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ESR Transformation Programme update

The NHSBSA recently established a Transformation Programme for the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) as outlined in the March edition of ESR News. The Transformation Programme is now in progress and the Transformation Roadmap outlining the key stages of delivery is summarised below:

ESR Transformation roadmap

As the first stage of the ESR Transformation Programme, the NHSBSA initiated a Discovery project in February 2021. The Discovery activities included the largest user/stakeholder engagement and listening exercise since ESR was implemented.

Users and stakeholders from across the NHS in England and Wales have been engaged to tell us about their experiences of ESR and understand needs for a future NHS workforce solution. As part of this process over 13,000 NHS staff and over 3,400 NHS managers shared their views via an online survey, with users and regional/national stakeholders also taking part in interviews and focus groups throughout March 2021.

The findings from this research have enabled us to understand what our users and strategic stakeholders think about the functionality within ESR, their user experience, how ESR supports strategic workforce planning and what they would expect from a future NHS workforce solution.

The findings from the research have been categorised into the following key themes;


Experience of ESR varies on how it has been implemented in each organisation (e.g. the areas of functionality that are utilised). There is a clear desire from users and stakeholders to extend and refine interoperability with other systems.

Data and Insights;

Strategic users advised that ESR provides them with the workforce data they need to support strategic decision making. At the same time, there are aspects that could be extended, particularly in relation to workforce planning.

Ease of use and navigation;

User research identified “look and feel” and ease of navigation as key aspects influencing the usability of ESR. Users and strategic stakeholders were not always aware of ESR’s full capabilities and recognised the potential to do more.

Effectiveness in supporting workforce planning;

ESR is viewed as a rich source of information and stakeholders expressed a desire for more meaningful experiences enabled by the data.

The research that has identified these key themes will be distilled further, and will also incorporate the findings from the Future HR and OD Programme led by NHS England and NHS Improvement - together these will help shape the vision for the future NHS workforce solution.  

At the centre of the vision sits the future experience, delivering a cohesive and connected suite of workforce management capabilities that can best support the needs of NHS employees, people managers and professional users, as presented in below: 

At this stage in the Discovery project the vision will continue to be refined with a view to defining candidate solution options in subsequent stages of delivery by July 2021.  This will then be followed by an assessment of candidate solution options that is expect to complete by summer 2022, as presented within the roadmap.

In addition to the user research informing the vision for the future NHS workforce solution, the findings are also being considered to identify potential areas of enhancement for the existing ESR service. Areas where we could look to enhance the existing ESR service based on these findings will form part of our future planning.  

Further details about these plans will be communicated to our stakeholders in the usual way via our special interest groups and other communication channels in the coming months.

Further updates about the progress of the ESR Discovery will be published via the ESR Transformation page on the ESR Hub website.


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