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Ministerial inquiry launched into Novopay

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 13:22 31/01/2013
STEVEN JOYCE
Steven Joyce

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The Government has ordered a ministerial inquiry and technical audit on the Novopay payroll saga.

A contingency plan, which may involve replacing Novopay, will also be investigated, but the government is sticking with the troubled payroll system for the time being.

Cabinet minister Steven Joyce said today solving software problems would be accelerated, and further resources and staff would be poured into fixing problems which have seen hundreds of teachers go unpaid and schools go into the red.

He said extra cost was likely to run to millions of dollars. The government would supply cash and resources in the interim, until contractual issues were worked out with provider Talent2.

The technical audit would be carried out by Deloittes to examine the "stability" of the payroll system, and Joyce said it would report back on whether problems were "critical".

Joyce said the education ministry would be more involved with schools, document their feedback and provide more training.

Rolling back on Novopay was "not a decision you would take lightly" and Joyce said he would prefer not to "jump horses".

He said it was one of the largest and most complicated payrolls in Australasia, and he stressed there was no quick fix.

It was "too challenging" to say when teachers would begin to be paid properly, but the remediation plan stretched "to weeks, even months".

Joyce said he would take a proposal for a ministerial inquiry to Cabinet and it would take three to four months. But he did not want an inquiry to get in the way of fixing the problems.

Joyce was handed responsibility for fixing Novopay after Education Minister Hekia Parata and former associate Craig Foss failed to get to grips with the debacle.

Novopay was rolled out in August and problems began in September.

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- The Dominion Post

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