Programme news

ESR supporting the NHS: People Plan for 2020/2021 – action for us all

NHS People Plan 2020/21 Front Cover

The NHS People Plan sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS, focusing on how we must all continue to look after each other and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging, as well as action to grow our workforce, train our people, and work together differently to deliver patient care. ’The principles underpinning the action through 2020/21 must endure beyond that time’.

The NHS People Plan reinforces that the NHS needs to embrace new ways of working which is supported by technology and ensures that NHS organisations have a strong focus on looking after their people.

The People Plan sets out a roadmap of how the NHS will;

  • Overhaul recruitment and promotion practices
  • Highlight existing and deep-rooted inequalities
  • Tackle bullying and harassment
  • Increase flexible and remote working
  • Improve Talent Management
  • Expand e-Learning

Recruitment and promotion practices

ESR is a key partner in delivering the national Enabling Staff Movement Programme.  ESR provides functionality that enables staff to easily move from one NHS organisation to another, leading to a more mobile, flexible and agile workforce. This supports recruitment for Doctors in Training as well as wider NHS recruitment.

  • Enabling a more robust new starter process with reduced repeated administration;
  • Enabling employment records to be updated online instead of using paper forms;
  • Having an on-boarding process that is efficient and professionally managed;
  • Having previous training and skills records recognised and transferred;

Equality & Diversity and Bullying & Harassment

ESR can play a key role in highlighting existing inequalities – or equally, demonstrating they do not exist.  Equality and diversity information (including ethnic origin) for all staff is held within ESR, and can be monitored and reported on at any time using Business Intelligence reporting.  (This also meets a requirement for the Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES) and Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES).

The People Plan sets out to ensure that all employers are responsible for preventing and tackling bullying, harassment and abuse against their staff.  ESR Employee Relations functionality records information relating to grievances, disciplinary and capability.

Flexible and remote working

Currently ESR communicates part time working requirements for Doctors in Training through its link with Health Education England. In addition, from December 2020 ESR will further support flexible working by including the ability for NHS employees to request a change to more flexible working via Employee Self Service, enabling employees and their managers to agree flexible working arrangements. 

From working in partnership with NHS England & Improvement, two new competencies have been developed within ESR that allow employees to add ‘Working Carer’ and ‘Working Carer Passport Holder’ to their records (with manager approval). 

Improving Talent Management

Talent Management is key to ensuring there is greater prioritisation and consistency of diversity in talent being considered for senior NHS roles. The Talent Management functionality within ESR provides organisations with capability to manage and monitor the careers of their employees.

Expanding e-Learning

ESR provides an online e-Learning platform for all NHS staff.  By utilising ESR Employee Self Service NHS employees can access over 1,000 free e-Learning programmes. 

DYESRYou can read the full ESR Supporting the NHS; People Plan for 2020/2021 – action for us all by visiting 

Introducing the My Applicant Details portlet

Following on from our article in the September edition of ESR News, about how a number of Trusts in the North West and Yorkshire have used the ESR Applicant Dashboard during the COVID-19 pandemic to speed up recruiting of additional staff, in this month's edition we focus on the latest enhancement to the dashboard - the My Applicant Details portlet.

The Applicant Dashboard allows future employees access to the information held about them, with the ability to confirm this is accurate or update and provide further details where amendments are needed prior to starting their employment.

screenshot of the applicant dashboard

The information about the applicant is taken from source data wherever possible to maintain accuracy and integrity. This means that the information displayed to the applicant when they login to the portal is predominantly that which they have already entered and which is subsequently transferred either through the recruitment system interface or taken from the previous NHS employments using the Inter Authority Transfer (IAT) process.

A recent new addition to the ESR Applicant Dashboard was the introduction of the My Applicant Details portlet. This new portlet has a step-by-step process flow taking the applicant through key items which are required as part of the recruitment process, including the confirmation or correction of personal details, emergency contacts and bank account details.

Depending on the role, the latest information regarding any immunisations and vaccinations the applicant has received can also be displayed, together with the ability to confirm or provide equality and diversity details.

Some of the driving principles behind the ESR Applicant Dashboard are to reduce the reliance on paper based forms in the NHS, lend some consistency to the key information requested of applicants during the recruitment process and to help ensure the experience of transitioning from applicant to employee is a positive one.

Much of the information now available to applicants was identified through an NHS England and NHS Improvement reference group which was established to review new starter forms used across the NHS and to recommend process improvements.

screenshot of the applicant dashboard

There is more information available about the Applicant Dashboard in the functional brochure which you can access by clicking here. For additional information there is also a guide to customising the Dashboard that organisations can use to display (for example) any additional information applicants might need, or a welcome message from the Chief Executive. You can access the guide here.

Join the waste revolution and switch to online payslips using ESR

Many of us have become more aware in recent times of the environmental challenges of 21st century living, and we are all trying to do our bit to reduce waste and have a more positive impact on the planet.  One way in which the NHS can positively support this is by reducing paper waste.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a lever for change for many organisations as some of their staff had to move from office to remote working, making the receiving, handling and distributing of paper payslips outdated, inconvenient and unsafe.

Between March and June 2020 an additional 314,000 employees switched to online payslips using ESR.

During August 2020 we reported that more than 1.6 million NHS staff on ESR (that’s 78% of the NHS workforce using ESR) access their online payslip via ESR Self Service, and that number continues to grow.

In July 2020 approximately 455,700 employees received paper payslips across the NHS, the majority of which will be filed away until they are needed for proof of earnings, and yet online payslips are available via ESR to all NHS employees with an ESR record.

More and more NHS organisations are now seeing the benefits of switching off their paper payslip processes and empowering their staff to enable them to access their online payslips immediately when made available, often before payday, at a time to suit them. Historical payslips are also available, for ease of reference.

As part of our latest campaign to encourage all NHS organisations to switch to online payslips we have published a suite of new material that includes a new easy seven step guide, a full end to end implementation guide and helpful FAQs.  You can access all these resources via the ESR Hub at 

Switch to Greener, Cleaner, Safer 

Watch our video to learn more about the impact of switching to online payslips.

Contact your NHS ESR Regional Functional Account Manager team for more  expert advice and guidance.

New NHS ESR Implementation Advisors join the team

The NHS ESR Central Team is delighted to welcome three new Implementation Advisors who have recently joined the team.

The team of Implementation Advisors has been in place across the North, Midlands and East and South of England since late 2019, working alongside the NHS ESR Functional Account Managers to provide more hands on support to NHS organisations who are implementing ESR functionality for their managers and employees. 

To date the team have supported 96 implementation projects and with their knowledge and expertise they have supported ESR Leads, HR and Recruitment teams and Learning and Development Leads to enable them to use more of the ESR functionality that is available.  

Our newest team members; Joanne Stanger, Karen Ledsham and Ghatera Sadegh have all very recently joined the NHS ESR Implementation Advisor team and are working within the South, Midlands and East and London regions.

Karen Ledsham – Midlands and East of England

Karen first began her life in the NHS working as an IT Service Desk Analyst for South Warwickshire Foundation Trust in 2009, and was approached 9 months later to join Arden & GEM CSU as an Office 365 and SharePoint administrator. Her knowledge of computers and systems took her to Arden & GEM CSU HR Team, where she managed the Electronic Staff Record as a Workforce Officer for just under a year. She went on to extend her knowledge of the Oracle Learning Management System and was promoted to the OLM e-Learning Lead in 2019.


Joanne Stanger – South of England

Joanne joined the NHS in 2008, working with Wiltshire Primary Care Trust before moving to Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, having previously worked for a local authority in the leisure industry. Her NHS roles were based on learning & development, implementing, and focusing on OLM.



 Ghatera Sadegh – London

Ghatera joined the NHS in 2012 as Administrative Support at Imperial NHS Trust. She was introduced to ESR in 2013 as a Medical Staffing Advisor. Her main role was setting up junior doctors on ESR. Ghatera joined Central North West London in 2016 as an Employee Service Advisor before moving to become the HR People Service Partner where she was also a lead for ESR - responsible for ESR Self Service for the Trust.


Our team of Implementation Advisors can provide you with project management and implementation guidance as you embark upon your journey to maximise your use of ESR.

Contact your NHS ESR Regional Functional Account Manager to find out how your regional Implementation Advisor/s can support you.

Midlands & East of England

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust – Journey to Manager Self Service

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust (GEH) provides hospital and community based services to more than 300,000 people and has a headcount of around 2500.  GEH went live with Manager Self Service (MSS) with approvals in April 2020.

GEH implemented MSS to streamline and improve their processes, and give their managers greater control over their staff. Prior to implementing MSS, GEH used Easy eForms.  Managers would enter changes into Easy and Payroll would then manually input them into ESR.  Moving to MSS removed this duplication of effort as manager changes are automatically entered into ESR following approval from the Workforce Team.  Removal of the Easy system saved GEH £7,000 per year, as well as the removal of data entry from their Payroll supplier which also resulted in a further cost saving.  Incorrect and over payments due to late input of changes were also an issue, the Workforce Information Manager, Sandra Hayes, calculated a significant amount of overpayments had been made in one quarter alone.

To rollout MSS, the Trust developed a campaign called ‘Own It!’ – a message that would engender a sense of empowerment for employees; ensuring their own information is correct, and to managers; giving them greater control of their staffing information and allowing them to manage.  GEH adopted a phased approach, implementing MSS within a three month timeframe, initially using it for absence input only, and then progressing to utilisation of the majority of MSS functionality for assignment changes, such as hours’ changes and transfers.  Four members of the Workforce Team were responsible for the rollout alongside their usual day job, no additional resources were provided.

An oversight group was established which was made up of several staff groups including Staff Side, IG, Learning, Finance, eRostering, Medical Staffing, HR, IT and RA Team for Smartcard distribution.  A lot of engagement with IT was necessary to ensure that all relevant PCs were tested and updated to enable ESR to be accessed and complied with the MM-0100 guidance.  A detailed rollout plan was developed which focused upon rolling out MSS throughout GEH one department at a time, starting with IT and HR and helpfully most issues were identified from the initial first two groups that went live.

To build the staff hierarchy, the Workforce Team met with managers to understand their set up, ensuring things such as shared responsibilities and additional supervisors were accounted for. Each ESR Workforce team member worked exclusively with a Directorate, this helped them to become familiar with their ‘go to contact’. This approach worked well and it even became a bit of a competition to get each area live!   To ensure MSS works successfully, GEH knew the importance of ongoing supervisor hierarchy maintenance, so a monthly check is performed to ensure all individuals have supervisors. 

Training for MSS was initially delivered in auditoriums where managers were also supplied with information packs which provided links to ESR Education as well as bespoke GEH leaflets.  The COVID Pandemic meant this had to change and training sessions are now undertaken via MS Teams; this approach is also used for ongoing support.  A generic email help box has been set up to handle queries on an ongoing basis.

The main benefits of MSS for GEH, notwithstanding the cost savings and removal of duplication of effort as identified earlier, are many including;

  • Employee empowerment - employees are able to see their change has been performed by their manager in a correct and timely manner, making the process more open and transparent.
  • Managers are also able to manage better – giving them visibility of compliance, learning, appraisal, absence information and lots more.
  • There is no lost paperwork, and as MSS is fully auditable via the Change Event Log BI report which shows when the change was entered, by whom and the approver etc., organisations can view the whole story so issues can be resolved quicker.
  • Managers have more time for quality activities – when previously using Easy, at the end of month managers would be under pressure to enter all changes, now they are able to enter changes throughout the month via MSS they no longer have the end of month rush.
  • Absence reporting is now much more accurate and current. Previously absence reporting was always two months behind, but as managers now input absence as it happens, which is imperative for COVID reporting, reports can be run at the beginning of the month for the previous month.

Next on GEH’s ESR journey is to rollout Appraisals replacing the requirement for paper, as well as for managers to start doing their own reporting to monitor more closely changes in the workforce, such as non-compliance, staying up to date with professional registration and being able to plan their workforce.

Kerry Rooke, NHS ESR Functional Account Manager for GEH said...

GEH were very clear right from the outset on their plan which ensured they met their tight deadlines.  Their strategy to ‘keep it simple’, assigning Manager Self Service to all instead of a mixture of Supervisor and Manager Self Service URPs worked well for them during implementation, and continues to work well for ongoing maintenance.  Their choice to use the majority of MSS functionality has benefited them greatly, giving managers the ability to make pay impacting changes, with visibility to the employee, greatly reducing incorrect and over payments.

Watch out for the Case Study about George Elliot’s journey to implement Manager Self Service in the coming weeks.DYESR

If you want to know more about how Manager Self Service can support for workforce strategy visit our Discover your ESR website or contact your NHS ESR Regional Account Manager,

East of England holds its first Manager Self Service Open Q&A Event

In June and July, 22 NHS organisations took part in the first Manager Self Service (MSS) open Q&A event in the East of England.

The three part event was hosted by the East of England Self Service/Recruitment Special Interest Group to look at the use of Manager Self Service and how it can benefit NHS organisations.

The first two of the sessions in this series were delivered by David De Lisle (North West Anglia NHS FT) and Laura Neligan (Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust) who shared their experiences of implementing Manager Self Service and highlighted both the challenges and benefits so that other NHS organisations could learn from their journey.

Following on from the trust led sessions, in August there was a Q&A event that was open to all organisations in the region that had an interest in MSS, giving them the opportunity to ask questions amongst their regional colleagues and peers. The joint SIG chairs, David De Lisle and Laura Neligan, who each ran one of the trust led MSS Sessions along with the regional ESR Functional Account Manager, Steven Finney, were on the ‘panel’, to provide answers and discussion on questions raised.

This was a first of its kind for the region in terms of holding an event with no set agenda, other than to invite questions from the audience. Attendees were encouraged to join the event with a prepared list of questions, to enable the event to be engaging and as useful as possible to the audience. 

Self Service within the East of England has always been relatively well used, although Manager Self Service has seen limited uptake. Steven Finney gave an overview of the region as an introduction to the session, providing details of the uptake of all levels of Self Service and the number of transactions being completed.  

As of June 2020, the regional Self Service stats showed the following:

  • Manager Self Service: 5 organisations had implemented, 2 were in progress and 11 were planned/considering.
  • Supervisor Self Service: 21 had Implemented, 6 were in Progress and 8 were planned/being considered.
  • Employee Self Service: all but one organisation have implemented ESS.

Transactions undertaken:

  • 98k changes had been made through Self Service.
  • 198k changes had been made through Core Forms.
  • 500 applicants had accessed the Applicant Dashboard and made 3200 changes.

The use of Employee and Supervisor Self Service is wide spread across the region, and the two organisation overview sessions greatly helped to demonstrate that it is functionality that should be given serious consideration.

Some lively discussion and debate

Audience participation was essential to the success of the session, and the region did not disappoint with numerous questions raised, covering all aspects of Self Service. One area of particular focus was around the Approvals Process for assignment transactions, with an in-depth discussion revealing that there is more than one way to approach this. Different approval transactions can be actioned by different teams, by reassigning the Approval Notification - for example, an increase in hours being reassigned to the Finance Team for approval. The key take away point for the audience was to ensure the system is used in a way that supports local processes and makes it simple for the user to complete what they need to do.

The misconception that Establishment Control is required in order to implement MSS was also a topic covered in the session: 

Although it is considered best practice, so as to simplify the Approvals Process, Manager Self Service is not reliant on establishment control being set up within ESR.

There were questions raised around the management of absences and whether these could be transferred in to ESR automatically from 3rd party rostering systems:

There is an interface available through the ESR Systems Integration Team that provides this functionality, which led to discussion around how the use of ESR BI Agents could help to notify the manager of Occupational Codes within the Rostering system and that the date the roster system needs to be locked down each month.

During the course of the discussion the panel were asked if MSS can be used with a 3rd party Payroll Provider:

A number of attendees in the audience confirmed that they had successfully implemented MSS using a 3rd party Payroll provider. The primary difference being they are required to run a BI report to identify any manager comments to provide the Payroll Provider with additional information - where required for certain changes.

Whilst looking at the additional benefits of MSS the use of the Property Register functionality was highlighted, as this enables managers to record information about items specific to the employee;

This was seen hugely beneficial during organisations response to the COVID crisis, where many organisations have had to move to remote working and provide equipment. It not only enables the organisation to keep track of what equipment employees have taken home, but also to record FPP Mask information on the make and models in use. You can read more information about the new Property Register item for FFP3 Face Mask in ESR Release Notice RN454 on the ESR Hub.


In Conclusion

The general feedback from attendees that took part in the sessions was very positive, with people finding it useful to listen in to the discussion and have the ability to ask questions specific to their situation. These sessions have proven to be a great way for organisations to learn from others that have successfully implemented MSS, and in particular being able to ask key questions to help them to understand what is involved. More importantly the sessions were a great way to bring people across the region together and provide some valuable peer to peer support.

Steven Finney, the NHS ESR Functional Account Manager for the East of England said …

I would highly recommend that organisations look to run more sessions like this to develop their ESR knowledge and to also build relationships.  Sessions like these can help to create a supportive network that can enable organisations to move to a position of being able to roll out Self Service and other areas of ESR functionality, smoothly and efficiently with the support of the regional NHS ESR Team.

I think all the sessions highlighted that the benefits of implementing Manager Self Service are clear to see.

More Information

The NHS ESR Regional Team is ready to support organisations with their Manager Self Service projects and the NHS ESR Implementation Advisors are an additional resource that can work closely with organisations, offering support, guidance and resources, such as PID/templates and answer Self Service hierarchy queries where needed.DYESR

Contact your NHS ESR Functional Account Manager if you would like to discuss your Manager Self Service options. 


Imperial College London's show tell about Manager Self Service is a big hit

Following the success of the Manager Self Service (MSS) implementation at Imperial College London, the team were recently invited to show case their project to their peers across the London region and the wider NHS.  This gave them the opportunity to share their lessons learnt and also to explain how as a large busy London Acute Trust they are using Manager Self Service.

Manager Self Service was implemented in the Trust just over 18 months ago. The success of the project had many factors, but dedicated sponsorship and leadership from the top of the organisation was imperative and enabled them to drive the project successfully forward.

On Friday 17th October Raj Laxhman and Alex Horn (pictured) from the project team at Imperial College delivered a virtual show and tell session on ESR Manager Self Service. The session was delivered via MS Teams with 60 attendees, which was a fantastic turn out!

Raj and Alex are well versed in their ESR knowledge and processes, so this enabled them to put together a well-considered and meaningful interactive presentation.  Many specific questions were asked on how ESR Manager Self Service was rolled out at and how it is maintained at Imperial, and from the feedback the London NHS ESR team received following the session, it was clear that sharing their knowledge and experience was very helpful for organisations that are yet to fully implement Manager Self Service.

Having access to tried and tested documentation can be really helpful if you are looking at planning your own implementation, and since the show and tell session Raj and Alex have shared their slides with all the attendees as well as their project plan and guidance documents with those attendees who have since contacted them.

Anyone considering implementing ESR Manager Self Service and wanting to know more about how to approach it can contact Raj Laxhman as Alternatively, you can contact your NHS ESR functional Account Manager for further information and guidance.

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