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ESR Developments to improve user experience and meet the priorities of the NHS

The end of another busy year for the development of ESR has seen more than 60 changes introduced into the solution, including pay awards, legislative changes and technical upgrades.

Work continues on the final release of 2022 (scheduled for 30th December), and we thought it would be timely to reflect on some of the highlights for this year:

  • Payslip availability during periods of reduced service.
  • Legislative payroll changes including AfC Average pay changes for English organisations and the introduction of SAS pay progression.
  • The introduction of emails to support learning being delivered virtually.
  • Player Status for e-Learning classes can now be updated by the Learning Administrator.
  • Changes to improve Payroll and Pension processes.
  • Updates to Illegal Working Checklist in line with changes introduced by the Home Office.
  • Updates to the Immunisations and Vaccination values following collaboration with the National Occupational Health Steering Group.
  • Introduction of postcode lookup to the My Personal Information and My Applicant Details Portlets.
  • The addition of further values to help identify and support members of the Armed Forces Community.
  • Improvements to the My Applicant Details Portlet.
  • The introduction of a prompt on the My Personal Information and Equality and Diversity Portlets to remind employees to update or verify their information.

We continue to be grateful for the invaluable contribution and support we have received from all of 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.

All of the changes introduced in to ESR can be found in the Guide to Enhancement and Changes which accompany each release, which you can find on the ESR Hub.

Wellbeing Information: ESR Release 56

Changes planned for the December 2022 release will build on the previous developments in ESR to support employees. Following this release ESR will provide employees with options to easily self-record information through the existing My Personal Information portlet that will allow organisations to support the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Wellbeing info in ESR

Technical Developments and Upgrades

Alongside functional changes, technical changes to ESR also take place in order to safeguard service delivery and future proof the service. Such changes have been essential to ensure that the service remains at the forefront of using the latest technologies.

Changes introduced this year have seen us move the ESR Data Centres – including all of the technology that is used to run ESR - to new and improved hardware within state-of-the-art data centre facilities.  This was a large and complex change which will allow us to take advantage of improved storage and processing capabilities, support ongoing service growth and better prepare for future Service Transformation requirements.

Payslip Availability

To ensure that ESR remains compliant with legislation, NHS policy and continues to deliver the requests for change from users and stakeholders, we are required to take ESR and the ESR Hub offline to apply these essential changes in a safe manner. This includes pay awards and pension updates, system and security enhancements.

Unfortunately, this means that NHS employees cannot always log in to ESR or the ESR Hub during the identified period of unavailability - we appreciate the frustration this can sometimes cause.

To try and help resolve some of the issues employees experience when we have to take ESR offline, particularly when just wanting to log in and check their latest payslip, we introduced a change earlier this year.

ESR now makes the two most recent payslips available as soon as possible during periods of reduced service. This means that employees can securely view their latest two payslips via the ESR Hub website when the ESR service is offline.

If payslips are available via the ESR Hub, a holding page is displayed as shown below:

Payslip via the ESR Hub

‘Continue to Payslip Download’ will redirect users to the ‘View My Payslip’ page. Entering your usual ESR Username and Password for internet access then allows you select the ‘Download My Payslip’ button – your latest payslip for your primary assignment (job) will be available to view and/or download.

Helping to Maintain Good Quality Data

To further help improve employee data quality, a development was introduced to prompt employees to view and, if required, update their personal and equality and diversity information.

My Personal Info

The portlet now displays the status colour, associated text, and date of last update/verification. The status colour will change automatically along with the associated text based on the date the user last updated or verified their information within each portlet.

Two new notifications and e-mails have also been developed in support of this change and will be triggered in ESR where the user has not updated or verified their equality and diversity, or personal information, within the last 12 months (365 days).

Process Improvements

Engaging and supporting our users remains a key priority to the success of ESR - we continue to rely on the feedback and change requests to improve usability and efficiency.  Through this process we have introduced the following enhancements:

  • The wording on the ‘Your Payslip is Available’ email has been amended to provide additional details to reduce the number of queries organisations receive.
  • The Review Type has been added to the Review due notifications for managers and role holders.This information will provide clarification on which review requires action.
  • Changes to the wording on the Applicant Dashboard for users reviewing their bank account details
  • Payslip Wording for Gross Overpayments has been amended to reflect that the payment is in relation to an overpayment.
  • The Upcoming Classes Portlet has been in enhanced to include a ‘Notify Learners’ button.

Looking Ahead

Next year promises to be equally busy - considering expected demand for legislative, policy and ongoing user-led change. As always, our focus will be on ensuring we respond to these challenges and continue to deliver a first-class solution with increased efficiencies to help the NHS workforce.


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