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NZPF: Another bureaucratic bungle

NZPF: Another bureaucratic bungle

New Zealand Principals’ Federation, 13 February 2008

For immediate release

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation has criticised the Ministry of Education, following major payroll errors which have created a bureaucratic nightmare across the country.

Datacom is contracted by the Ministry of Education to provide payroll services to more than 80,000 New Zealand teachers. The latest payroll round – the first of the school term – is filled with errors, says NZPF President Paddy Ford.

“A number of schools have not received any pay, and many support staff have been paid the incorrect amounts. Staff who are on leave have incorrectly received full pay, changes that were sent to Datacom in November have not been actioned, and staff are being forced to fill forms out twice with exactly the same information.”

Ford has today received numerous complaints from schools up and down the country, and he says this latest debacle is not surprising given the numerous errors seen in 2007.

“We had major problems last year with multiple changes to forms, which we weren’t told of. Then the Ministry added another layer of bureaucracy by refusing to let principals’ speak directly to the person responsible for their schools’ payroll. Today’s mistakes show just how unworkable the system has become.”

Ford says it is ridiculous that the draft Kiwi Leadership for Principals document has been released on the day that principals are dealing with yet another bureaucratic bungle. “Education Minister Chris Carter is today talking about supporting the professional learning of Principals - but we’re spending our time dealing with petty bureaucracy and a system which is not delivering an effective service to schools.”

Ford says that a recent OECD survey found that New Zealand's principals spend almost twice as much time on administration as their OECD counterparts. “How are we supposed to focus on leadership when the Ministry has us spending hours doing paperwork and trying to fix their mistakes? It is high time the government acknowledged the work of our administration support staff, by giving schools an appropriate allocation through their operations funding. Then Principals can actually get on with the professional leadership of schools.”

Ford says the schools deserve better. “It’s a nightmare. We are dealing with unnecessary bureaucracy and huge numbers of errors. Payroll systems have changed for the worse and we need to have immediate action from the ministry, directing their payroll service providers to shape up or ship out.”


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