Programme news

ESR Discovery – Your ESR, Your Vision

The NHSBSA has established a Transformation Programme for the Electronic Staff Record (ESR).  

The ESR Discovery is the first project in this programme, and provides users and stakeholders across the NHS with the opportunity to tell us about their experiences of ESR.  The feedback received will enable the NHSBSA to better understand what ESR stakeholders and users need from a workforce solution, and help to inform requirements for the wider ESR Transformation Programme. 

The Roadmap 

By summer 2024 it is anticipated that the Transformation Programme will have completed a procurement exercise – enabling a period of transition up to August 2025 (current contract expiry date). The timeline below indicates the key phases that the programme is expected to follow:   

ESR Transformation roadmap

The planned timeframes for the completion of the transformation activities will be informed by subsequent service design and implementation planning. 

The Vision 

The programme seeks to place users and stakeholders at the heart of ESR service design.  NHSBSA Workforce Services will: 

  • support effective recruitment, retention and workforce planning within Health and Care; and
  • provide workforce services that support delivery of the People Plan and other workforce policies (including outcomes from the Future HR and OD Programme).

Your ESR, Your Vision 

Over the course of a 4 month period the NHSBSA are undertaking the largest strategic user engagement and listening exercise since ESR was implemented, involving stakeholders from across the NHS in England and Wales being invited to engage with a team of researchers from Accenture (acting on behalf of NHSBSA Workforce Services).   

So far… 

  • Over 12,300 NHS staff  have participated in an Employee Self Service (ESS) survey via the ESR Portal and direct survey link;
  • Over 3,400 NHS Manager Self Service (MSS) users have participated in an MSS survey via the ESR Portal and direct survey link;
  • 120 Directors and Deputy Directors of HR/Workforce/Heads of HR have participated in a senior stakeholder survey;
  • 50 Strategic stakeholders and policy makers from NHS England, NHS Wales and regional networks have engaged with the researcher team via one to one interviews and focus groups. 

User input to the ESR Discovery project, at each appropriate stage is really important.  As we progress through the different stages of the Discovery, the NHS ESR regional teams will be making contact with a number of HRDs and ESR Leads to invite organisations and their employees to engage with the researcher team. 

An information page about the ESR Transformation Programme has been added to the ESR Hub, giving an overview of the ESR Transformation Programme and the roadmap timeline.  A separate FAQ page is also available via the ESR Hub to answer some of the more frequently asked questions from stakeholders and users. 

If you have a question about the ESR Transformation Programme/ESR Discovery project that is not answered in the FAQs you can contact the ESR Discovery project team via 

Regular updates about the project will be communicated via the ESR Hub and our usual ESR communication channels. 

Coming Soon...changes to the Password Policy and the Login Screen

ESR Password Policy image

Users will notice a number of key changes following the implementation of ESR Release 49 (planned for 26th March) to some of the most used areas, including the login page, password expiry and password criteria.  Details of the changes are set out here and will apply to all new user accounts with the password criteria also being applicable to existing users when passwords are updated.

Password Criteria

As mentioned, for existing user accounts the password criteria detailed below will need to be used once the password is either reset or is required to be changed.  For any user accounts created following ESR Release 49 then the below rules will need to be followed.

New Criteria

Previous Criteria

Must be minimum of 12 characters

8 characters

Remove enforced use of at least one letter and one number

Password must contain at least one letter and one number

Special characters permitted e.g. %@!()

Some special characters are not permitted

May not be the same as previous four passwords

Must differ from previous passwords

All other criteria for passwords remains the same with passwords not allowed to contain reference to certain common, or easy to guess information such as username and location for example.

Password Expiry Periods

For user accounts created following ESR Release 49 the 90 day timeout will no longer be set as the default.  Instead there will be no timeout period defined i.e. the password will never expire.

The Auto User Account Creation process, which creates new user account for qualifying new employees, applicants and external users has also been updated to use all of the new rules outlined above.

Local Communication for Users Password Policy poster

To help ESR Leads we have developed a pdf poster that can be used internally to help NHS employees understand the changes to the Password Policy.  You can download it here.

Streamlined Doctors in Training Interface with TIS – A focus on Host and Lead Employer Arrangements

The Streamlined Doctors in Training Interface with Health Education England’s (HEE) Trainee Information System (TIS) supports Host and Lead Employers in managing Doctors in Training. Key functions of the interface include:

  • A facility to send person and appointment data into ESR for Doctor in Training placements;
  • A communication tool for updates or changes to medical training appointments;
  • A tool which allows ESR person updates to be shared with the TIS system.

With the rollout of the Person Update Capability now complete in England (February 2021), the full interface offering is available to all those Trusts live on the interface. There are currently 191 Trusts operating the interface across England and Wales.

Many ‘Host’ and ‘Lead’ employer arrangements exist across the NHS for Doctors in Training. This is where a medical trainee occupies a position geographically situated within one organisation, but is actually employed by another. This information can be captured within the ‘Host’ and ‘Lead’ employer indicators included in the Position Description form within ESR Work-structures.

Person Update Capability

The Person Update capability allows changes captured within ESR for hired Doctors in Training to transfer into TIS. The types of information shared includes: names; Date of Birth; Gender; NINO; Telephone Numbers; Email Address; Ethnic Origin and Addresses.

As part of this interface flow, information will transfer on a daily basis, keeping HEE and ESR in line with one another - although it is important to highlight that this transfer is only relevant to paying or lead employers. Changes from Host Employers made to honorary records within ESR are not transferred to TIS, as the Lead Employer record is viewed as the master within ESR.

How can organisations ensure they use the interface effectively?

Once the ESR position identifiers have been setup within ESR and shared with TIS via the interface, TIS will release trainee doctor information for each of the positions to the appropriate employer through this interface process (this can be to either the ‘Host’ and/or ‘Lead’ employers). 

For this information to be released from TIS, an employer must be subscribed to the interface and the ESR positions must have the correct indicators assigned in the ‘Host/Lead Employer Status’ field.


Of note; host employers should hire trainees as ‘Honorary’, while lead employers should choose ‘Employee’ upon hire.

TIS Honorary employees

Why is information management so important?

For ‘Lead’ employers using the interface, it is essential that Trusts accurately maintain both their person and post data, because this information flows back into TIS (now that the person update capability is in play). Trusts may use Employee Self Service to reduce the burden of administrating person level changes for Doctors in Training and run the IAT process from a previous employer.

For host employers, it is essential that these organisations maintain their ESR position data, as any issues with the quality of this data could inhibit the applicant creation process within their ESR database.

For further information about this interface please visit the ‘Explore Resources’ section of the My ESR Hub and then navigate to ‘ESR Functionality Guidance’ > ‘Doctors in Training’.

If your organisation would like to implement this interface offering, please contact the ESR Support Desk.

New ESR Data Quality video available

Following on from the successful Data Quality webinars delivered in 2019, a Data Quality video has been published on the ESR Hub that covers a number of key resources and topics in relation to Workforce Data Quality across the NHS.

The video includes an overview of the resources available to organisations in ESR BI, insight into the importance of data quality at a national level as well as the the main issues from guest speaker Nick Armitage (formerly of NHS Digital) and a summary of other key resources produced by the ESR Central Team to help improve the quality of ESR data.

Areas covered include:

The video can be found on the ESR Hub using the following path Browse National Content > Functionality/Guidance > Human Resources or by using the search function and searching for ‘Data Quality Video’.

Alternatively – click here

Using ESR to Manage Pay Progression

From the 1st April 2021 the transition period for staff employed before 1st April 2019 will end (as agreed in the 2018 Contract Refresh).  For all organisations in England changes will be applied to ESR which will remove the exemptions from the Pay Progression Process which were previously applied, and staff will now need the appropriate value recorded on the Pay Progression Meeting review. 


To help organisations prepare for the end of the transition period the existing NHS Standard Dashboards have been updated to ensure all relevant employees are now returned within the reporting, Any Pay Progression related BI Portlets have also been updated to ensure all relevant employees are now returned.

It is recommended that the BI Report available in the NHS Staff Requirements Dashboard is used to confirm members of staff due a pay progression in the coming period. This is available to both HR users and managers. 

Pay Progression BI Reporting

The pre-increment report, which is run as part of payroll processing will also highlight any employee who is due a pay effecting progression step and indicate whether they are set to progress or not.

Pay Progression Increment report

Please remember that for your employees who meet the criteria of the terms and conditions of service, will need to have the Pay Progression field against their assignment will need to be set to Yes where the step is pay effecting.


Three new alerts have been created for HR Administrators as well as, Administrator, Supervisor and Manager self service users.  Subscribing to these alerts will highlight employees on AfC Bands 8c and above who are at the top of the band and will need to re-earn part of their salary.

The alerts are designed to run monthly and include employees who are due to re-earn part of their salary 4 months and 1 month before and those due in the same month.

The alerts are available within the NHS Standard Dashboards/NHS Staff Requirements Dashboard Items/Alerts folder:

Pay Progressions Alerts

Updating the Pay Progression details

It is necessary to record the outcome of the Pay Progression meeting in ESR to ensure that employees progress appropriately and the following options are available to support this process:

Self Service

Managers are able to set up and complete the Pay Meeting in ESR using the Appraisal and Review functionality.  Your Managers and employees will receive reminders for those staff with a pay effecting pay step within the next three months.

Information on Managing Pay Progression via Self Service can be found in the ESR User Manual:

Professional Users

In these challenging times managers may not have the time to complete this process for their impacted staff and so central support from HR Teams may be required.

Information on Managing Pay Progression through HR functionality can be found in the ESR User Manual:

A joint working group of the NHS Staff Council Executive has produced guidance to support the application of pay progression during the COVID-19 pandemic.  For further information please review Application of Pay Progression from 1st April 2021.

Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life