20 Aug 2013
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Happy (?) 1st birthday Novopay

By Rebecca Wood

This time last year school payroll system Novopay went live. Yet, while significant progress has been made, challenges still remain in completing the remediation and stabilisation of the system.

Novopay went live on 20 August 2012 allowing school administrators to log on to the system online and the first pay run under the system was 5 September 2012.

Steven Joyce, Minister responsible for Novopay, says for the first six months in particular, multiple issues occurred with Novopay. These had a significant impact on teachers, administrators, school staff, and boards of trustees.

“As the Ministerial Inquiry report noted, all state and state-integrated schools in the country have been affected in some way and there are substantial lessons to be learned by not only the Ministry of Education but also the wider public sector on implementing major information technology projects.

Alongside a Ministerial Inquiry and Remediation Plan, the government put in an additional $6 million to support schools; a technical review to assess the stability of the Novopay system; and established a dedicated business unit in the Education Ministry to co-ordinate the Remediation Plan and backlog clearance.

Joyce says while improvements have been made there are still a number of significant challenges that remain – including the introduction of a software system upgrade at the beginning of next month to correct remaining tax issues, and the upcoming end of year-start of year process.

“The system upgrade to correct outstanding tax issues is the first software upgrade since Novopay went live, and it is being closely monitored by the office of the government chief information officer.”

Longer term the big challenge for the Ministry and the school sector will be to work closely together to put in place a less complex service delivery model for school pay as recommended by the Ministerial Inquiry, says Joyce.

“Our focus must be on ensuring the $4.4 billion a year school pay roll system which pays around 90,000 people a fortnight is sustainable and that the problems seen with both Novopay and with payroll implementation in 1996 are not repeated for a third time in the future.

“I acknowledge it has been a challenging and distracting year for the education sector due to the problems with Novopay and I thank all those who have been affected for their on-going patience.”

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