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Organisations are embracing the new ESR Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment

In June this year the new ESR Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment was launched.

The Assessment examines the digital systems, processes and culture that exists within NHS organisations today and is designed specifically to help Chief People Officers (CPO) and ESR Leads undertake the first stage to the wider readiness activity as part of their transition to the future NHS workforce solution. The assessments help CPOs, and their teams develop local plans that will improve the quality and types of workforce data in ESR and deliver a rich digital workforce experience for managers and employees now and into the future.

This is intrinsically linked to 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.

As part of the launch of the Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment each NHSBSA ESR regional team developed a rollout plan that would identify when organisations would be invited to undertake their new assessment. This was determined by the date of their previous ESR Assessment, but it also included prioritising those NHS organisations that are People Promise Exemplars, Scaling People Services Vanguards and ICB systems such as Derbyshire who are developing a blueprint for workforce transformation, that includes ESR optimisation as part of the People Digital collaborative.

Since June, the level of engagement from organisations has been excellent. At the end of November, 187 organisations had completed their Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment ESR Assessment and a further 57 organisations have a date planned in the diary post December into the New Year. This will mean that 243 organisations out of 307 have completed  or have an ESR Assessment booked.

Following the ESR Assessment we have started to build a picture of the usage of ESR. The graph below demonstrates the current picture in England.

The ESR assessed levels of attainment have confirmed how well organisations are using ESR. particularly in relation to Standards 1, 4, 6 and 8 in which most organisations are operating at Level 2. These Standards are all related to the use of Employee Self Service and enhancing the experience of the user.

The graph below shows the picture across Wales in relation to the Assessed Levels of Attainment. This also highlights a very similar picture in terms of those organisations using ESR to Level 2 in relation to Standards 1,4,6 and 8.  The other assessed level of attainment to note in Wales is in relation to Standard 6 which concentrates on NHS organisations transferring NHS Employment and Training data. This also confirms that organisations are ensuring that employees are having the best possible experience of using ESR via Employee Self Service.

The ESR Assessment has been extremely well received by Chief People Officers and their Deputies from across the NHS.

I just wanted to say what a helpful process this seems to have been and is certainly helping us to drive some improvements in the way we work. I know we are working on plans and have established a clear oversight arrangement internally for this and other workforce digital projects which will allow us to monitor progress.

Lisa Ward, Director of People, North West Ambulance Service.

I was keen for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to undertake the new ESR Self Service Standards Assessment at our earliest opportunity. Strengthening our employee experience remains at the core of our transformation programme and I recognise the role workforce systems and data plays into this. The new format of the assessment and the alignment to the 10 digital workforce standards has provided assurance in terms of our current digital maturity levels and supported the development of our onward optimisation plan. The reports are easy to understand and informative and support benchmarking with our peers and the sharing of good practice. Thank you to our Functional Account Manager for facilitating the assessment and the onward optimisation support.

Karen Ceesay, Deputy CPO at University Hospitals Leicester.

With our ever changing and evolving technological landscape, the importance of a well-functioning and efficient workforce management system and system of audit and accountability cannot be overstated. I would like to thank the ESR team for working with Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust for the new Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment and hope that our contribution has provided some valuable insights into workforce practices and processes, including the need to consider other internal solutions and the impact reports can have on a Trust board. As an outcome from the assessment, we are looking to conduct a pilot rollout of MSS within the organisation in early 2024.

Andrew Collins-Mills, Associate Director Workforce Systems, Planning & Temporary Staffing

The ESR Standards assessment and subsequent discussion at our optimisation action planning meeting, were pivotal to understanding what scope was available for support and guidance as we had underutilised ESR historically.

Our NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager, Diya was instrumental in helping us to get our ducks in a row, including sorting our occupation codes. 

The prompt responses from Diya to resolving key challenges helped us avert any major issues through this journey.  The flexibility of the optimisation planning and the ‘alongside’ approach with our team has meant they can become equipped and developed skills at pace.

Gem Davies, Chief People Officer, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Action Planning

Following the Assessment, the CPO and ESR Lead is sent their Assessment report. The report details the levels of attainment score for each of the ten standards as agreed jointly between the organisation and their ESR Regional Functional Account Manager (FAM). An action planning meeting is then scheduled to agree the next steps. This will include agreeing what their local ESR Optimisation plan may include and how that supports the ambitions of their People Digital plan.


Mike Winstanley, Senior Account Manager for the North of England said:

Once a plan is developed the NHSBSA ESR regional team can provide a range of options to help organisations. Support may vary from help with drafting project plans to sharing 'how to guides' and guidance and further support to get projects established. This can include identifying where our dedicated ESR Implementation Advisors can provide implementation guidance, documentation, and expertise, but it can also include identifying if the NHSBSA Workforce Optimisation Team could provide some project resource and how that resource is commissioned.”

At the end of November 67 action plans were already in place following ESR Assessments.

If you haven’t yet been invited to undertake  your Self Service ESR Assessment, your NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager will be in touch in the very near future. However, if you do wish to request an ESR Assessment then you can  contact your ESR Functional Account Manager, and they will book you a date for this to be completed.







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