Software may lead to job cuts

By Ben Guild

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Bay of Plenty Polytechnic is to roll out a new administration system that could result in job losses.

The proposed change comes as the polytech grapples with a drop in income and increasing costs.

The tertiary institution implemented a new software system at the end of May as part of a push to address the need for "more efficient and robust management systems".

The system, Tribal Group's ebs4, is already used by six other polytechnics. It records data associated with student enrolments, student finances, student assessment, timetabling, resourcing and the award of qualifications.

Chief executive Dr Alan Hampton said the new system would provide a better service for students.

"After a robust analysis of the business case, we decided to adopt ebs4 and will join several other tertiary institutes in using this same system," he said.

The proposal is out for consultation with affected staff and the Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association.

Dr Hampton said redundancies could not be ruled out but it was impossible to say how many.

"We acknowledge that this is a difficult time for all our staff - we will support them in every way possible through the consultation and transition process."

The polytechnic was also considering centralising its student administration services.

Consultation will close tomorrow and it is anticipated the new centralised administration unit will be introduced by mid-to-late October.

Bay of Plenty Polytechnic acting marketing manager and senior communications adviser Meg Jones declined to reveal what the consultation documents included until the restructuring decision was announced to staff on September 23.

She also declined to provide information on how many employees currently work in administration.

Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association chief executive Peter Joseph had not responded to requests for comment before deadline.

The institution's annual report highlighted that 2012 was "a difficult year in which various sources of income decreased and a number of costs increased".

Polytechnic council chairman Ian Turner said about $1.2 million of the retained surplus of $1.83 million was attributable to Government funding which will not be available in future years.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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