Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, February 19th, 2015 - 102 comments
Categories: bill english, education, Hekia parata, national, national/act government, same old national, schools - Tags: craig foss, novopay
Yesterday we were presented with more evidence of how incompetent National is when it comes to managing contracts. The payroll botch-up, Novopay, that left thousands of teachers out of pocket has cost taxpayers an additional $45 million to fix. From Stuff:
Ministry of Education secretary Peter Hughes was quizzed by MPs on the Education and Science committee today over Novopay, charter schools and special needs assistance.
Hughes conceded Novopay had “cost us dearly”.
“From the top of my mind, we have spent about $45 million additional on the system.”
While Hughes said Novopay was now doing its job, he couldn’t say with certainty that staff leave would be calculated accurately in the system.
A ministerial inquiry had been carried out when the extent of the Novopay issues had been revealed and the ministry accepted “a lot of the fault for that,” Hughes said.
“The system didn’t perform as it should have.”
The take away points are that the fiasco has cost us $45 million and the Ministry of Education has accepted “a lot of fault”.
The amount spent is huge. The Nats will have to sell between 90 and 180 state houses to cover the financial loss.
But is MinED accepting fault appropriate? The original report recommended that the Government go live with the project even though it noted 147 identified bugs, ten of them significant and “seven of the eight criteria associated with Confidence Point Two have been met, or are close to being met”. So at least one criterion had not been met and obviously others were only close to being met. You wonder why the Ministers did not say “reduce the bugs and do not come back until all of the criteria have been met”.
If I was one of the Ministers I would have sent the paper back and told the Ministry to get the bugs sorted and all the criteria met before going live.
The recommendation in the report jarrs with the content and it makes you wonder if there was pressure to put the recommendation to go live into the report.
And to recap some of the problems with the system Wikipedia has this interesting synopsis:
Many of the errors were described as ‘bizarre’. One teacher was paid for 39 days, instead of 39 hours getting thousands of dollars more than he should have. Another teacher was overpaid by $39,000. She returned the money immediately, but two months later, had not been paid since. A relief teacher was paid for working at two different schools on the same day – one in Upper Hutt and the other in Auckland. Ashburton College principal, Grant McMillan, said the ‘most ludicrous’ problem was when “Novopay took $40,000 directly out of the school bank account to pay a number of teachers who had never worked at the college”. Another difficulty was the amount of time it was taking callers to get through to Talent2’s helpline. When Gladstone School principal Margaret Hyslop called for assistance, she found she was 1,117th in the complaints queue.
A clearer example of utter incompetence I cannot imagine. But it is illustrative of this Government’s modus operandii that the Ministry should be blamed for the fiasco when the Ministers involved, English, Parata and Foss should be the ones to share the blame.