Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Novopay: Bulk Funding vs Central Planning.



I’m sure someone has made the below link before? (Have they?) Following is merely this morning’s ditty sent to Christchurch Press, letters to the editor: for my American readers (just about as many as Kiwis lately), Novopay is the centralised software program used by the State to pay wages for all the country’s teachers, and is a complete disaster at doing so:

To answer R Lea Clough (13/6), we had to move to the centralised disaster of Novopay because the unions forced the end of bulk funding of schools. Under bulk funding, each school paid their own wages, normally via simple, off the shelf payroll systems, which worked wonderfully because the wage rolls were so small, admin knew the teachers, and there was the flexibility to fix any error on the spot in the staff room office. A centralised, stranger to stranger system, like big government, doesn't work: its central planned chaos every time. You can't beat local, small, de-centralised administration. But I've not seen one MSM journo report on this point, because bulk-funding, as with an individual's liberty, is now regarded as seditious thinking. To the 95% of teachers who belong to the PPTA, you voted yourselves no pay: the fact you have so much influence over the minds of New Zealand’s young, is frightening.

15 comments:

  1. This post should clearly be categorized under works of fiction. The previous education payroll system was supplied by Datacom.

    http://www.datacompeople.co.nz/home/

    Bulk funding ended around 2000.

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    Replies
    1. And the man who wants his life centrally planned is back.

      Datacom was replaced because their system was failing. The elephant in the room here is a PAYE/tax system so convoluted, computer systems that can fly you to the moon, can't account for it. That is, the failure of central planning and the taxing state. You can't get that into a 150 word letter to the editor, however.

      Under bulk funding, local school admin paid ancillary staff, and were intimately involved in the wage function because schools had responsibility for paying their bills. And it worked.

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    2. You respond to my classification of fiction with more fiction?

      "And the man who wants his life centrally planned is back."

      Yes, we know that in your head democracy is the equivalent of central planning, in fact if I understand correctly democracy is basically a dictatorship. Is that correct?

      "Datacom was replaced because their system was failing."

      Do you have any evidence for this? Because something we didn't see until Novopay was introduced was massive complaints about the system failing.

      Counter to your claim however,

      'Prior to adopting Novopay, the payroll for 90,000 teachers and school staff nationwide had been managed for the Ministry of Education by Datacom Group. However, in February 2005, the Ministry of Education decided a new payroll system for teachers was required. Ministry documents reveal that the existing payroll service had been stable during the previous eight years, but was considered 'dated'; there was no on-line access and the system provided insufficient data to "support the more complex information and research needs of the Ministry"'

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novopay

      "The elephant in the room here is a PAYE/tax system so convoluted, computer systems that can fly you to the moon, can't account for it."

      Actually Novopay appears to be able to pay the IRD quite successfully, though its struggling with actually paying the ACC levies. But the substance of the complaints is actually that its not paying the staff accurately. Obviously over and then under paying staff creates some issues with the incremental PAYE levy system, but actually these issues occur with the accounting method of paying your PAYE over the year coupled with being over and under paid during successive periods of the year. That is entirely down to the accounting method, and doesn't require a computer to cock it up at all.

      'In January 2013, the Sunday Star-Times revealed that mistakes by Novopay have begun to involve other government departments and "spawned a number of serious side-effects" that have misdirected ACC levies, child support payments, superannuation funds, KiwiSaver and student loan payments which are not getting through to the right account – despite being debited from teachers' payslips.'

      'Novopay has also been forced to make bulk payments to schools after teachers had not been paid for weeks on end. This pushed some teachers into higher tax brackets leaving them with less pay than they were entitled to. These teachers will not be able to get back their lost pay until they file tax returns at the end of the financial year – but with their payslips now full of errors, this may be very difficult'

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novopay

      The fact that the right amounts were debited, but not credited indicates this is not an issue with the complexity of the levy calculations.

      "Under bulk funding, local school admin paid ancillary staff, and were intimately involved in the wage function because schools had responsibility for paying their bills."

      In fact they still do. You will notice it is the schools admin staff who are collating errors and sending them to Talent2 for payment corrections.

      'In addition to so many technical errors, the audit revealed that Talent2 assumed that 90% of school administrators would fill in data online. But only 70% were doing so because "forms for part-time teachers and support staff do not work online" and have to be sent in by email.'

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novopay

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    3. Centralised living said:

      "Datacom was replaced because their system was failing."

      Do you have any evidence for this? Because something we didn't see until Novopay was introduced was massive complaints about the system failing.


      Note, re your wiki references, that is a compromised source, always. Datacom was failing under the complexity of the thieving tax system that has been created, per my previous comment:

      From 2008:

      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/1111/payroll-problem-plagues-schools

      Quote:

      Principals around the country are criticising the Ministry of Education after major payroll errors, which have created a bureaucratic nightmare for many schools.

      Datacom is contracted by the Ministry of Education to provide payroll services to more than 80,000 New Zealand teachers. The latest payroll round - the first of the school term - was filled with errors, New Zealand Principals Federation president and Balclutha Primary School principal Paddy Ford said.

      ‘‘A number of schools have not received any pay, and many support staff have been paid the incorrect amounts.

      Staff who are on leave have incorrectly received full pay, changes that were sent to Datacom in November have not been actioned, and staff are being forced to fill forms out twice with exactly the same information.'' ...


      Datacom was failing for the same reasons Novopay has failed.

      During the period of bulk funding, I completed the financial statements for four or five - can't remember - schools, for the auditors. I know this era.


      Question for you Nic:

      You are given a complex system, with individual requirements different for each participant in it.

      How will a centralised system, incommunicado with the participants, deal with this, better than a local system with intimate knowledge of the participants?

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    4. Also from the ODT article,

      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/1111/payroll-problem-plagues-schools

      Quote:

      ‘‘The Education Service Payroll pays on average 85,000 employees per fortnight. The start of year is a critical period for payroll. At the start of this year, 64,733 changes were made for these employees, generating a 100% increase in workload for pay clerks.''

      He apologised to all the affected schools and staff. ‘‘We are working with Datacom to resolve all the issues as quickly as possible,'' he said.


      In other-words Datacom didn't have enough pay clerks to process the changes in time for the start of the year, in 2008. That's a mistake, but is clearly of a different character to the payroll system not functioning correctly. We might also ask if they had the same issues in 2009, 2010 and 2011, was this an isolated incident, or a systematic issue as you are implying. It also doesn't fit the characterisation,

      The elephant in the room here is a PAYE/tax system so convoluted, computer systems that can fly you to the moon, can't account for it.

      You keep bringing up the PAYE regime, but that's clearly not at issue in the ODT example, or in the Novopay issues. In both cases the pay was wrong, not the PAYE. If you did the accounts using the same pay regime your accounts would come up with the same PAYE.

      The question you pose makes little sense to this discussion,

      How will a centralised system, incommunicado with the participants, deal with this, better than a local system with intimate knowledge of the participants?

      You are asking how you can centrally plan the economy from your sealed bunker? I suggest you can't you are clearly going to have to have communication for any distributed system to work. Fortunately in both the Datacom and Novopay systems the schools are allowed to communicate with the company.

      Do you have a point to make?

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    5. 'In other words', Datacom, like Novopay, as centralised systems removed from the participants, couldn't work. As history has clearly shown.

      You clearly have no idea how complex the PAYE system is, and that's simple compared to tax for businesspeople.

      There is nobody so blind as a slave, Nic. My post, and comments, stand, in utter refutation of your statements and beliefs. I have personal experience of the issues, here, my knowledge is first hand. It's half past mid-night, at this hour my mind can't stand yelling down the rabbit hole: good night.

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    6. The correct quote is 'There's none so blind as they that won't see.'

      You clearly have no idea how complex the PAYE system is, and that's simple compared to tax for businesspeople.

      Oddly the payroll systems of both Datacom and Novopay have managed to cope with this (apparently hideous) complexity however, or at least you have provided no (not a jot) of evidence that they are having trouble with PAYE regime. What the Novopay system is having a problem with is paying people the correct amounts.

      You appear to have some notion that Novopay is not paying people correctly because the schools can't communicate with Novopay. Clearly you are incorrect, if you read the paragraph titled Errors you will observe there is plenty of communication going on between the schools and Talent2.

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    7. Right, okay, so ignoring my quotation, and experience of schools with Datacom, Talent2 was contracted to write Novopay because there were no problems with Datacom? It was merely a communication problem. And everry media story over the last year about the disaster that is Novopay is obviously just a beat up?

      Now for your next trick, Nic, you will argue that I am wrong in saying 'the past year', Novopay went live a year and one day ago, and that fact blows my entire argument here out of the water, yes?

      There is none so blind as a slave.

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    8. No, as wikipedia notes Talent2 was chosen for quite different reasons to those you claim...

      Prior to adopting Novopay, the payroll for 90,000 teachers and school staff nationwide had been managed for the Ministry of Education by Datacom Group. However, in February 2005, the Ministry of Education decided a new payroll system for teachers was required. Ministry documents reveal that the existing payroll service had been stable during the previous eight years, but was considered 'dated'; there was no on-line access and the system provided insufficient data to "support the more complex information and research needs of the Ministry"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novopay

      As it says in the ODT article the 2008 issue affected around 1% of the staff on the system, and appears to have been an isolated incident. The issues with either system also have nothing to do with the PAYE regime complexity, and you have provided no evidence that they do.

      In other words you have simply supplanted your ideological assumptions about how disasters come about onto this disaster, and as I said this post should be categorised as a work of fiction.

      You are also vaguely claiming that the payment system has a plethora of diverse requirements, but looking at the issues which are discussed we see much more clearly a case of the payroll system not doing the right thing (e.g paying the right people the right amounts) it's an issue of many many faults, not one of system complexity. Nobody is saying it needs more functionality, they are simply saying that what it should be doing (distributing the pay packets) it keeps screwing up.

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    9. "The previous teacher pay system, run by Datacom, had similar problems to Novopay, which was one of the reasons the change was made."

      Steven Joyce

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/more-pain-novopay-way-says-joyce-rh-135222

      So the Minister is lying, or NBR incorrect?

      I see that Kiwiblog also sees the sense of bulk funding as a fix for teacher payrolls:

      http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/11/the_solution_to_the_teacher_payroll_problem.html

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    10. Now, on the topic of being blinded by ideology, again, answer this question.


      You are given a complex system, with individual requirements different for each participant in it.

      How will a centralised system, incommunicado with the participants, deal with this, better than a local system with intimate knowledge of the participants?

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    11. How will a centralised system, incommunicado with the participants, deal with this, better than a local system with intimate knowledge of the participants?

      It won't. The system needs to be able to communicate with the participants.

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    12. Here's the further problem. The complexity that Datacom and now Novopay have difficulty with is not discrete, fixed amounts of complexity at points in time: it's the growing complexity over time as governments use the PAYE system to do more and more: that is, Kiwisaver, employers superannuation deductions, employers superannuation withholding tax, child support, etc, etc - I barely understood this years PAYE booklet, and I've even got employers being inconvenienced by having to deduct and send to the MOJ employee court fines being paid on installment.

      It was this growing complexity that Datacom was starting to not cope with, meaning it was to the point of a necessary overhaul anyway.

      In short, governments now have devised so many ways to take our money, computer systems that can fly us to the moon, can't handle it. The best approach is smaller, localised systems where participants are in contact regularly. Smaller systems are also much more flexible. (It's the same reason terrorists work in small cells).

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    13. But the previous difficulties, particularly when the Datacom system was new in the mid-1990s, suggest something systemic.

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/more-pain-novopay-way-says-joyce-rh-135222

      Any idea how we should interpret this statement? It seems that the Datacom system was already going under bulk funding. In other words the discussion of bulk funding is not related. New computer systems do take some time to bed-in, it's a fact. I could have told the National party to expect more problems to imposing a new system, without even reading the tenders. Though I would have thought that the new system would be less of a disaster than has occurred. Even the disaster that is Novopay will eventually become stable though this is looking rather expensive at this stage.

      I do wonder if the National party is having the odd disaster for political/economic reasons. At least there is some positive stuff out of this, its supporting the economy. Sort of like the government paying people to dig holes and then fill them in again. I would be mighty impressed if this was somewhat intentional.

      Its also unlikely that we will hear a plain statement from the minister sent in to clean up the disaster (that's a political marketing exercise BTW, its not that Steven Joyce is actually working on the Novopay system). Your alternate source at Kiwiblog is the National party principle spin meister.

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    14. I don't disagree with some of your comments about the National Party members involved: that's why I vote Libertarianz

      My interpretation of 'systemic' is, as I've been saying, with a system growing in complexity, with so many individualised options for the many participants, central planning will always be too clumsy to deal with it. Far better to break it down and deal with localised administration.

      I've got to work, so I'll end by taking you up on one other point:

      At least there is some positive stuff out of this, its supporting the economy.

      You are a great opponent, Nic: albeit you drive me nuts, but you are a constant reminder not to get too loose with any facts: given that, this is a serious miss from you :)

      I'm sure you were aware of the 'broken windows' fallacy.

      If such a disaster is good for the economy, and some clueless politicians are applying that to the Christchurch earthquakes, and as a house owner there, it's not appreciated, then if these disasters are so good, why don't we arrange them weekly?

      The Greek economy is in the poo big time; with a bit of luck they'll have a cataclysmic earthquake soon, destroying their cities completely, so they can get the economic windfall of the rebuild? :)

      NotPC great on the broken windows fallacy:

      http://pc.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/great-depression-and-broken-window.html

      Cheers for commenting, no doubt will catch you on these boards again.

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