Blistering Novopay report released

Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce today released the report of the Ministerial Inquiry into the schools’ payroll service, Novopay.
The Ministerial Inquiry was undertaken by former Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Sir Maarten Wevers and Chairman of Deloitte New Zealand Murray Jack.

The 113-page report, which contains 15 recommendations, was presented to the Government last Friday.

“The Ministerial Inquiry team has produced a comprehensive report outlining the history of, and issues with, the school payroll system. It concludes that there were many factors over many years that contributed to the problems with Novopay,” Mr Joyce says.

The Ministerial Inquiry’s key findings include:
· The problems with Novopay have affected public trust and confidence in the Ministry of Education, and also the wider public sector

· Weaknesses in project governance and project leadership allowed Novopay to go live with a number of significant risks which the Ministry of Education and its vendors, including Talent2, were over-confident of managing

· These risks resulted in service issues and the Ministry and Talent2 were unprepared and overwhelmed by their nature and scale

· The School payroll is overly complex due to an accumulation of historical changes

· There was extensive customisation of the Novopay software

· There was a failure to involve the users of the Novopay system in the schools and appreciate their requirements

· There was no overall accountability for Independent Quality Assurance

· The project has cost $23.9 million more than estimated for a total cost to date of $56.8 million

· Ministers were not well served by the information they were given on the project. Reporting to Ministers was inconsistent, unduly optimistic and sometimes misrepresented the situation.

“This report makes for sober reading and, while it confirms the view that there is a lot of blame to go around for the problems with Novopay, it provides a greater understanding of the level of fault between the organisations involved,” Mr Joyce says.

“There are substantial lessons to be learned by the Ministry of Education in a number of areas which the Acting Secretary of Education is taking steps to address.

“There are also lessons to be learned by the public service and the wider State Sector on the design, delivery and oversight of major ICT projects.

“As the report notes, these problems are not unique with issues identified in the Ministerial Inquiry into the police computer system INCIS 13 years ago also evident here.

“The Government will be carefully considering the findings of the Ministerial Inquiry into Novopay. It intends to act on all the recommendations. It is critical these problems are not repeated again.

“As the report also notes, significant efforts are now being made to stabilise the payroll service and correct errors. While good progress is being made, our focus must be on ensuring the long-term stability of the school pay roll system and to work closely with the school sector to ensure that happens.”

The Ministerial Inquiry is available at

Documents and information used by the Ministerial Inquiry is available at