tolerance and patience but with the continual unresolved and newly emerging issues they now question whether Novopay can ever be fixed.

‘We are trying to do the impossible in an environment that is intolerable with a system that is dysfunctional’, said Drummond. ‘It is quite unrealistic that all schools will meet the 21 November deadline to have their end of year data submitted. Feedback tells us that in many cases the system simply won’t allow schools to submit the information. Many report that even if they can submit information, half of it is lost in transmission, and asking Novopay staff for help is likely to yield further incorrect information. It is simply unprofessional and unacceptable’, he says.

‘The state of the payroll system has now reached crisis level’, says Drummond, ‘and without drastic immediate intervention, problems will only compound’, he said. ‘It’s not as if we are just dealing with historic issues. Every pay round new random issues occur and every survey we conduct we discover more breaches of privacy. There are serious systemic problems with Novopay that have to be acknowledged and urgently addressed’, he said.

‘It is also time to discuss financial compensation that goes wider than the Ministry paying for auditing costs because of Novopay incompetencies’, said Drummond. ‘Affected staff are incurring penalty costs through things like automatic payments not going through, not to mention the extraordinary hours school staff are working as they battle what has now become Mission Impossible’, he said.


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