Programme news

New Self-Service Standards and Levels of Attainment launched

The procurement for the future NHS Workforce Solution is now well underway, and as you will hopefully know from previous updates, the procurement is part of the ESR Transformation programme that aims to deliver and enable wider workforce transformation as part of the national People Digital Collaborative across NHS England, and NHS Wales.

The use of Self-Service functionality within the ESR solution supports a wide range of process and efficiency improvements in relation to workforce management, workforce data and employee experience.

Self-Service capability remains integral to the requirements of the future NHS Workforce Solution. With this in mind, the NHSBSA ESR Team has developed, in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Wales, a set of new Self-Service Standards and Levels of Attainment. The Standards themselves act as a guide to local process and cultural change for both managers and employees, and the Levels of Attainment provide the building blocks to full Self-Service optimisation - helping Chief People Officers and their teams achieve greater digital capability and competence and improved workforce data quality.

The Standards and Levels of Attainment have been embedded into a new Self-Service Assessment.  The Assessment examines what digital systems, processes and cultures exist within organisations today, and will help Chief People Officers and ESR Leads to develop local plans that will deliver a rich digital experience for managers and employees, now and in the future.

Practically, the Assessment will help Chief People Officers and ESR Leads to understand how ESR is being used today, how many workforce systems employees are interacting with and highlight how organisations can improve their digital experience to realise the many benefits that ESR can deliver for the NHS today, whilst preparing organisations for the transition to the future NHS Workforce solution.

The Assessment is carried out by the NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager along with key stakeholders from NHS organisations. After completion, a comprehensive report summarises the current position against each Standard and its supporting Levels of Attainment. The objective is two-fold – firstly, to help organisations understand opportunities for optimising their use of ESR now, and secondly, begin to prepare for the future NHS Workforce Solution, including development of an ESR optimisation plan.

Our regional teams of ESR Functional Account Managers and ESR Implementation Advisors are working with organisations, providing expert guidance and support that will help Chief People Officers and their teams to better understand ESR as the national workforce solution and help them achieve the level of ESR usage, and wider digitisation, that best works for their people and their organisation.

The Regional Teams are already busy with many Assessments booked across all regions in England, and colleagues in NHS Wales have also committed to undertake their Assessment during this summer.

Lynne Shelton (MCIPD), Assistant Director of Pay & Systems, University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust & Interim Project Lead for Project Derbyshire said:

Being a pilot site for the new ESR standards and level of attainment assessment has been very beneficial.  It is supporting the current digital people work across Trusts in Derby & Derbyshire ICS to align and optimise the full functionality of ESR.  The new assessments, which are clear, concise and relevant, have helped in identifying inconsistencies in ESR use and approach, and the key areas we need to focus on for improvement and development.  This will help us to achieve alignment across the ICS and be prepared for the new workforce solution.  

Donna Watson, Head of Workforce Engagement & Information Systems at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust said:

The pilot was great to be involved in, very useful to understand the new ESR standards with the ESR Team supporting us throughout the journey. The assessment has helped  how we prioritise our optimisation of ESR to inform our state of readiness for the future NHS Workforce Solution.

If your organisation has not yet booked the Self-Service Standards Assessment don’t be concerned - our ESR Functional Account Manager teams will be contacting NHS organisations to discuss the process and get the Assessment booked.

ESR Developments

ESR continues to be developed to improve user experience and meet the priorities of the NHS.

ESR continues to be developed to improve user experience, meet the priorities and policy needs of the NHS and ensure the system remains legislatively compliant. This has led to another year of significant change. Whilst our focus now moves to delivering further developments planned for the next 12 months, it is important that we also take time to monitor and review the changes already deployed to ensure that they deliver the benefits to the NHS that we previously identified.

Having looked back at some of the key changes recently delivered, we have analysed the data and listened to user feedback to provide a summary of the benefits delivered.

Verification of My Personal and Equality and Diversity Information

To help improve employee data quality, a development to ESR was deployed in September 2022 to prompt employees to view and, if required, update their personal and equality and diversity information.

To facilitate this a status indicator was added to the Personal Details and the Equality and Diversity Portlets within Self-Service.My Personal Info

The indicator changes colour, dependent on the length of time since the information was last updated or verified.

Green     Up to 9 months after the latest update or verification

Amber    Between 9 and 12 months after the latest update or verification

Red        12 or more after the latest update or verification

In addition, an employee notification is triggered where the employee has not updated or verified their personal or equality and diversity information within the last 12 months (365 days).

Reporting of the verification dates can be found in ESRBI within the Summary and Detail pages of the NHS Employment Checklist Dashboard.  Further information is available within the ESRBI Online Dashboard Guide.


In the first six months following deployment (October 2022 – March 2023) - over 700,000 updates or verifications were made in relation to personal details. Additionally, around 350,000 were made in relation to Equality & Diversity information.

Consequently, this has contributed towards a significant improvement in the overall completion rates of My Personal and Equality & Diversity data at a national level.

In this period:

  • 7,600 additional employees recorded a disability in ESR.
  • The number of ‘Null/Blank’ disability records reduced by 10,500.
  • The number of ‘I Do not wish to disclose’ entries have decreased for both Religious Belief and Sexual Orientation.

Helen Pope, Workforce Intelligence Manager at Sussex Community NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations;

The portlets currently available for Equality & Diversity and Personal Details are great as they already simplify processes for users, especially those who are not so IT confident. The development to encourage users to check these on an annual basis will be brilliant as since moving to online payslips staff do not think about updating home addresses so much and contacts often get forgotten. It will also make the run-up for National Staff Survey and WRES / WDES submissions much less hectic for the workforce team as the update reminders will be spread across the year – I can’t wait to promote the development via our Staff Networks and Trust newsletters.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 55.0 & 55.1

Prevent Deletion of Protected Characteristics in Self Service

In January 2023, the ability for self-service users to update any of the following fields to replace a previously saved value with a blank entry has been removed.

  • Ethnic Origin
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religious Belief
  • Marital Status

ESR Developments - Equality & Diversity


The change helped to further improve Protected Characteristic data quality and declaration rates which provides organisations with information to demonstrate compliance with equality legislation and to comply with NHS data standards. The change also addressed a specific scenario whereby employees could remove data that had been previously collected and recorded by the organisation - they will now be presented with the full list of values to choose from, including ‘I do not wish to disclose’ if that is their wish.

Null/Blank records have significantly reduced over the last few years with only c.7% of employees having blank records for Religious Belief and Sexual Orientation compared with over 15% in 2015.

If users would like to further investigate their organisation’s data quality, including protected characteristics, the NHS Data Quality Dashboard within ESRBI can be used to highlight specific areas.  Further information is available within the ESRBI Online Dashboard Guide.

Joanne Penfold, HR ESR Support & Development Manager and eJob Planning Lead at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations;

The E&D portlet has made it much easier for employees to view and update this information. I was even more pleased (yes loud cheer) when ESR fields were protected in ESS so that employees cannot delete the values.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 56.2

Recording My Wellbeing Information

A change was delivered in December 2022 to enable employees to easily self-record their wellbeing information without the need for manager approval through the existing My Personal Information portlet. This change further supports organisations to support the health and wellbeing of their staff.

An additional tab named ‘My Wellbeing Information’ was added to the My Personal Information Portlet.

Several wellbeing roles were made visible and updateable by selecting either ‘Yes or No’ radio buttons, enabling employees to manage their own wellbeing information efficiently.

ESR Developments - My Personal Info


Since simplifying the way in which individuals record this information, there has been a significant increase of declarations with 95% of the new records added through Employee Self Service using the new My Wellbeing Information form.

Furthermore, the ability to manage wellbeing information through the Personal Information portlet has created further efficiencies via a reduction in process steps. It has also provided efficiencies by removing the reliance on managers and central HR teams to capture and update this information on behalf of employees.

Prior to the development there were only 1,000 active employees with Armed Forces related roles – this number has quadrupled in the months since the release.

The biggest increase for Armed Forces Related roles has been for Armed Forces Veterans, where over 1500 employees have recorded this information since 1st January. Prior to the development just 342 employees had identified as a veteran in all of the time the value has been available in ESR.

In the previous year only 90 employees had been recorded as a working carer, whereas since the introduction of the new supplementary role some 4,500 employees have declared that they are a ‘Working Carer’.

Joanne Penfold, HR ESR Support & Development Manager and eJob Planning Lead at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations;

The Staff Engagement team are very pleased with the introduction of the My Wellbeing Information part of the Personal Details portlet. It has been made much easier for employees to add and maintain and will hopefully increase the uptake of employees indicating they have external responsibilities.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in  Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 56.0 & 56.1

OLM Joining Instructions Emails Changed to a Meeting Request

In January 2023, the OLM Joining Instructions, which was previously sent as an email for a class enrolment, was changed to be sent as a meeting request.

The time for the meeting is populated using the Start Date, Time and End Date and Time of the Class. In addition, meeting requests have a default reminder of 1 day before the class, unless this is overridden using the ‘Remind Before Class Start Date’ field on the offering or class.

Any changes to class time, date or venue are also now sent as a meeting update. Class cancellation or Class withdrawal are sent as a meeting cancellation for the original meeting request.

All the changes to the class are now managed directly from a single calendar event rather than from several different emails.

Additionally, the custom text that could be added to the joining instructions by organisations was also increased and the fields that held the text were HTML enabled.

  • The text that could be added at offering level was increased from 450 to 2000 characters.
  • A new field that could also hold 2000 characters was added to the class form.

All of this is included in the body of the meeting request and can be automatically saved to the delegate’s calendar. 

ESR Developments - Learning meeting request


As the information is now all in one place, prompting learners with reminders to attend training, organisations are seeing a reduction in ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates for classes. Reducing the DNA rate ensures that education is delivered more efficiently as learners will be attending the first class they are booked onto, reducing rebooking’s and empty spaces on full classes, providing a cost saving for the organisations and increasing compliance.

Learners attending training via Teams can now directly launch the class from their Outlook calendar.

Since introducing the meeting requests, attendance has increased with the number of DNA’s falling from over 9% to 7%.

Angelo Cascarini, Internal Training Manager at Isle of Wight NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations:

The new learning notifications are going to be really helpful going forward! I had no idea the reminder notifications were coming, and I bet that will have a really positive impact on DNA’s.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 56.2

Further Information

We continue to be grateful for the invaluable contribution and support we have received from our users and stakeholders. Such contribution ensures the accurate identification, gathering and definition of requirements; meaning our pipeline of change continues to reflect both user and policy needs.

If you have any queries, then please contact your  NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager.

Why use the ESR Exit Questionnaire?

The NHS ESR Exit Questionnaire functionality invites leavers and employees with terminating assignments to complete a survey on their experience of their employing Organisation and is available to be implemented at both Trust-wide and assignment level.

In 2021, with input from NHS England and NHS Wales, the functionality was updated with a revised set of questions. The new questions reflected the NHS Staff Survey and National Quarterly Pulse Survey and enabled employees to self-declare their reason for leaving as well as introducing a free text field to add any further comments. In addition, ESRBI was updated to reflect these new questions, whilst maintaining previous questions to allow for historical reporting.

In collaboration with NHS England, the NHSBSA ESR Service Team has developed a new page within ESRBI NHS Staff Movements Monitoring Dashboard to support local retention strategies. The new page contains several new summary and detail reports for the Exit Questionnaire available to users of ESRBI. The analyses have been designed to provide greater strategic reporting over Exit Questionnaire data - including analysis of the number and percentage of completions and the responses provided over time.

NHS Exit Questionnaire Completions Analysis

EQ Completions

A number of the new reports use a score-based approach where a value has been applied to responses received.

EQ Score Table

  • Only NHS Exit Questionnaire Score Summary attributes a value of 0 to ‘no response received’.

NHS Exit Questionnaire Score Summary

EQ Avg Score

EQ Avg Score Table

By assigning a numerical value to the response, it enables organisations to rank overall scores grouped by a range of workforce items such as Staff Groups, Organisation Levels etc. Users can also review the average score by question to analyse changing responses and identify any emerging trends.

NHS Exit Questionnaire Analysis

EQ Avg Question

EQ Avg Opportunities

The analyses and further information can be found on the Exit Q. Analysis page of the NHS Staff Movements Monitoring Dashboard within ESRBI.

The ESR User Guide provides comprehensive detail on introducing the Exit Questionnaire at Trust level and at Assignment level.

Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment

The use of the ESR Exit Questionnaire is part of Standard 10 relating to Manager Self-Service in the new Self-Service Standards Assessment that launched in June. You can find out more information about the Standards and Levels of Attainment in this edition of ESR News here - 


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

New Recruitment API for Doctors in Training Pre-Employment Checks

A Case Study by the Lead Employer Trust, Northeast  - hosted by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


The Lead Employer Trust (LET) Northeast, hosted by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has been a customer of Civica (supplier of the TRAC Recruitment Management software) since April 2020.   The system was used solely for Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists in Training (DiT) to process their pre-employment checks. 

The LET have been a long-standing user of the NHS England Education’s Trainee Information System (TIS) interface with ESR and were realising the positive benefits from using this interface to automatically transfer the applicant records of new starters and rotating DiTs into ESR.  They were therefore keen to continue to use the TIS Interface. However, after the LET started using the TRAC system and had their first large intake of DiT in August 2020, it quickly became apparent that as the Applicant Records had already been created in ESR via the TIS Interface, the result was that there was an extremely large amount of data in TRAC which could not be automatically transferred to ESR due to there being no link between the two systems (as the link for the recruitment process only existed between TIS and ESR directly).  This data therefore needed to be manually input into ESR to complete the Applicant Record.  This data entry took the LET a number of months to complete in ESR. The result was reporting, and data quality checks were extremely problematic.

The Project

The LET worked collaboratively with the NHSBSA ESR Systems Integration Team and Civica colleagues to review this duplication of data entry and effort to explore a possible solution and agree a way forward to alleviate the resulting workload through the year - especially for the large rotation periods in August, October, and February.  

Key information from each of the following records was identified and confirmed as eligible for transfer from TRAC to the ESR Applicant record created by the TIS Interface:

Lead Employer - Info into ESR

A new bespoke API was developed which would enable NHS Organisations to continue to benefit from the use of the link between TIS and ESR to create the Applicant records and manage employment checks for DIT in a third-party e-Recruitment system. The agreed solution/API would provide a one-off feed to subsequently copy the employment checks for the DIT from the third-party E-Recruitment system into ESR to complete the existing Applicant record. 

Key Benefits

This is a generic solution and can be used by other e-recruitment suppliers or applicant tracking systems (ATS).

This supports the NHS People Plan - Enabling Staff Movement programme which aims to improve the onboarding processes of Postgraduate Doctors in Training (DiT) in line with national NHS objectives. There are approximately 50,000 DITs that rotate through NHS Organisations every year.

The benefit of the API solution has resulted in the automatic transfer of data into ESR, resulting in an approximate 50% data entry reduction from August 2020.  With an average of 1500 new starters per year within the LET, there has been a saving of approximately 250 hours in manual data entry on ESR for the LET’s new starter pre-employment checklist. The improved link/API provides us with a seamless link between TIS, ESR and TRAC ensuring our employee records are fully complete in time for the DiTs start date.

As a large Lead Employer of Doctors and Dentists in Training we are always looking for time savings. Being able to use both the TIS-ESR interface and the ESR-Trac API has great benefit to reducing data entry for all new starters.

Laura Sams, Deputy Head of People Services, Northeast LET

Next Steps

Further information on the Recruitment System API can be found on the ESR Hub

If you want to understand associated costs for your organisation and request access to the API, please raise a Service Request on the ESR Service Desk. This can be completed by using the following options: Request a new service > AC > ESR Interfaces > Other system interfaces.

Please note to use this API you will also need to have an active interface between your DiT Provider and ESR (TIS Interface).


Implementing the ESR Applicant Dashboard - Improving the Applicant Experience at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust.

With a vision to be the recognised leader in healthcare for women, babies and their families, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust delivers the highest standards of care.

Each year we deliver over 7,500 babies, carry out over 49,000 gynaecological inpatient and outpatient procedures, care for over 1,000 poorly & preterm new-borns, perform around 1,000 IVF cycles and have over 4,000 genetic appointments taking place. We believe that this, along with a strong dedication to research & innovation makes us the specialist health provider of choice in Europe for women, babies, and families.

Embarking upon our Applicant Dashboard Journey

Our Challenge

Janet Hinde, Workforce Information & Systems Manager, said:

We know that the onboarding experience is critical to the induction process.  It is about early engagement and evidence demonstrates the best experience for staff and the Trust is that this process commences before the new staff member starts their first day at work.  This is a gap for many organisations and one our Trust was committed to improve.  We were committed to provide a gateway and solid foundation to our employee journey.

We have been working in partnership with colleagues from the NHS Business Services Authority ESR Service Team to improve our use of the ESR solution and the experience of our workforce when using ESR.

 Previous projects have included:

  • Improving our Education & Training Data Quality;
  • Improving the Learning Experience for our employees;
  • Introduction of a virtual Induction via ESR;
  • Accurate Statutory & Mandatory training reporting.

The Trust has a clear ambition to drive improvements through ESR and have one centralised system for recording and reporting – one version of the truth. It was proving difficult to build momentum, and without accurate and complete records it would be difficult to raise the levels of confidence we needed to drive the engagement.

The implementation of the Applicant Dashboard was always part of our road map, but we needed to prioritise previous projects for the reason set out above.

A further challenge to implementing the Applicant Dashboard concerned the fact that our Recruitment Service is outsourced. It was important that clear collaboration was needed with our recruitment provider and internal stakeholders.

Our Approach

We set out a clear vision as to what we wanted our Applicant Dashboard to look like and mapped out all the components we believed would give the Applicant the best experience of joining our Trust.  We were aware of the flexibility within the ESR Applicant Dashboard of what could be included - so we set out clear objectives on what we wanted to achieve.

Some of these Objectives included:

  • Improve the onboarding experience for our new Applicants;
  • Ensure all the information applicants needed was in one place;
  • Speed up time to hire for all new starters.

Our Action Plan

We liaised closely with our recruitment provider as we knew some of our current processes would have to be amended, e.g., the offer letter had to be amended to ensure we were asking new applicants to reset their own password when first logging into ESR.

We had agreement, from the applicants, that we could hold their personal email address within ESR.

We gave ourselves enough time to build the Applicant Dashboard, learning from other Organisations and working closely with our NHSBSA ESR Implementation Advisors.

This was socialised within the Trust and sense checked with our ward managers at the regular meetings we have with them.


Pre onboarding process is the most crucial part of an employee's journey that shapes an employees' outlook towards their roles, responsibilities, and work culture. As a Trust, we have expectations of new recruits and the role they will hold; new employees also, in turn, will have high expectations when joining our Trust.  Our Applicant Dashboard provides a range of information including a video message from our CEO and Executive team to welcome them, access to Trust wide and local information, staff handbook, the opportunity to complete mandatory training if they wish to do so, and much more.

The ESR Applicant Dashboard helps both the employer and employee to shorten the learning curve, begins to facilitate understanding of some of the important information and goals, promotes the open communication up, down and across the organisation. This helps to reduce some of the stress when starting a new role.

Liverpool Women\'s Applicant Dashboard


During the month of December 2022, from the 43 applicants being sent their ESR log in information, 20 applicants logged onto the dashboard with 104 separate interactions.  This proves that the landing pages are useful and starting to become embedded into the recruitment onboarding experience for our new starters.

Whilst we have achieved much, there is still more to do. This includes a plan to expand on the Applicant Dashboard landing page to include information to support our international applicants; this will give them valuable information prior to coming to the UK and while settling into life in our region.

Janet Hinde added:

We remain focussed on our original challenges and in finding new and improved ways to capture, record and report accurately through ESR.  We firmly believe that having accurate data available, in a timely manner, will support the ongoing drive within the Trust to improve data that will ultimately lead to employee satisfaction and excellent patient service.

Commenting on the success of the implementation of the Applicant Dashboard, Rachel London, Deputy Director of Workforce, said:

The Applicant Dashboard has been a fantastic addition to the onboarding experiences for new starters at LWH. The recruitment process can be an uncertain time and it is a great benefit to be able to point candidates to the dashboard where they can access useful information about the Trust, their own department and familiarise themselves with key information and policies. It presents a positive and welcoming ‘face’ of LWH to candidates and will contribute to minimising drop-out rates. It is also a great benefit that candidates can complete their mandatory training before they start their role to ensure they have the right skills and experience to hit the ground running.

For more Information

For further information please contact: Janet Hinde, Workforce Information & Systems Manager  


Implementing Supervisor Self-Service at Cornwall Partnership NHS FT

Cornwall Partnership NHS FT are an NHS Community and Mental Health provider Trust.

They deliver care to people at home or in a hospital care setting to improve their physical and mental health. The workforce provides specialist support to people with dementia and a learning disability. Around 5,000 people make up the Trust, including doctors, nurses, therapists, administrators, and support staff. Over 500,000 people call Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly home, and the number of people they can support increases dramatically when people visit on holiday.

Following successful implementation and embedding of Employee Self-Service, with 98% of staff accessing this functionality regularly, the next natural step for Cornwall Partnership was to explore Manager Self-Service. The Self-Service functionality would also enable the Trust to achieve their aim of being able to provide access to key data, e.g., absence, turnover, staff numbers etc., for managers at the click of a button.

Paul Tyler, Workforce ESR & Data Manager explains:

During an initial pilot launched in 2021, we struggled to reach our required levels of engagement from managers. The Covid pandemic may have influenced this; there was learning for us in understanding the importance of engagement and changing mindsets of staff. Understanding why we use ESR was an important message to share – many managers saw ESR as purely the mechanism for paying our staff, with no concept of the wider functionality.

We decided that breaking down the rollout into phases of functionality rather than giving small groups of managers access at a time would be a better approach. This way we could limit the functionality initially open to managers and create a snowball effect of early adopters, encouraging others to access, so our initial pilot was with Supervisor Self-Service (Limited Access).

Smartcard access was a prerequisite for us, as all staff have a smartcard as part of their access to clinical systems.  This would future proof the system when extending access and upgrading the URP from Limited Access. We turned off manager access via username and password as we considered the risk of enabling this on non-NHS devices. As a result of this action several managers sought their smartcards, finding they had expired as they had only used their username and password to access ESR for Employee Self-Service.

The launch of the first phase, on 1st April 2023, gave all managers access at the same time. We ran twice weekly awareness sessions and gave clear guidance on the functionality we were initially concentrating on. Additional bespoke sessions for service areas have also been provided.

The first phase focused on reporting, access to staff information for completing contract change and termination forms and entering of appraisal completion dates. We developed local BI dashboards, based on the format of the existing reports managers already received from us monthly, setting the parameters so all they needed to do was open the relevant report and view or export to Excel if required. We have also developed local reports to be able to monitor access and target managers that may need additional support, either because they are not accessing, or they are entering appraisal information incorrectly.

We’re now just over two months since the phase 1 launch, and we have identified that support and clear guidance is key.  Whilst staff are quite comfortable accessing their payslips, being given access to a whole host of additional information and data for the staff they manage is a whole new world!  In addition to support, it is becoming evident that our team will need to evolve and upskill to be able to meet the additional demand for support from the 520 managers with access. We are excited to move into the realms of system administration, development, and end user training.

Future phases will look to widen the functionality used, including flexible working and potentially the full appraisal process, utilising forms in ESR, and building up to full access to ESR for managers, enabling them to make contractual changes (with approvals required) via Manager Self Service.

Using the ESR Property Register

Solent NHS Trust was established in 2011, and is a leading provider of community, mental health services and learning disability services to communities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Their workforce of over 5,000 staff delivers compassionate, person-centred care to people close to home, at all stages of their lives.

The organisation has utilised the ESR Property Register since June 2021 to record various assets and items to assist managers and other teams within Solent NHS Trust.

The Property Register function is available to different URPs (User Responsibility Profile) and includes national standard Business Intelligence (BI) reports, automated workflow notifications and informs/reminds role holders and Manager Self-Service users of property/assets to be returned when direct reports leave the organisation.

Laurie Hillman, ESR Manager at Solent NHS Trust (pictured right) explains:Laurie Hillman

The property register is functionality found within ESR and items can be added to ESR using various URPs:

  • Property Management
  • HR Administration
  • Administrator/Supervisor/Manager Self Service

Role Holders can also be nominated to receive automated workflow notifications advising when employees with property are leaving the organisation.

Who enters the information at Solent?

Although items can be added using different URPs, the ESR Team use the Property Management URP to add items for the Trust. This can be processed one record at a time or if you have several hundred, then processed as a mass update. If you wish to record something that is not on your property items list, you can create your own.

What can you record?

You can record whatever you want on the property register. Here are some of the items that are recorded at Solent:

  • Fuel Cards
  • Credit Cards
  • Prescription Pads
  • Laptops
  • Lease Cars
  • People Safe devices
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • AD Logins

You can have duplicate items with different asset information.  You can also have multiple start dates for items.

Why record these items?

Looking at the list of items you will see they are not all HR related. The ESR Team work with different departments across the Trust to record and update the information, which then allows us to run reports and share with teams so they can check their data.  Some of the teams we currently support are Finance, IT, Pay & Reward and Estates.

Real benefits of the Property Register:

  • At Solent, we have rolled out Manager Self-Service, therefore when a manager is processing a leaver, they are told which property register items the staff member has. This reminds the manager to ensure all equipment/items are returned, for example, laptops and mobile phones.
  • Staff may have to complete payments for lease cars/cycles or return items.
  • It reduces potential fraud, for example if a person leaves the Trust and still has a prescription pad.

Other benefits of the Property Register in ESR include the ability to monitor use of equipment (i.e. uptake of benefit schemes or equipment) or to plan future equipment requirements (i.e. equipment upgrades). Managers can view and update the property recorded for their direct reports. Employees can also view their property via the Employee Self-Service URPs. 


Working in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust to manage a business critical workforce challenge.

Barts Health NHS Trust delivers clinical services in East London and beyond, employing 25.5k staff.

In December 2022 Barts Health NHS Trust faced one of the largest TUPE challenges that it had ever been presented with as an organisation. Over 1300 colleagues were in the pipeline to join the organisation from SERCO, a non-NHS organisation, who do not use ESR to record employee data, meaning the Mass Organisation Change Process (MOCP) was not feasible for a transfer of data directly within ESR.

The ESR Service Team was able to perform a Mass Upload to make the new starters Applicants, but additional input was required to hire them as employees and add additional details to their employee records.

Barts - The Challenge & The Solution

The Project 

Facilitated by the NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager, the Barts Health NHS Trust Project Team and NHSBSA Workforce Optimisation Team developed a plan, including scope and timescales, with regular checkpoint meetings to keep the project on track.

The project consisted of two batches – c250 employee records for February 2023 and c1050 for May 2023.  The employee details that needed to be entered were for a mixture of weekly and monthly paid staff.  The new starters were also a on a mixture of AfC and Local T&Cs, and some had previous employment on the Barts VPD, whereas others were completely new to ESR. This led to a complicated mix of employment data for the Workforce Optimisation Team to understand and ensure data quality remained.  Along with employment data, pay-related details were also included to relieve pressure on the Barts Payroll Team.

The Preparation

Barts - The Prep

The Barts team further prepared by:

  • Collaborating with the NHSBSA Workforce Optimisation Team to agree the best layout of the data spreadsheet, ensuring clarity and maximising input efficiency.
  • Granting the Workforce Optimisation Team access to the Barts VPD (Virtual Private Database) after receiving names, smartcard numbers, and ID documents from the team.
  • Establishing an agreement with the Workforce Optimisation Team regarding the audit and checking process.

The Result 

The NHSBSA ESR Service Team and Workforce Optimisation Team provided holistic support to Barts Health NHS Trust:  Barts - Completed

  • used ESR mass upload for applicants
  • provided expert functional advice
  • supported bespoke data input

The Project in numbers 

Barts - Project in numbers


Anne-Marie HowlettThe project ran smoothly from start to finish, thanks to the team's excellent communication and clear processes. The NHSBSA Workforce Optimisation Team were highly engaged and approachable, providing daily progress reports.

We had confidence in the quality checks implemented, and although we performed our own checks, the accuracy level was consistently high with minimal errors.

Anne-Marie Howlett

HR Systems Manager at Barts Health NHS Trust

Liam SlatteryOur overall experience using the NHSBSA ESR Service Team and Workforce Optimisation Team for support was a positive one. We benefited not only from a cost saving by not having to take on additional bank staff, but also by time we saved within our own team, not having to provide training and time spent on administrative and logistical tasks such as arranging new smartcards, building access passes and sourcing additional laptops etc. It also took away the burden of finding solutions to any unplanned eventualities such as sickness during the tight inputting deadline. ​

We are grateful for the support we have had from the NHSBSA ESR Service Team and Workforce Optimisation Team.

Liam Slattery

Director of People Services - Barts Health NHS Trust

Further Information 

If your organisation wants to know more about the benefits of optimising ESR and how the NHSBSA ESR Service Team and Workforce Optimisation Team can help you, please contact your NHSBSA ESR Regional Functional Account Manager. 

Visit the ESR Hub website - for their contact details.

Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life