Manager Self Service Approvals Not Required at Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust cares for the population in Harrogate and the local area as well as across North Yorkshire and Leeds.

Employing more than 4,000 people, we provide essential hospital treatments and community health services, as well as providing children’s services in the Northeast in County Durham, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Gateshead, and Sunderland.


The introduction of Employee Self Service (Limited Access) in ESR in 2017 was fully embraced by the Trust, enabling employees improved access and autonomy over their employee data. In 2020 there was a drive within the Trust to further enhance the Self-Service functionality for Manager’ by introducing the ESR Manager Self-Service URP.

The primary drivers for this change were:

  • Existing frustrations around the time taken to process contractual changes, leave requests and paper-based sickness returns;
  • To reduce the administrative burden of the current processes, removing the requirement for paper-based forms and duplication of data input;
  • A requirement for a clear, auditable workflow for contractual changes;
  • Manager Self Service also enabled the approval for annual leave requests and administration of sickness absence at source.

The overarching benefit of implementing ESR Manager Self Service is that it replaced existing processes which were extremely inefficient, such as duplication of effort, due to the requirement of paperwork for contractual changes and the timeliness of this reaching the transactional team and being processed.  Having previously worked in a Trust which had implemented ESR Manager Self-Service, I had seen first-hand the benefits that this system brought to the Organisation, so I was very keen to get this functionality implemented.

Angela Wilkinson - Director of Workforce and Organisational Development


A project team was established, and an agreed project plan and timeline was approved. To support the Managers, bespoke training sessions were delivered by the Project Lead using ESR Tply, the ESR training environment which is available to all organisations. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic the project re-focused in early 2021. Rollout commenced on a team-by-team basis, which gave the Project Lead the opportunity to work with Managers on their readiness during the unprecedented pressure to services during the pandemic.

Part of the preparation for implementation within the teams was a meeting with the Project Lead and senior manager to agree the managerial hierarchy and decide on the best options for approvals within ESR. For example, some teams utilised multiple supervisors whilst others opted for proxy access. This gave the managers within the teams’ flexible approaches mirroring day to day managerial responsibilities.

The Project and Outcomes

The objectives for the rollout of the ESR Manager Self-Service project were:

  • Reduce or eradicate the need for external bespoke paper/electronic systems to record employee information that is held in ESR;
  • To streamline the way that data is entered into ESR so that it is timelier and accurate;
  • To enable line managers to access the information for their employees and make effective decisions;
  • To enable line managers to produce their own reports for their teams for subjects such as appraisals, pay progression, absence, and training compliance;
  • To have an electronic system to record absence and annual leave for employees who are not on the Roster system.

The Manager Self-Service (Payroll Approvals Required) URP was implemented initially to provide assurance that pay related changes had been processed correctly. As the project rolled out, this approach would be reviewed with the wish to revert to the ‘Payroll Approvals Not Required’ URP.  

As the rollout progressed, frequent audits and checks took place to ensure Managers were completing the actions within ESR correctly. Where these processes were not followed, the Project Lead and Payroll Manager liaised with the Managers and teams to help them better understand the correct process, whilst supporting them at the same time.

During the rollout, payroll services were outsourced to a payroll team working within an NHS organisation that had implemented Manager Self-Service Approvals Not Required (MSS-NR). Therefore, when discussions took place to evaluate the project outcomes in the last quarter of the project, the decision was taken to move to Manager Self Service Approvals Not Required with effect from January 2023. Harrogate and District NHSFT were assured by both the audit of managerial transactions and feedback from the new payroll services team that this would be a significant and effective improvement.

I find ESR very straight forward and easy to use.  It’s very efficient for updating payroll of staff changes. I have access to staff’s annual leave, appraisal compliance, sickness absence easily. I find the notifications really helpful for staff’s compliance and also approving annual leave.

Community Admin Manager

Key Benefits and Next Steps

When the change of URPs occurred, it was well received by the managers and seen as an improvement. Managers provided feedback that when a change had been made by them, the change was immediate and required no further approval, helping them to work effectively, and if required, multiple changes could be made to a record. Data quality was seen to improve, with the changes being immediate, and the outsourced payroll team also noted a reduction in the carbon footprint for the organisation with the reduction of paper evidence e.g., forms etc.

Harrogate and District NHSFT, like all NHS organisations post Covid-19 pandemic, now has an agile workforce; having a solution available to Managers both on site and over the internet or VPN solution further supports effective decision making.

Work is ongoing to enable hires by Manager Self-Service, which means Harrogate and District NHSFT will be utilising all functionality within Manager Self-Service by Summer 2023.

It's great that data is now electronic and accessible with the introduction of this functionality. As the lead for Workforce information, having the MSS completely implemented across the Trust and throughout the Community gives me and my team a great sense of achievement.

Lee-anne Hutchison - Head of Resourcing and Workforce Information

I am extremely pleased we have now implemented this ESR Manager Self Service across the Trust and congratulate the team in doing so!

Angela Wilkinson - Director of Workforce and Organisational Development

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