Queensland’s Health Minister Geoff Wilson yesterday declared a tentative victory in the department’s battle to tame its troubled payroll system, labelling the platform “stabilised” and noting that further improvements to it were being made.
The system went into meltdown in early 2010, with a large number of Queensland Health staff receiving little or no pay in some periods since the new platform was introduced in March. The SAP-based platform built with the assistance of IBM serves some 78,000 of the department’s staff every fortnight, with the total payroll amount being $210 million.
In a statement released yesterday, Wilson described the new system as having been “stabilised”, one year from its go-live date, but said there was further work to be done.
“Our staff have been through a very difficult time – it is never good enough if even one employee doesn’t receive the wages they are entitled to,” he said. “I know 2010 was a tough year, but I want to reassure our staff that 2011 will be different. That’s why we will not rest until we have an efficient and effective payroll system in place for our staff.”
Since late 2010, Wilson said, the Government had successfully implemented a localised payroll model, as well as a personalised service for anyone experiencing payroll systems.
In addition, he noted the November 2010 Price Waterhouse Coopers review of the Queensland Government’s shared services plan, recommendations from which the Government has begun implementing, and the 18 month blueprint unveiled around the same date for finalising the payroll project.
“This was about delivering an enhanced system appropriate for the 21st century with all of the extra services and features our staff deserve, and I’m pleased to say we are well on track in delivering this,” he said.
In the three months since the blueprint was released, Wilson said, staff payroll enquiries had come down by more than 80 percent since the new system went live in March 2010 — with fewer than 500 calls being received in an unspecified period.
The outstanding payroll adjustments backlog had been eliminated, he added, and the number of staff seeking interim payments who received an incorrect pay was down by more than 90 percent — hitting 243 in January. The total number of staff reporting no pay at all was down to a fraction of a percent — about 0.04 percent (31) in the last payroll cycle.
“In late November 2010, the Auditor-General also updated the Parliament on payroll stabilisation and found that ‘significant improvements have been made’ by Queensland Health to improve its payroll system,” Wilson added. “The Auditor-General also found that these efforts ‘have resulted in a declining trend in no pay enquiries and outstanding transactions’.
“As a Government we won’t rest until our health staff have the modern, efficient and effective payroll system that they deserve. “We are well on the way to delivering this, and I am committed to continuing to drive this improvement for our staff.”