Council leaders have refused to apologise to staff who were paid incorrectly after a multi-million-pound computer payroll system was introduced.

And a senior councillor suggested the issue was with the handwriting of people submitting payment claims, rather than with the technology of Norfolk County Council's MyOracle system.

The £17m MyOracle computerised human resources and finance system was introduced in April, but, for months, staff have complained they have been paid incorrectly.

The council had previously acknowledged a "small number" of contracted staff had not been receiving their pay on the right dates, but that they had been quickly paid once problems were spotted.

At a meeting of the full council on Tuesday (December 13), Labour councillor Alison Birmingham asked if the council would apologise to people affected.

Eastern Daily Press: Tom FitzPatrick, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for innovation, transformation and performanceTom FitzPatrick, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for innovation, transformation and performance (Image: Norfolk Conservatives)

But Tom FitzPatrick, the Conservative-controlled cabinet member for innovation, transformation and performance, said of about 20,000 payroll transactions, the majority had been processed correctly.

He said issues were caused by time sheets not being submitted in time by staff or checked by their managers, or because schools sent in handwritten sheets, rather than on spreadsheets, making it difficult to tell the difference between numbers.

He said that, for November, the number of problems had been lower than before the system was introduced.

He said: "It's hardly shambolic. It's actually better. Where people flag up problems it will be dealt with.

"No one has been left for months without pay. We have been doing pay runs the next day. The longest I have heard someone was waiting was a week. Nobody went without pay in November.

"It is not problems with technology. It's just the normal implementation of a complicated payroll system."

Mr FitzPatrick said tests were being carried out to ensure December payments, including the pay award for staff and backpay, are handled smoothly.

He said the system had to be replaced, as old systems are more at risk of being hacked.

He said: "A system of that complexity, delivered over Covid is something we should be congratulating staff on and not constantly sniping.

"Am I going to apologise? No, I am not, because I think we have a lot to be proud for that."

READ MORE: County Hall payroll issues causing anxiety five months later