Error statistics under Novopay

Maria-Jane Brodie made this Official Information request to Ministry of Education

Waiting for an internal review by Ministry of Education of their handling of this request.

From: Maria-Jane Brodie

Dear Ministry of Education,

I am writing to request a breakdown of payroll error rates and statistics since the implementation of Novopay, broken down by pay period. Specifically:
-The number of underpayments and overpayments made each pay period, broken down into gross dollar value bands in increments of $1000 (e.g. overpayments $0-$999, overpayments $1000-$1999, underpayments $0-$999, etc). If it is possible to further break these down into occupational grouping that would be fantastic, however if this isn't possible, dollar value bands are sufficient.
-The number of staff employed by Ministry of Education during each of these pay periods.
-If available, a breakdown of numbers of underpayments and overpayments by reason: entering error at the schools' end, processing error by the Novopay payroll team, system error.
-Number of staff members who have had errors over multiple pays. E.g.: number of staff with a total of 0 pay periods with an error, number of staff with a total of 1 pay periods with an error, number of staff with a total of 2 pay periods with an error, etc.

I would prefer to receive this information in electronic format - an excel spreadsheet would be ideal.

Yours faithfully,

Maria-Jane Brodie

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From: Victoria Goldie
Ministry of Education


Attachment 732273 OIA Maria Jane Brodie Signed Acknowledgement Letter.pdf
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Hi Maria-Jane
 
Please find attached an acknowledgement to your Official Information Act
request.
 
 
A response to your request will follow shortly.
 
Kind Regards
 
Victoria Goldie
PA/Support Officer | Education Workforce
Ministry of Education
45 - 47 Pipitea Street, Wellington, New Zealand
Email [1][email address]| [2]http://www.minedu.govt.nz
 
 
 

References

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2. http://www.minedu.govt.nz/

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From: Victoria Goldie
Ministry of Education


Attachment Scan to Me from 10 0 4 147 2012 12 12 170612.pdf
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Hi Maria-Jane
 
Please see attached letter notifying you of an Extension of Time Limit –
Section 15A(1)(b), Official Information Act 1982.
 
We will respond to your request shortly.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Victoria Goldie
 
 

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From: Maria-Jane Brodie

Dear Victoria,

Thank you very much for keeping me updated, I appreciate it. I look forward to receiving this information on or before 31st January.

Yours sincerely,

Maria-Jane Brodie

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From: Maria-Jane Brodie

Dear Victoria Goldie,

I just wanted to double-check that everything was good to go and I would be receiving this information today, as previously advised.

Yours sincerely,

Maria-Jane Brodie

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From: Lucy Johnston
Ministry of Education


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Attachment Brodie.pdf
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Please find attached a letter with the decision on your request under the
Official Information Act.
 
Due to the high level of public interest in Novopay we are publishing a
comprehensive set of Novopay related information on the [1]Ministry
website on Friday 1 February 2013.
 
Regards
 
 
Lucy Johnston |Senior Media Advisor | Communications Group |Ministry of
Education | Te Tahuhu o te Matauranga
DDI:  04 463 8017 | 027 283 6122
 
 
 
 
 
 

References

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1. http://www.minedu.govt.nz/novopayproject

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From: Maria-Jane Brodie

Dear Ministry of Education,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Official Information Act reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Education's handling of my OIA request 'Error statistics under Novopay'.

This information was originally requested on November 27th. An extension was requested, and I was not contacted again until the last day of that extension - only to be told that the information cannot be provided.

First of all, if the information could not be provided, I'm sure I could have been advised of that within 20 days of my original request.

However, my stronger concern is that the reason for refusal was given as:
"the Novopay system does not collate payment errors in the way you have requested."

I have never come across any payroll system, ever, that would collate this information. My expectation was that this information would be being tracked and collated in some form or fashion.

If it is truly the case that you are unable to provide me with a list of overpayments and underpayments by pay period and dollar value, then I have serious concerns about the basic competence of those who are in charge of the payroll system (and note that this is a human issue, not in any way a system fault).

I would request an urgent reply as it is a significant concern to me that the Ministry of Education do not seem to be keeping any record of payroll errors.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://fyi.org.nz/request/error_statisti...

Yours faithfully,

Maria-Jane Brodie

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Luke left an annotation ()

I read the thread and the attachments. My view is as follows:

1. The department (Ministry of Education) has seemingly acted legally by extending the request in order to carry out consultations (s 15A(b). It is not clear what those consultations were and with whom they were undertaken. However, such consultations should only have taken place in order to make a decision. I can think of two potential reasons: asking a subject matter expert if the Novopay system can output the data as you had requested it; and deciding on the best strategic response to all the requests for information received about Novopay, including yours.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, they may have been so overwhelmed, that they could not give you an answer within 20 working days.

2. "the Novopay system does not collate payment errors in the way you have requested."

Their answer may belie the fact that the information (data) is held, but it is just not held in a manner that would meet the particular way in which you have worded your request.

That said, it is not clear whether this is true. The Ministry appears to be saying on one hand, that the data is not *collated* in the way in which you have represented it to be in your request (the practical reason). On the other hand, they are saying the data is not *held* (the statutory reason).

3. Clarification as to whether the data is held or not would be proper.

If the information is held, then the next question is whether the reporting function has the functionality to export/output the data in a way which breaks down the data down according to your particular needs.

4. Following on from point #3, I would try and identify the data analyst who is responsible for queryign and administering the database. You want to have a preliminary conversation with them so they can tell you what data is held and what types of output are appropriate.

a) in preparation for that conversation, you should be very clear on the data you want. Isolate the names of the data fields you are seeking, e.g. $ overpayment, $ underpayment, pay period, reason, occupational grouping, etc.

b) put those into an example in an Excel spreadsheet of what you are seeking. This will allow the analyst to see what your ideal outcome looks like.

b) ask to see the list of field names along with an example may be helpful to know what is and is not collated. You may have to ask for this under the OIA, but you may do so orally in your conversation.

You should also view the data that they have published to the Novopay section on their website (from 1 Feb 2013), as that would give you some idea of the type of data collected and stored in the database.

4. "I have never come across any payroll system, ever, that would collate this information."

This is self-contradictory. You are saying that you have never come across another system that collates the information you are seeking. Which begs the question why do you think the Novopay system would collate the information you have requested (!).

5. I am not aware of any statutory basis in the OIA on which you may request an internal review of your decision. It would be up to the Ministry's discretion as to whether it undertook a review or not.

I do not think a review is necessary, and such a review would expend more of the Ministry's time investigating their handling of your request, thus delaying the provision of information you seek. A far better approach is to clarify with the Ministry what data is held (as explained above) and submit a new request once you are clear on that matter.

However if you are seeking a review, then the appropriate step is to seek a review by making a complaint to the Ombudsman (s. 28(1) and (2)).

6. The Ministry could have been more helpful in explaining what data is collated. However, I suspect that they are trying to satisfy your request (and others) by publishing data to the dedicated Novopay section of their website (as per the hyperlink in their response).

Regards

Luke

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From: Enquiries National
Ministry of Education

Hi Maria-Jane

I apologise for the problems you've experienced. I've forwarded your email to the correct people in the Ministry and they will contact you directly.

Many thanks

Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education
45-47 Pipitea St, Wellington, New Zealand
Email [Ministry of Education request email]| http://www.minedu.govt.nz

Note that messages sent to several Ministry email addresses are responded to by this mailbox

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