NSW Education systems overhaul hampered by payroll complexity

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NSW Education systems overhaul hampered by payroll complexity

Still years away from completion.

Complexity in the current pay structure for NSW school teachers is a "major obstacle" standing in the way of a smooth rollout of the state's learning management and business reform (LMBR) software suite, according to the state Education department's corporate services chief.

Speaking at a senate estimates hearing this week, Peter Riordan said some schools are unlikely to see the new human resources and payroll module of the LMBR - the last to be implemented in the mammoth project - for two more years.

The system itself is "about 80 percent built", he said.

"The department has some very complex leave management systems in place. The arrangements for teachers on leave, vacation pay during school holidays, leave without pay and sick leave means that it is very complicated and does not fit comfortably with commercially available payroll systems."

Administration staff also incur their own unique set of pay arrangements around school holidays and strike days.

The structures mean the department has been forced to customise the SAP solution the new HR and payroll module is based on.

"That can take considerable time and be quite costly. So we need to look at what is the most effective way of ensuring teachers' entitlements in a HR payroll solution before we can complete this," Riordan said.

The $460 million LMBR rollout will replace solutions built in the 1990s, including iSeries and Lattice for payroll and Oasis for finance. The ageing systems mean teachers and staff continue to struggle with 'green-screen' interfaces.

The significant overhaul program has suffered its fair share of headaches, including delays related to scope creep and integration issues, as well as claims by the Teacher's Federation of a lack of support and training for the pilot batch of LMBR schools, who were struggling with being the project's guinea pigs.

Department officials also confirmed that a handful of schools have passed motions to halt their adoption of the LMBR systems, but to date no school had fully opted out of the process.

"We need to make sure that we do not build something that is obsolete before it goes live," Riordan said of the time being taken with the system implementation.

"We are taking into account what is the most cost effective and best way to achieve those outcomes."

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