June 2018

Programme news

Development Roadmap Update

In March 2018, ESR Release 38 included the final pieces of the ESR Enhance Development Roadmap.  Starting with enabling internet access for employee users and improved on-line payslips in summer 2016, this significant period of development has introduced a number of key changes to improve the functional scope and usability of the ESR solution. 

Our Roadmap bulletins have outlined the changes as we have progressed along the timeline and key items have included:

  • Comprehensive updates to the reporting solution:
    • Change Event and View Only Audit;
    • Payroll Exception Reporting;
    • Wide range changes to the BI solution;
  • Significant updates to the employee, manager and learning administration user interfaces;
  • Introduction of the “My.ESR” Portal including a comprehensive library of Portlets;
  • Extending internet access for manager Self Service and Business Intelligence reporting for professional users ;
  • Workflow delivery and interaction by e-mail.

The subsequent increase in overall ESR deployment demonstrates the investment has delivered against the principle objectives, including cementing the solution at the heart of NHS workforce planning and management and empowering employees and managers to be more effective and proactive with the data they have so easily available to them.   In the 6 months following the completion of Portal Provisioning (October 2017 to March 2018) user growth has been significant:

  • The number of unique employees who have now accessed ESR through the Portal increased by 440,228 (164%);
  • In October 2017, the total number of Portal logins was 879,949. In March 2018 this had grown to 1,908,894;
  • The number of employees accessing self-service each month has risen by 11% to 510,624;
  • The number of employees that no longer receive a paper payslip has increased by 128,111 (45%).

We will continue to monitor deployment of ESR across the NHS and will assist organisations looking to maximise the investment in ESR through a number of tools including our 2018/19 ESR Assessment - which you can access by contacting your NHS ESR Functional Advisor or Account Manager.

Alongside the Development Roadmap, other work streams have also continued to deliver change to organisations and users. These include:

  • The upgrade to Oracle 12.2 (December 2017);
  • The replacement for EDI (February/March 2018);
  • Gender Pay Gap Reports (December 2017);
  • 21 further improvements to the Portal and Portlets;
  • 32 changes through our “Change Pipeline” - many of those coming through the NSIG networks;
  • 171 BI reports created/amended.

ESR however does not stand still, and our plans for 2018/19 are as aggressive as previous years with some key changes in the next six to nine months:

  • Migration away from N3 to HSCN (planned for July 2018);
  • Implementation of the 2018 Pay Award (July 2018 - dates to be confirmed following completion of testing);
  • Ending the “mhapp” access route to ESR – all access to be through the ESR Portal (planned for September 2018);
  • Migration away from Discoverer – (Discoverer will be removed from ESR in December 2018);
  • Improvements to IAT initiation and portability of national competencies (dates to be confirmed);
  • Working with national stakeholders to ensure that ESR continues to meet the strategic challenges of productivity and efficiency and the Streamlining agenda.

The infographic below provides a helpful summary of our development plans in the coming months and further information on specific developments can be found in our Development Schedule on kBase.

It is worth noting that this scale of development to ESR, in combination with defect resolution and a very high demand for organisational merges and de-merges, means that that the solution does have to be withdrawn at specific times through the year. At a time when ESR has such a large and diverse user base – reflecting the 24/7 nature of the NHS – this inevitably can lead to concern and confusion around ESR availability. You can help us with this by:

  • Communicating the planned and actual ‘downtime’ schedule with your users so that they are aware as soon as possible when their ESR will not be available to them. We will also publish announcements on the Portal and via the service status on the ESR App as appropriate;
  • With a reliance growing towards on-line payslips, ensure that you set the Payslip View date to be as early as possible to minimise the impact that any month end ‘downtime’ may have on your users wishing to view their payslips on-line.

Recording Apprenticeships in ESR

NHS organisations have been able to enter apprenticeship information into Health Education England’s National Apprenticeship Monitoring System (NAM) since December 2015.

During this time, the NHS ESR Central Team has been collaborating with Health Education England and NHS Employers on an enhancement to enable apprenticeship information to be recorded within ESR alongside other employment information. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017 increased the focus on apprentices in the NHS and heightened the need for ESR to provide a solution that enables adequate recording, and therefore reporting of apprenticeship data.

Subject to successful deployment, this enhancement will be implemented in Release 39 (June 2018) following the removal of NAM, and therefore should be used as the main method for NHS organisations to record apprenticeship details going forward.

Health Education England wrote to NAM contacts at the beginning of April to confirm the decommissioning of NAM with effect from 30th April 2018.

The Enhancement

A new Extra Information Type (EIT) form will be created at assignment level enabling organisations to record key information in relation to apprentices.

The form includes the following fields:

  • Apprenticeship Level
  • Framework/Standard
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Proposed End Date
  • Actual End Date
  • Main Training Provider (UKPRN)
  • EPA Centre
  • Apprenticeship Type

All of these data items will be reportable through ESR Business Intelligence.

Further details on the functionality will be included in the guide to enhancements document for Release 39.

The Benefits

  • It will now be possible to report on employees who have been specifically employed as an apprentice as well as those employees who are undertaking an apprenticeship whilst continuing in their existing post. These scenarios will be differentiated by the ‘Apprenticeship Type’ field.
  • Holding the apprenticeship information within ESR enables the data to be linked to further workforce information and therefore opens up significant reporting potential , for example:
  • Equality Characteristics
  • Salary Information
  • Reason for Leaving
  • Future career (i.e. progression following completion of Apprenticeship)
  • Apprenticeship information will be transferred through the IAT process enabling organisations to inherit historical apprenticeship information for a new employee.
  • Recording apprenticeship details through the EIT form allows organisations to use the job role field more effectively to record a job role more relevant to the work being undertaken by the apprentice, rather than using the generic job roles of ‘Apprentice’ across the various staff groups. The ‘Apprentice’ job roles will therefore be removed following a period during which more suitable job roles will have been adopted. Further details will follow.
  • Organisations can utilise BI to assist in meeting the statutory reporting requirements in relation to apprenticeships set out by the Department for Education. This includes the need to report on apprentices as a proportion of your overall trust headcount.
  • Regional and national organisations will be able to report on NHS apprentice information through the ESR system reducing the burden on organisations to provide this data via separate systems and submissions.


Health Education England has been working with ESR for some time now to ensure that the apprentice data could be entered into the ESR system. We are pleased that this has now become a reality with the launch of the apprentice fields in ESR. We encourage everyone to take advantage of this addition by adding the apprentice information in ESR. By doing this, it will give the NHS a better picture of apprenticeships across the country as well as allow local trusts a central place in which to store and manage apprentice data.

Kirk Lower, National Lead for Apprenticeships and Talent for Care at HEE

Next Steps

Following the implementation of the enhancement into ESR, organisations are strongly encouraged to use the new form to record details for all current and future apprenticeships.

Organisations also have the ability to record historical apprenticeship information should they choose, however it should be noted that the list of values are based on current framework/standards and EPA Centres.

For further information please contact your regional NHS ESR Functional Advisors or Account Managers.




Recording Property Management in ESR

Many staff in the NHS are provided with numerous pieces of equipment, from simple badges through to lease cars. It is vital that organisations and their managers are able to record and track these items and ensure that they are returned appropriately when an employee leaves the organisation.

ESR enables the Organisation to delegate this task as required, such as:

  1. Central control via the HR responsibility
  2. Local control e.g. IT via a dedicated property register responsibility
  3. Controlled directly via managers using self service

Specific reports and notifications are also available.

In addition - via the ESR Portal, employees will also be able to see what property has been allocated to them.


How to record property

The functionality is based on a simple and easy to use form where you record against the employee, the start/end date that the item was given, the property and asset number where applicable. The end date also drives notifications when a leaving date is entered and also ensures that they cannot be a leaver until a date is entered. This ensures that property is proactively managed.

In Core ESR

The form is available via the following User Responsibility Profiles (URPs):

  • HR Administration – via the Enter and Maintain path;
  • Property Register – a stand-alone URP that can be given to specific departments that allocate property e.g. IT Department;
  • Manager/Supervisor/Administrator Self Service – Direct input from the manager or their nominated administrator.

Equally a mix or all of these can be used so that property allocated by various departments is captured, therefore avoiding omissions. For instance I.T. may only allocate mobile phones and laptops, HR might allocate ID badges and the manager may record lease cars etc.

The list of values are set nationally but can be added to locally via the ‘System and User Administration’ User Responsibility Profile (URP).

One Organisation who found the property register functionality invaluable is Nottingham City Care CIC.

Emma Alcock, HR Transactional Team Leader said:

Using the property register to record assets has proved a failsafe method of ensuring that our assets are returned when an employee leaves our organisation. Previously, we relied on Line Managers telling us that their employees were in possession of assets at the time the termination forms were submitted. However, we felt that this was not a robust process. Using the Property Register in ESR from the commencement of employment  allows our employees to check these details via their ESR portal which is also useful for tax purposes. Leaving the end date blank ensures that the employee can’t be made a leaver on ESR. This then flags that there is a problem which can be addressed before the employee leaves. Once the asset e.g. a lease car has been returned, filling in the end date allows the termination process to continue.


During the SSHR termination process if the employee who is being terminated has any property assigned to them in the property register, this will be displayed to the person performing this function.

Additionally the following people will also be notified that there is property assigned to the person being terminated:

  • The manager receives a notification one week (7 Days) before the termination date/last working day and again on the actual termination date/last working day.
  • Holders of the “Property Register” URP will receive a “Leavers with Property” notification one week before the employees leave. The notification will contain details of the employee e.g. where they work, email address etc. and also their manager, and their email address as well as details of the property they have.

Reporting Capability

There are a number of reports available in ESR BI under the Staff in Post Dashboard – Property Register tab which has 3 analysis

1.  Property Register Detail

This analysis is designed to show the detail of Property Register entries at an effective date (as defined by the user).

2.  Property Register Entries

This analysis is designed to show the number of Property Register entries grouped by Staff Group or Organisation Levels 1-4. An Effective Date Prompt is available for users to set as required.


3.  Property Register Timeline

This analysis is designed to show the number of Property Register entries over a period of time (default previous 12 months).



Organisations should fully utilise the property register functionality as it ensures that all organisational property is recorded and subsequently returned in good time, avoiding unnecessary replacement costs. The capability is flexible and easy to use by employees, managers and selected departments.

If you would like to know more then please contact your regional NHS Account Manager or Functional Advisor


Equality and Diversity - why your details are recorded

Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 all Public Sector Employers, including the NHS, are obliged to ensure that employees are not discriminated against, harassed or victimised on the grounds of a number of Protected Characteristics. Furthermore under the Act there is a Public Sector Equality Duty whereby public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work; in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees. It also requires that public bodies have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination
  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities

Recently introduced gender pay legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to annually calculate and publish the pay gap between their male and female employees.

ESR enables the recording and reporting of data to help organisations demonstrate compliance with equality legislation. It also assists in comparing the experiences of staff in the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES), and in determining action where necessary.

How can I view and amend my Equality and Diversity details?

Those with access to ESR Employee Self Service or Employee Self Service (Limited Access) can view or amend their own details by following the navigation paths as shown below:

ESR Portal > My ESR Dashboard

 Equality Screenshot

 Note that pregnancy and maternity details cannot be entered by employees.      


A number of online learning sessions have been created to demonstrate how to use Self Service to enter and maintain your personal details. Click here for details.

Data quality

Reporting on equality and diversity using ESR can be adversely affected by the proportion of blank entries or the selection of options such as ‘I do not wish to disclose’. You are urged to ensure that your personal record is fully populated with appropriate entries. Better data leads to better policies and better management decisions affecting the workforce.

Are all of the legally protected characteristics recordable on ESR?

The Equality Act 2010 covers the following ‘Protected Characteristics’:


Age Disability Gender Reassigment
Marriage and Civil Partnership Pregnancy and Maternity Race
Religion or Belief Sex Sexual Orientation









ESR enables the recording of details relating to each of the protected characteristics except Gender Reassignment, for which a decision on the question and potential responses to be made available is awaited from NHS England.

Note that Pregnancy & Maternity details are only recorded on ESR where there is an impact on employment:

  • Pregnancy and maternity related absences are recorded.
  • Employees receiving maternity pay are given an assignment status of ‘Maternity & Adoption’.
  • Where the nature of a person’s job leads to a change of duties during pregnancy an appropriate reason for the change of assignment is recorded.

Are there plans to change the Equality and Diversity details recorded in ESR?

A review of the protected characteristics is currently being undertaken by NHS England. This review covers data sets used across the NHS, not just ESR, in relation to the workforce and to patients.

Work already underway

  • Sexual Orientation - Revised classifications have been published as an independent Standard and these are targeted for implementation in ESR Release 39 (end of June 2018).
  • Disability - Work has begun in this area which may also lead to an independent Standard.
  • Universal Standard - NHS England are considering the merits of creating a single universal standard covering all of the protected characteristics. This would incorporate any previously agreed independent Standards. The relative cost and impact on the service of an incremental versus a ‘big bang’ approach is being assessed.

When will the review be completed?

NHS England has announced that any proposed change to the NHS datasets will need to take account of the 2021 Census which is managed by the Office for National Statistics. A white paper regarding the proposed content of the Census, including equality and diversity details, will be put to Parliament in late 2018/early 2019. The intention is that, where appropriate, NHS datasets should be compatible with the Census data.

Will changes be made to ESR ahead of the wider review?

Although it would be possible to implement changes to the values in ESR independently of NHS England’s review, there is a high risk that any such changes would be rendered obsolete when that review is complete. So at present there are no plans for ESR to implement changes ahead of the published review findings.

Next steps

When NHS England concludes its data set review and a new Standard, or equivalent, is produced, NHS Digital will begin the process to reflect the revised content in the National Workforce Dataset.

In order to minimise further delay NHS Digital have indicated that they may allow systems such as ESR to implement the required changes whilst the process to formally publish a revised National Workforce Dataset is underway. This approach was recently taken with the implementation of the Sexual Orientation Monitoring Standard.

NHS Digital will publish formal announcements regarding changes to the data sets on their website.  Users of ESR will be advised of changes and implementation dates through the usual channels including Release Notices and User Group meetings.

Case studies

ESR Transformation

A Case Study by the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust



London Ambulance Services employ 5,500 staff based at ambulance stations and support offices across London.  We are the capital’s ambulance service and the only NHS Trust that covers whole of London.  We have a total of 70 ambulance stations across London.

The Project

In November 2015 a CQC inspection identified significant gaps in the Trust's recording and reporting of workforce information including statutory and mandatory training, appraisal, vacancies and staff in post.

As a result of this a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) was initiated to address areas which required improvement including how the Trust could record, monitor and report its workforce information more effectively.

To meet the needs of the QIP it was decided that the functionality available within ESR would be explored as part of an ESR Health check.  The Health check identified utilisation of 28% as well as key areas which could be optimised to meet the requirements of the QIP.

Following the Health check and in consultation with NHS Improvement a proposal was developed for the Executive Leadership Team.  They approved the initiation of a focused ESR Transformation Programme to deliver the following:

  • A data quality review and restructure of ESR to ensure that employees are in the right place to ensure accurate reporting;
  • Implementation of OLM and E-Learning including the data migration and ongoing use of competencies for statutory and mandatory training requirements and reporting;
  • Roll out of Employee Self Service via the new ESR Portal to enable staff to update their own information, view payslips and access NLMS e-learning;
  • Make workforce information available to managers across the Trust to monitor workforce compliance and performance and improve decision making about our staff.

Prior to the commencement of the ESR Transformation Programme, there was very little knowledge, engagement and use of ESR across the Organisation.  Various different systems and spreadsheets were being used to capture information about our staff including:

  • E-rostering system being used to maintain Operations staff personal records, and to record training and appraisals;
  • Vacancy levels were reported from the Finance system;
  • A local spreadsheet maintained by HR for Employee Relations cases;
  • A local spreadsheet maintained for Corporate Statutory and Mandatory Training records;
  • Training Subject Matter Experts kept their own records of training for their area of expertise;
  • A stand-alone e-learning platform with limited reporting capability;
  • Limited Workforce Information only available at Trust level from various sources.

The programme has incorporated all of the above into ESR, improving the usage, credibility and reputation of ESR as the master Workforce System for the Organisation.  With the improved visibility of the system, there have been requests from Managers across the Trust to use additional ESR functionality including Manager Self Service, Online Appraisals and Property Management. This has led to the development of a road map and future plans to fully optimise the functionality available in ESR.

Key Benefits

ESR Structure Re Design

  • ESR Workstructures re-designed to reflect the operational and financial structure of the Trust enabling reporting below Trust level.
  • Over 2,500 staff which were sitting in the wrong place in ESR corrected, reducing manual adjustments in the General Ledger and creating efficiency saving of 0.5 FTE in Finance.
  • Establishment Control implemented with Funded FTE 100% matched to Finance General Ledger each month. The Trust now uses ESR information to highlight recruitment gaps. This has supported a decrease in the Trust's vacancy rate from 8.2% to 7% since April 2017 which results in a better standard of care for our patients.

MyESR Launch

  • Over 98% of staff across the Trust have used MyESR since Go-Live in September2017 compared to 9% using Employee Self Service in 2016-17,
  • Over 66,000 e-learning courses have been completed by staff since September 2017.
  • Over 55,000 competencies awarded since September 2017 increasing statutory and mandatory compliance from 71% to 87% achieving the Trust's March 2018 85% target. This provides greater evidence and assurance around the safety and compliance of our workforce.
  • First ever statutory and mandatory eLearning Path delivered to over 3,700 frontline operational staff made available via mobile technology, replacing over 300 8 hour classes previously delivered by Band 6 Clinical Tutors.
  • 31 user guides developed for each individual piece of functionality in MyESR.
  • MyESR Helpdesk set up and resourced. Database created to track calls and identify themes of over 6,000 calls received since MyESR launch. Average response time of half a day.
  • Local MyESR Intranet Page launched with User Guides, FAQs, Video User Guides, Support information.
  • Online Feedback survey completed and ‘you said – we did’ plan currently being actioned.

OLM Implementation

  • 32 statutory and mandatory competencies created with over 100,000 competency requirements mapped and added to ESR Positions.
  • Over 60,000 competencies migrated from various legacy systems which enabled accurate workforce reporting and provided assurance to internal and external stakeholders on safer workforce.
  • Devolvement of OLM class administration to specialist training teams reducing centralised administration.

What Our Exec Team Say

 The transformation/implementation of MyESR has been a foundation for not only transforming our delivery and decision-making for training and development but also to change the way we will communicate with our people. 

Now that we have the foundation stone in place, we will be looking to maximise use of the wider system functionality to transform other aspects of our work with our dispersed teams of people – through online appraisals, managing student cohorts and potentially manager Self Service.

Patricia Grealish – Director of People & Culture & Project Exec Sponsor


The launch of MyESR has enabled us to transform the way we manage our training and development.  Our mobile workforce can now update their own employee record and complete e-learning via mobile devices, managers can key access workforce information about their teams and staff and the Organisation has a far greater understanding and assurance of its StatMan training and appraisal compliance.

Garrett Emmerson – Chief Executive

The Next Steps

Following the success of our MyESR implementation we intend to continue to our ESR journey and have begun planning the next phase of our ESR transformation project, implementing:

  • Devolvement of OLM administration to various learning teams across the Trust – by Q2 2018-19
  • Switch on Interfaces between ESR & Rostering system – by end Q3 2018-19
  • Online Appraisals via Manager Self Service – currently scoping

Lessons Learned

  • Align to strategic objectives to get ‘buy-in’
  • Be structured with project governance (e.g. Project Board, documentation)
  • Continuously engage across the organisation
  • Remain agile and implement ‘quick wins’
  • Promote ESR as master Workforce System
  • Share your experiences and best practice

Further Information

For further information our ESR Transformation project please contact Mark Ando, Interim ESR Transformation Programme Manager at Mark.Ando@lond-amb.nhs.uk




A successful journey with ESR OLM

A Case Study by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust



In 2013, following a period of significant change we were aware that we did not have an accurate record of staff training compliance and therefore found difficulty in planning training provision and lacked assurance on the safe working of our staff. Training records were held in a range of places, locally, centrally and by our third party support service provider. This resulted in a disconnected, inaccurate and time consuming process of gathering and maintaining a record of staff training compliance; not helped by our two IT networks which could not link together. This gave concern about the potential for staff to be non-complaint but more importantly meant we were not in a position to put training in place to address it.

The Trust decided to initially implement ESR/OLM and Employee Self Service (with a longer term plan to implement Supervisor and Manager Self Service), to give us  a single, real time record and enable our employees to access their personal records as well as being able to undertake e-Learning. Subject experts reviewed and streamlined mandatory training requirements and worked on a range of training delivery models which ultimately resulted in us introducing e-Learning as the main training delivery method for our employees.

This project was supported by our Deputy Chief Executive and Director or Workforce and Service Re-Design, Anita Pisani, who recognised the benefits that introducing Self Service and OLM would bring to the organisation;

With the successful rollout of Self Service our employees are able to view and update their personal data held on ESR directly, which has improved the quality of our data.  In addition, through using OLM for recording our mandatory training we have managed to improve the accuracy of our overall compliance data as well as providing our employees with a more timely and flexible route to undertaking their training.

The Project

In 2014, we undertook an ESR Health Check with our NHS ESR Account Manager, which identified that our overall rating for ESR Functional effectiveness was only 25%. The report made recommendations for us to make improvements to the way we used Self Service, Business Intelligence and Learning Management functionality, as well as general HR and recruitment processes. From the recommendations, an action plan was created focusing on the following main areas:

  • Implement Oracle Learning Management (OLM) for the recording and reporting of training completed by the individual employee.
  • Set up the Competency Requirements. By implementing this we would be able to define the training requirements at Organisation/Position level, which would enable the compliance to be reported accurately through the use of ESR Business Intelligence.
  • Implement Employee Self Service and use the associated e-Learning within OLM. This would enable our employees to view their own compliance and be able to keep up to date and meet the training requirements set on their profiles.

Employee Self Service would empower our employees to view and make changes to their personal and employment information held on ESR, which would improve overall data quality and accuracy.

Using the ESR Health Check as a driver to improve our current status, and recognising that we needed an improved and robust way of delivering and recording training within the Trust, we initiated the ESR/OLM Implementation programme. The initial remit of the programme was to utilise OLM within ESR to hold all Statutory and Mandatory training records for all employees within the Trust, and to rollout out Employee Self Service (ESS). The current training database had been created by an internal information analyst, and was not linked to HR/Finance or ESR, which resulted in a disconnect of information with staff changes, e.g. no automatic updates of starters and leavers, so this was a manual intervention.

Using ESS and OLM would enable our employees to book themselves directly onto e-Learning courses once the OLM Catalogue had been created. It would also give them the ability to check their compliance records and identify any face to face training that they would need to book onto.

Over the last year there has been significant investment in the ESR solution with the launch of the new portal and improved functionality, including OLM. The resounding success of this investment for us is the ESR Portal, which has vastly enhanced the user experience for our staff. Prior to the 2017 portal roll out we had worked tirelessly to upgrade our IT infrastructure in line with the MM-0100 document and set an objective to launch the Portal to our employees in October 2017.

In preparation for the implementation we adapted our ‘how to guides’, introduced screen savers, and updated our employees via communication cascades and corporate induction presentations for all new staff. We have personalised the portal with our twitter feed, create our own announcements within the system, advised staff of their compliance as soon as they log into the portal and advertise internal job vacancies. Prior to our portal launch, we also moved to electronic payslips. The intention was that this would encourage our employees to access the portal to view their payslip each month and would therefore steadily increase our usage of the system, and increase the likelihood of the employee seeing their Training Compliance at the same time.

Key Benefits

In May 2015 we launched ESS and OLM together. We had a very proactive communications approach that included presentations to services and the publication of ‘how to guides’ available on the intranet. 

A helpdesk was created with links to IT, Finance, HR and Workforce Information so that we covered all eventualities and could signpost employees to the right department. This is still in place today with an excellent response rate and high standards of service.

The overall compliance rate for the Trust has increased from 86% to today’s average of 95%.

Our employees now benefit from a greater sense of wellbeing as they are now able to access their own personal records when they want/need to and are able to plan and undertake their training around their work and home life.

The primary benefits that we have found from are:

  • Compliance rate is now at 95% for Statutory and Mandatory training;
  • Employees now have access to accurate, reliable and timely compliance information;
  • ESR Notifications remind employee’ when training needs to be completed;
  • National and local e-Learning modules are accessible through OLM and the ESR record is automatically updated instantly upon completion;
  • Training data is transferred between Trusts via the use of the Pre Hire IAT, reducing the amount of training required on induction;
  • Substantial reduction in duplication of effort and reduction in time spent to manage training and compliance across the entire organisation;
  • OLM has become a repository for recording qualifications, accreditations and skills against individuals, so is beneficial when searching from a particular skill base;
  • ESS has led to a decrease in the number of local ‘P forms’ received by the administrative teams, and has led to an improvement in the quality of diversity data, helping us to put in place equality and diversity improvements, assisting our diverse workforce;
  • Manager Self Service will provide further benefit when our managers can access team reports and act on these – providing timely, accurate and reliable data;
  • Immediate access for Quality, Governance and Performance teams to access reporting data.

Lessons Learned

The Project - When we initially scoped this project, responsibility sat within HR/Workforce functionality. As the project progressed, it became apparent that this needed a higher profile and it would have been more appropriately led by the Transition Team, this would have resulted in greater engagement from all areas and a smoother transition of processes.

Engaging IT - Due to the geographical area of our services, we were working with four IT providers, with vast differences in delivery. As scope grew within ESR/OLM, along with the impending release of the Portal, it was essential that we took action. Securing senior management support, we were able to bring each provider up to the standard of the MM-0100 document and ensure the system would allow the end user to transition effectively, limiting issues. Early engagement from IT specialists is critical.

ESR/OLM Programme Board - Establish an organisation user group involving the necessary functions/services. Our board consists of our ESR/OLM team, HR, Finance, Recruitment, Workforce Information and IT representatives - held every 4-5 weeks and are well attended. This forum facilitates discussion and consideration of the impact of work being carried out in other services, and agrees ways to minimalise potential issues. Having a broader presence on ESR Special Interest Groups enables shared learning.

Helpdesk - We have a dedicated ESR helpdesk able to change passwords, resolve or reroute IT issues and answer general queries about the system on a day to day basis. The Administrator is responsible for uploading announcements on the portal as well as keeping the ‘how to guides’ up to date with on-going enhancements. These can also be located through the link within the portal. With any system there are always going to be times when things aren’t quite meeting user expectation or are as a result of user error, and so our local ESR helpdesk is essential to helping resolve issues for employees.

Further Information

If you would like further information about our ESS/OLM project please contact our ESR OLM Lead Julia Michael at julia.michael@nhs.net.




Streamlining Recruitment, Hiring and Assignment Changes using ESR Manager Self Service

A Case Study by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust



Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is a large community provider – with 5,000 staff. The Trust was formed in 2010 and has been using Employee and Manager Self Service (Payroll Approval Required) since this date – and previously in two of the three founder Trusts.

Employee and Manager Self Service has historically been used for most tasks, including some back-office ‘cost reducing’ assignment changes (Hours Reductions & Terminations for example).  However, there was always a reluctance to relinquish some of the central controls in order to allow Managers to use ESR for operational tasks that would add to the spend on a cost centre.  Following a poor Recruitment audit, we were required to review this approach and as a consequence the decision was made to utilise ESR Manager Self Service (Payroll Approvals required) to ‘Manage Hires’ and make ‘Assignment’ changes.

The process in place during the audit was a fully electronic eForms system – with emailed workflow Workforce Approval forms and New Starter and Changes forms.  However, these were within a standalone third part system that needed separate management and maintenance.

The audit found it difficult to reconcile the electronic forms with the actual recruitment/job change made. It also found a range of delays at different stages of the approval/recruitment process. 

The Project

Understanding the starting point was key - there were three systems involved in the ‘Workforce Hire and Change’ process:-

  • eForms
  • NHS Jobs
  • ESR

Each system had its own login credentials and business rules.

We recognised there was a possibility to extend our use of NHS Jobs and ESR Manager Self Service to cover the tasks of the eForms system; using the ‘approvals’ emails in NHS Jobs for Vacancy Workforce Approval and using ‘Manage Hires’ and ‘Assignment Changes’ in Manager Self Service to hire and change jobs.  An options appraisal confirmed the practicality and advantages of this approach.

Our Managers were quick to see the benefit in using just two systems that they were already familiar with. The ability to now use the previously unused ESR menu items of Assignments and Manage Hires was welcomed with open arms. This was all aided by our early deployment in 2017 of the ESR Portal and the enhanced visual experience this gave to its users.

As well as achieving all Hires and Assignment changes, we were able to devise processes that have eliminated all other HR change forms – so we now use the ‘notes’ in an ‘Assignment’ change to notify Payroll of changes such as ‘Purchased Annual Leave’, ‘On Call enhancements’ etc.

The change over to the new process was initially piloted within Corporate areas, with a phased deployment in the Operating Divisions across the Financial Year 2016-17. Full deployment was complete by April 2017.

Progress in the project was monitored by the Strategic Workforce Committee with regular reports on progress in migrating to the new way of working.

Key Benefits

The advantages in reducing to just two systems, from three, were recognised very early in the deployment. This simple process change, of gaining the Approval in NHS Jobs and allowing ESR ‘Manage Hires’ is actually more significant than it appears.

In the Recruit and Hire process we have:-

  1. reduced the number of systems – from 3 to 2
  2. reduced the number of operations per recruitment episode – from 29 to 15
  3. reduced the interruptions in the procedure flow – from 7 to 4
  4. eliminated 8 ‘double data entry’ items
  5. reduced average approval time by 40 days.

The Assignment Changes process has also been streamlined, cutting the average process time from 40 to 4 days. There are also reductions in the number of distinct operations and interruptions to the process flow.

The Approval workflow in NHS Jobs allows the recruiting manager to pick the most appropriate approvers. For example, we allow Nursing vacancies to be advertised without Director approval – contributing to the reduction in delay.  This flexibility was not possible before.

The use of the ‘Payroll Approval Required’ option in Self Service allows the ESR team (that have the Payroll Notification role) to ‘quality check’ all changes as well as forward Notifications to Finance where their approval is required for an assignment change.

The Manager Self Service Hire process has also given us an enhanced Information Governance benefit.  Employees now enter their own Bank Account details into ESR using Employee Self Service. They no longer have to share these with their manager (who previously entered them on the electronic New Starter form). It is also one less task for the Payroll team.

By consolidating onto just two systems managers have increased their overall use of ESR and have become more confident when using it. Almost certainly this has contributed to our most recent ‘Payroll Audit’ result where we achieved ‘Significant Assurance’ with NO recommendations or suggestions for change.

This manager confidence in using ESR fits with our strategy of making Mangers self-reliant in ESR, making all changes and also reporting team data to support their service operation.

Lessons Learned

The complications of the interdependency between approvers in a service meant that we had to modify our deployment approach slightly to ensure everyone was using the same system.

We also had to modify the deployment as a Manager left and was replaced – these new managers immediately went ‘live’ with the new process – necessitating us to also bring all related managers in that Service on line at the same time.

We have also identified other changes that will further streamline our processes – so there will be yet more benefits and lessons to be learnt.

We have shared our experience with Trusts within the West Midlands at a Regional Special Interest Group and have worked alongside one Trust, walking them through our process. The interest generated is significant – demonstrating that other Trusts have an appetite for the benefits that this use of ESR delivers.

Further Information

If you want more information about our Streamlining Recruitment, Hiring and Assignment Changes using ESR Manager Self Service Project , please contact Chris Heward, Workforce Planning and ESR Senior Business Partner - 0121 466 7462 - chris.heward@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk

We often share our Self Service training materials with neighbouring organisations – and will make those for these procedures freely available to anyone that requests them.

For information about Manager Self Service functionality and best practice please contact your NHS ESR Functional Advisor or Account Manager or access the HR Best Practice Guidance on Kbase.




Regional Portal Webinars

During April and May the NHS ESR Account Manager and Functional Advisor Teams ran a series of regional webinars designed to help users understand how to get the most from your ESR Portal and its dashboards. 

Over 600 ESR users registered for the webinars. In addition to hearing from the NHS ESR team, attendees also had the opportunity to listen to regional colleagues who shared their knowledge and experiences of rolling out the Portal - our thanks go to;

  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt NHS Trust
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • NHS Provide
  • North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
  • Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Yeovil District Hospital NHS Trust
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Stockport NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Tees NHS Foundation Trust

With a wide range of questions being asked across the whole series, we have produced a helpful Q & A  that users can access. Additionally, to support users further we have  developed a Portal Checklist, with bite-size sections providing tips on things that organisations and users should consider to ensure that they get the best possible experience when using the ESR Portal and its dashboards.

Each regional webinar slide deck, the Q & A and the Portal Checklist are all easily available via our ESR Education online site  

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