Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Education what urgent measures are being taken to resolve issues with the NI Supply Teacher Register to ensure full and prompt payment to teachers. [Priority Written]
Minister of Education: The majority of the issues encountered in respect of the introduction of the new NI Supply Teacher Register (NISTR) have now been resolved. Following the delay in go-live from 22 to 29 August and performance issues in the first few days of operation, the Education Authority (EA) put in place significant additional staffing resources to manually input thousands of retrospective bookings for days worked in August whilst the system was not fully operational and to provide assistance to those experiencing difficulties in using the new solution. The Department also extended the payroll deadline to provide additional time for the bookings to be inputted, accepted by teachers and approved by schools.
The EA have been working with the system supplier to resolve bugs that have been identified at various stages of the process or by certain groups of users. Additional functionality and changes to system logic have also been implemented based on user feedback.
The NISTR is now working effectively to enable schools to independently source and book qualified, pre-employment checked teachers to provide vital cover. Once the teacher has attended and the engagement is complete, the school can sign-off the bookings on the system the next day unless the booking extends into the following calendar month in which case the booking can be partially signed-off for the days in the payroll period ended within a three day window between the 1st and 3rd working days of the new month.
All approved bookings are transferred in a file from the NISTR to the Department’s payroll team after the 3rd working day. The Department and the EA are working together intensively to ensure that the file contains data that aligns with the needs of the payroll system and that salary payment for all approved bookings for September days (and any outstanding days from August) will be paid through the relevant payroll this month. Additionally, the NISTR Helpline will reopen from 11am on 7 October.