Ministry needs to 'lift their game' over Novopay errors - Foss

By Kate Shuttleworth

Craig Foss. Photo / APN
Craig Foss. Photo / APN

Associate Minister of Education Craig Foss has told the Ministry of Education and Talent2 to lift their game and resolve outstanding errors with the teacher pay system Novopay.

Mr Foss today would not confirm if he'd viewed a full implementation plan for the Novopay system before it was launched earlier this year but had seen recommendations from the Novopay implementation board saying it was ready to go ahead after a three-year trial.

Mr Foss had spoken to Secretary of Education Lesley Longstone and the chairman of Talent2 Andrew Banks about the errors with the Novopay system.

"They are in no doubt about my expectations, and disappointment, and some of the issues that we've had to face, and how that's impacted on many New Zealanders in the education sector - I'm fully expecting them to lift their game and I have commitment that they will.''

The Government paid $30 million to Australian company Talent2 to develop Novopay _ the number of errors with the payroll system had exceeded 8000 since August.

Mr Foss said early last week the ministry had assured him 3227 errors, including minor mistakes with changes of address or bank account, would be resolved by the end of the week. Mr Foss confirmed that had not been delivered by the ministry and about 700 errors remained in the system.

"Progress has been made, but it's still not satisfactory.

"There are contractual obligations between the ministry and Talent2 and they are being implemented as we speak.''

He said key performance indicators in the contractual agreement between the ministry and Talent2 included the number of errors with Novopay, and the time taken by the service centre to respond to phone calls.

Mr Foss said there could be consequences for Talent2 for not meeting key performance indicators in the first two months of the contract with the ministry.

He said school staff who had missed any payments incurring fees because of the Novopay problems would be compensated.

The Ministry is yet to decide if there will be compensation for schools for the time spent administering mistakes with Novopay.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that if the problems were not fixed, Talent2 would probably face a financial penalty.

Yesterday education union NZEI Te Riu Roa called for an urgent inquiry into Novopay following recent revelations schools could access the confidential details of staff at other schools.

- APNZ

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