Joyce creates special unit to tackle Novopay backlog

100 staff from Ministry of Education and Talent2 will today begin working on a backlog of issues relating to the troubled teachers' payroll system

A special unit is being established to tackle the backlog of errors created by the teachers’ payroll system Novopay. Minister responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce says the Backlog Clearance Unit (BCU) will commence operations today and schools will be briefed on what it means for them in the next week.

The unit will be paid for from the $5 million remediation fund that Cabinet agreed last month to provide towards solutions on Novopay. The BCU will speed up the clearance of issues that have built up during the first six months of operation of the system, Joyce says.

The unit will be made up of 100 staff from the Ministry of Education and Talent2. The backlog issues it will tackle include salary assessments, calculation and recovery of overpayments, and the correction of errors from previous pay periods, Joyce says. “Up until now we have had around 40 people working on the backlog, and they haven't been able to make enough progress. The new BCU of 100 will more than double the number of people doing the work and ensure they are expressly dedicated to clearing the backlog. The goal is to have the entire backlog reduced to business as usual level within three months,” Joyce says.

“The unit will remain in place for six months to ensure we remain on top of the workload and give schools confidence that their payroll will be accurate and their staff will be paid correctly.”

Meanwhile, Joyce appears to be contemplating ditching the current payroll system supplier Talent2. “Final decisions are yet to be made on the shape of the future delivery of the school pay service but this backlog needs to be cleared regardless of the path we take.”

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