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ESR Supporting the Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport is a solution, currently in private beta stage, which enables the secure transfer of identity, employment and clearance information for staff that are temporarily deployed to support the COVID-19 response. The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport provides a solid legal framework for staff and bank workers to be deployed into other NHS organisations and streamlines and speeds up the sharing of information, allowing staff to move promptly and with ease. The information is transferred securely by the staff member through their own smartphone, putting them in control.

Why is it needed?

Traditionally, verifying personal, identity and clearance information for new starters is a time consuming task, which must be completed by each NHS organisation – whether employing an individual on a paid or honorary basis. This has been identified as one of the key areas of necessary improvement when processing temporary new starters during the current pandemic. The concept of a digital staff passport for temporary staff also supports the broader requirements of the Enabling Staff Movement Programme being led by NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with NHSX.

How is ESR Supporting the COVID 19 Digital Staff Passport?

ESR supports this digital passport solution using an integration process which links digital systems (called an Application Programming Interface or API).

Information relating to employment checks and position details are available to transfer from the Employing Authority’s ESR system to the Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport, thereby helping to create their employment credential, reducing the manual input and time required to create the credential. The employment credential is issued via a secure digital connection via the Connect.Me app on the staff members own smartphone. At the new organisation the staff member will be invited to make a similar secure digital connection using the app to share their COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport employment credential with their temporary host NHS organisation. The information can only be provided for authorised users at NHS organisations registered with the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport.

The link between ESR and the Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport uses personal data input to the passport system to match ESR details and retrieve the employment checks and position data. This information is then presented to the passport HR user or nominated user. The screens below will show how this functionality is presented in the digital passport portal.

COVID Digital Passport

The passport HR user will select the correct assignment and check the information, before making the information available to the passport portal and ultimately, the employment credential available to the new NHS organisation.  The new NHS organisation may then swiftly on-board the individual and takes care of local orientation requirements, before they start work.

Please watch this short video to find out more about the Digital Staff Passport and how it works.

How data will be protected?

There are a number of strict controls in place to keep information processed by the Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport safe and secure. This involves NHS organisations agreeing to undertake a number of activities:

  1. The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport will require authorisation by the HR Director or nominated deputy, who will register the organisation as the Data Controller for information held within the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport. They will agree to the Terms and Conditions for the Digital Passport and the ESR API on behalf of their Authority.
  2. By acceptance of the T&C’s, the Employing Authority is giving permission for this data to flow from ESR and will need to nominate a minimum of 2 local system administrators for the service. These individuals will maintain the digital passport system nominated user records. It is at this stage the link with ESR is activated.
  3. To use the ‘Search ESR’ link within the passport portal, the nominated user must meet the acceptance criteria i.e. an active ESR record with the Digital Passport Administrator supplementary role allocated to them within the organisation’s ESR system and their ESR employee number recorded in the passport portal itself. This check will be performed each time they use the system.

Once the information for the passport holder is finalised on the passport portal the individual remains in full control of who they share their employment credential with. This means that they can decide who can and cannot access their passport details.

How do NHS organisations get involved?

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport is currently in private beta phase with 88 NHS organisations across the England, covering all regions. To find out which organisations are registered or for more information please visit the


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