London team demystify Workstructures

The ESR Regional Team in London recently held a Webinar to try and shed some light on Workstructures.  Workstructures are an essential part of ESR, but often, the significance is not fully appreciated.


Workstructures form the backbone of the entire ESR system, and it’s absolutely vital that they accurately reflect the structure of the organisation, as an incorrect workstructure can negatively impact so many areas of ESR, such as Finance & Establishment Control, Self Service, Recruitment and Reporting; creating un-necessary additional work.

Creating and amending a Workstructure can seem daunting at first, so the aim of the webinar was to provide a thorough understanding of how it works, and help the attendees to better understand why things need to be done a certain way.

The webinar was run by Helen Casey and Diya Aswani, the NHS ESR Functional Account Managers in London, and was open to attendees from across the country - with 55 people attending the hour-long session.

Helen and Diya covered the basics of setting up a Workstructure; from creating cost codes, organisation levels and locations to the full set up of positions, including specific reference to Doctors in Training.

As well as the basics, the session also covered the various naming conventions, coding requirements and other small, but important, details that need to be understood for a successful organisation structure in ESR.

Thank you so much. The webinar was very informative and very helpful. Thank you both for your efforts and hard work with the presentation.

Hasibah Akhram from North East London Foundation Trust

We are pleased that the webinar has proven to be popular and helpful. The ESR team has scheduled the webinar to be repeated on 20th April 2021 – registration details will be available via the ESR Hub events calendar shortly, and users with the appropriate URPs from all regions are welcome.

For more information about Workstructures please visit the ESR User Manual via the ESR Hub or by contacting your NHS ESR Functional Account Manager for guidance and support.


Royal Free Hospitals Move to Supervisor Self Service - “Optimise to Centralise”

In 2019, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust took the step to optimise its e-HR system. With a number of systems in use, the team wanted to streamline the process – making the process more efficient and simpler for all involved.   

To support managers, the trust decided to implement ESR Manager Self Service. They chose a rapid rollout method, with three underlying principles: 

  • If it can be conducted in e-roster then use e-roster;
  • If it cannot be conducted in e-roster then use ESR; and  
  • ESR will be the main source of employee information and all other systems will reconcile with information held on ESR.

SBS consultancy services were appointed to provide the project management resource. The SBS project manager worked alongside the Head of systems and processes (Employee Services) Sharon Churchley and the project support officers.   

The project was initiated in January 2020, but then deferred in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team were able to restart the programme on 6 July, with a target go live date of 1 October.   

One of the major challenges would be loading all the supervisor names into ESR against the employees.  With over 12,000 members of staff, many with more than one supervisor, it was estimated that this could take up to 900 hours.  The NHS ESR Central Team does offer an upload service to assist with supervisor uploads, however the lead time for this support would result in having to maintain the continual changes to the hierarchy alongside what had been sent for upload.  The lead time needed to be as short as possible and managed in a way that enabled updates to be provided as they occurred.   

This is where the NHS ESR Central Team could potentially offer something new to Sharon and the Royal Free London project team.  The BSA’s Workforce Services Directorate is currently piloting a new ESR Optimisation service. This service is a partnership between the NHSBSA’s NHS ESR team and a new Optimisation team to provide hands on support to enable Trusts to optimise their use of the NHS ESR solution. Following the pilot phase, which will conclude in December 2020, information about how this new approach will be offered to NHS organisations will be communicated in due course.   

Diya Aswani, the ESR Functional Account Manager and Joanne Milton, the Senior ESR Account Manager for London, felt that the Royal Free London could benefit from being invited to be an ESR Optimisation pilot organisation; it would help them meet their timescale and at the same time enable the new Optimisation team to work alongside the London NHS ESR team to test the new processes that had been developed as part of this approach.     

Following some initial scoping discussions, it was agreed that the NHSBSA’ ESR and Optimisation teams, via their Implementation Advisors, could carry out the manual entry of the supervisor details. 

Sharon compiled a comprehensive spreadsheet, detailing the nominated managers and additional supervisors.  This was a large task and Sharon’s team worked tirelessly to ensure that the correct managers were recorded.  Where information about managers could not be collected manually the information was populated according to the trust's Financial Scheme of Delegation list based on their budget approval level.   

Once this was completed and in a semi-static state, Sharon was able to remove records that had future-dated changes against them as they would be dealt with directly by her project team.  In the meantime, remote access to the Royal Free London’s VPD was granted to the ESR and BSA Implementation Advisors, enabling them to have direct access to the data for updating.  Smartcards were checked and URPs assigned.   

On Friday 18 September the spreadsheet was uploaded via a Service Request and passed onto the Optimisation team.  Over the next two days the data input work was carried out, with touchpoint meetings and audit checks also undertaken.  All the required data was uploaded and was quality checked by 30 September.   

Royal Free Stats

During the project 14,376 single pieces of data were entered by the ESR/ Optimisation teams taking approximately 200 hours.  Rigorous audit processes were in place throughput the project to ensure the data being entered was correct. 


On 1 October, in line with Royal Free London's project plan, Supervisor Self Service went live to the whole organisation and every employee had a named manager in ESR.     


Sharon ChurchleyTalking about the project, Sharon Churchley said:

The project is in its infancy and managers are still getting used to the new way of working, but the benefits of Manager Self Service are already evident, with users indicating a preference over the previous processes in use.   

The support and work undertaken by the NHSBSA ESR and Optimisation team was pivotal to the successful rollout of this project.  The interaction with all those involved via Teams meetings provided a real sense of reassurance and common understanding of the approach.   The work conducted eliminated additional administrative costs and enabled the RFL team to concentrate on other critical areas of roll out. They really did an excellent job, and reduced the pressure for us in the final project stages.” 


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