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ESR Developments to improve user experience and meet the priorities of the NHS

It has been another busy year for ESR development, with 56 changes introduced into the solution, as well as pay awards and legislative changes.

Work is progressing for the final development release of 2021 (scheduled for 31st December), and we thought it would be timely to reflect on some of the highlights for this year:

  • Updated ESR password criteria making it easier for users to create strong and memorable passwords.
  • Updates to the exit interview questionnaire in ESR following collaboration with colleagues at NHS England/NHS Improvement and NHS Wales.
  • The ability for supervisors to add supplementary roles to staff records using Self Service, with a read-only view for employee Self Service users.
  • Improvements to the ESR Portal navigation.
  • Introduction of process to automatically reassess new starters and assignments with certain pay affecting changes and ensure they are allocated to the appropriate pension band.
  • Employees can now view and download their last three Payslips per assignment through the My Payslip and P60 portlet.
  • A new portlet enabling employees to enter or update their bank account details.
  • Opt in to receive an email advising employees when their latest payslip is available to view online.

Our thanks go out to all users and stakeholders that have continued to support the requirements identification, gathering and definition – ensuring our pipeline of change continues to reflect user and policy needs.

All of the changes introduced in to ESR can be found in the Guide to Enhancement and Changes which accompany each release, which you can find on the ESR Hub.

Welsh Language and ESR Release 52

December 2021 is another major release for ESR and will contain one of the largest pieces of work we have done this year, providing the option for users to view the My ESR portal in Welsh.

In addition, there are also upgrades and fixes to the Oracle software alongside the implementation of the annual Oracle roll-up patch (‘RUP’), which includes the ability to search the notification worklist.

Working Collaboratively

The NHSBSA ESR team has continued to work closely with colleagues across the NHS to deliver system changes in support of shared objectives. As an example, working collaboratively with NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Wales and NHSBSA we have updated the questions in the Exit Questionnaire. Utilising questions from the NHS Staff Survey, as well as additional new questions and an opportunity for staff to self-report their reason for leaving, the data from responses can then be utilised at organisation and system level to support retention planning, which is a key element of the NHS People Plan 2020/21.

If you are not yet using the exit questionnaire in ESR to support your retention planning, please get in touch with your ESR Functional Account Manager for more information and guidance.

ESR Portal Improvements

The process of continuous improvements to support usability and business needs has been maintained throughout the last year, with some key additions.

The layout of the ESR Portal has been updated to improve visibility of the different Dashboards to which users have access. Although quite a small change it has delivered a more intuitive approach to navigation and access to other functional areas.

We have also been working to improve the range of portlets available on the My ESR Dashboard, to ensure that users have timely access to the right information. Changes this year include improvements to the My Payslip and P60 portlet - where users can now view and download their last three payslips in addition to their current one.  We have also introduced a new email option to inform employees when their payslip is available to view online and encourage organisations to make the payslip available in ESR in advance of pay day.

Process Improvements

Engaging and supporting our users remains a key priority to the success of ESR, and we continue to rely on the feedback and change requests to improve usability and efficiency.  Through this process we have introduced enhancements to all aspects of the system for both Self Service and Professional users.

The ability to setup and maintain Supplementary Roles can now be done using any of the Manager, Supervisor or Administrator responsibilities.

A major development to reduce processing and administrative time spent assessing in-year pension bandings was introduced in April of this year. The new process has been included as part of the payroll run to automatically reassess new starters and assignments with certain pay affecting changes to ensure they are allocated to the appropriate pension band. The following Processes have been updated with the new parameter:

    • NHS Payroll Run (Monthly)
    • NHS Payroll Run (Weekly)
    • NHS Payroll Run (Fortnightly)
    • NHS Payroll Run (Lunar)

Looking Ahead

Next year promises to be equally busy through what are also likely to be challenging times facing the NHS.  As always, our focus will be on ensuring we respond to these challenges and continue to deliver a first-class solution with increased efficiencies to help the NHS workforce.

Development for ESR in 2022 includes further changes to support the requirement of the Flowers case and updates to pension functionality to reflect the requirements of the McCloud outcome. In addition, a key aspect of our plans for change in 2022 includes the development of further APIs for improved interoperability with other strategic and operational systems.


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