September 2020

Programme news

Introducing the new ESR Hub

As part of NHS ESR’s continued commitment to improving the experience for all ESR Users we’re making some changes to the ESR log in page.

From Monday 5th October 2020 the log in page will look completely different to how it looks today.

Working with ESR users to design the new log in page, will provide a content rich web page – the ‘ESR Hub’, with lots of useful ESR updates and information. 


As part of the change to the landing page there will also be a new log in button for the ESR Portal.  On the ESR Hub landing page users will find a 'Login to ESR' button in the top right hand corner.

ESR Digital Strategy

The launch of the new ESR Hub is phase one of the ESR digital strategy to bring all the information that is available across a number of ESR websites into one place.  Over time, we will migrate more content and information into the ESR Hub and eventually, close the existing websites down.

Easy Access

Phase one includes:

  • a new Resources portlet. This will give you access to all the information and user guides that are currently located in Kbase. From 5th October you will no longer need to log in to Kbase;
  • a new portlet that will take you to ESR Education online where you can access our suite of ‘how to’ captivates;
  • notification of planned downtime to help you plan around when the ESR system will be unavailable;
  • guidance about resetting your ESR password;
  • a portlet to help you search for your local ESR System Administrator;
  • links to other services within the NHSBSA Workforce Services Directorate such as NHS Pensions and NHS Jobs;
  • once logged into your ESR Portal dashboard you will be able to navigate between the Portal and the ESR Hub landing page to access User Notices and other operational communications.
Phase 2, which will involve us starting  close down of some of the existing ESR websites is being mapped out, and information will be shared with you via our usual communications channels in the coming weeks and months.

NEW:  Watch our video to learn more about the new ESR Hub

ESR Supporting the Workforce response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 introduced unprecedented demand on NHS services, and with that came the need for more clinical and non-clinical staff.  However, the priority of recruiting more staff hasn’t been the only issue NHS Trusts have faced - as with lockdown came a change to the way many of us work.  ‘Work at home if you can’ has become the key message and whilst this presented a number of challenges for staff alongside managing new demands, this also presented a challenge for Trusts who found themselves having to redeploy staff into roles that they wouldn’t have done in normal circumstances. 

To help and support Trusts manage some of these issues, the NHSBSA ESR team developed system solutions to support organisations in their plans to manage the impact of COVID-19.  The image below provides a summary of the changes that have been made to date:

Recognising the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic is having on the daily operations of the NHS, the functionality within ESR can help organisations manage a range of operational workforce challenges. To further help organisations we launched the ESR COVID-19 Resource Hub in April 2020.

The Resource Hub is tailored to support employees, managers and corporate teams with helpful fact sheets providing simple step-by-step guides.

  • Fact sheets on how set up remote access to ensure that employees can log in to the ESR Portal from home to view ESR online or undertake COVID-19 related e-Learning;
  • How to hire returning front line workers so as to meet the demands of increasing patient numbers;
  • How to report both locally and nationally on COVID-19 related sickness absence; and
  • How to support working carers.

….plus, lots more useful guidance across a wide range of workforce related issues. 

The Hub was the first place I looked for ESR/COVID-19 related information rather than trying to go back through all the user notices, and I always make sure I read your emails for the latest information too!’

Amanda Beaumont, Senior HR Manager - Workforce Information & Systems.  Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

During the course of the Pandemic the Resource Hub has been updated to ensure that the latest guidance on how ESR can be used is reflected in the fact sheets. From the usage statistics, and feedback, it is clear that this simple easy way to access the latest ESR guidance has hit the mark for users; since it went live the Resource Hub has been accessed over 130,000 times.

To discover more information about the ESR COVID-19 Resource Hub visit

BI Data Quality Dashboard enhancements


The NHS Data Quality Dashboard was initially designed to support the monthly WoVEn reports produced by NHS Digital. However, since its introduction a number of additional validations have been added to enable organisations to monitor many aspects of their data, from missing email addresses to incorrect Registration details.

The Dashboard has continued to grow over the years as more and more validations have been added as a result of data quality issues arising or user requests.

We’ve recently reviewed the Dashboard and made some enhancements which should aid users in managing data quality within their organisations.

Why are we making changes?

As part of our ongoing push to improve data quality in ESR we continue to look for ways to identify and highlight potential issues to users to enable efficient action to be taken to fix data where required.

Whilst it’s a positive that the number of validations has continued to grow, it is apparent that the volumes of validations on the landing page of the dashboard have become unmanageable and therefore may have been having a detrimental effect on the usage of the dashboard.

In addition, users may be aware that the Workforce Validation Engine (WoVEn) reports, which are created and published by NHS Digital, were enhanced earlier in the year to add new validations as part of ‘Phase Two’. Therefore it’s important that the ESR BI DQ Dashboard reflects those changes to enable users to monitor the data quality issues on a more frequent basis.

Finally, we want to bring applicant data quality in ESR into focus. This aspect of the data is often overlooked but it’s important that all person records on ESR are maintained regardless of their employment status.

What’s new?

Priority Split

The Summary validations have now been split across two separate pages to show only those validations that are considered to be of the highest priority on the landing page of the dashboard.

We’re hopeful that this will make the landing page less cluttered and allow users to focus on the more important validations which have a significant impact locally and nationally where errors exist. Due to the number of other validations currently on the summary page these are potentially being overlooked or missed.

To decide the priority of each validation the ESR BI team have undertaken an initial review before sharing the proposals with members of the national ESR HR & Self Service SIG, the NHS BI Review Group and the Workforce Information Review Group (chaired by NHS Digital). It’s important to note that any changes to priority would need to be agreed universally.

WoVen Phase 2

Following the enhancements made to NHS Digital’s WoVEn process earlier this year we have ensured that all 13 new validations (3 related to Positions and 10 related to Prof Reg) have been replicated in ESR BI and added to the DQ Dashboard. This will enable users to run the new validations more frequently and fix any issues prior to the WoVEn extracts each month.

For more information on WoVEn please visit NHS Digital's website at:

12 new applicant validations have been added to the dashboard to enable users to monitor their applicant data more closely.

The validations replicate a number of employee validations which already existed:

  • Date of Birth should not be Null
  • Applicant is indicated to be 80 years old or greater
  • National Insurance Number should not contain non-random, numeric string or have a Null Value
  • National Insurance Number should not be made up of the Applicant’s Date of Birth
  • Recruitment Source should not be Null
  • NHS Org (Source) should not be Null if Recruitment Source is the NHS
  • Religious Belief should not be Null
  • Sexual Orientation should not be Null
  • Ethnic Origin should not be Null
  • Disability should not be Null
  • Nationality should not be Null
  • Applicants without an update to their record in the last 12 months

New Layout

The above changes gave us the opportunity to review the overall layout of the dashboard and we have implemented some small changes which we hope will be beneficial to users.

Priority Split

The most significant change is to split the summary validations into two parts.

Part 1 shows the highest priority validations which highlight issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Part 2 shows the remaining validations of which some will highlight potential issues. These should still be reviewed regularly and where necessary, action should be taken to fix issues.

Note - the detail of each validation remains within the relevant subject area. E.g. Equality and Diversity.

Applicant Page

Following the addition of new applicant validations to the dashboard we have given applicant data its own page to separate it out from the employee validations. The applicant page includes both the summaries and the detail of each of the 13 validations.

If you have any suggestions for additional Data Quality Validations that you think could be suitable for the NHS Standard Dashboards then please raise an SR via the ESR Service Desk.

Future changes to Equality Data in ESR

ESR enables the recording and reporting of data to help organisations demonstrate compliance with equality legislation. It also assists in comparing the experiences of staff in the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES), and in determining action where necessary.

Of note: where data items and values already exist within the current data standard (the NHS National Workforce Dataset (NWD)) these are reflected in ESR. If a data item is not within the NWD then the values used in ESR will have been determined through consultation with user groups and appropriate stakeholders.

The Current Position

The NHS ESR team is aware that some organisations and individuals feel the data items and values relating to certain protected characteristics do not meet their needs. In previous ESR News articles, and in other direct communications, the NHS ESR Team has advised that changes cannot be implemented in this area until the NHS-wide review of equality data has concluded. The review is expected to lead to a new data standard setting out the data items and values that all workforce and patient systems across the NHS must deploy in the future.

The National Review

NHS England and Improvement (NHS E/I) have led a review of all protected characteristics which could result in a Unified Information Standard for Protected Characteristics (UISPC) or a number of separate standards.

NHS E/I commissioned a literature and evidence review by a UK University. The review is now complete and a draft version of the UISPC summary of findings, evidence and recommendations has been produced and shared with stakeholders for review.

The review covers data sets used across the NHS in relation to both the workforce and to patients. Assuming that the review’s recommendations are accepted by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), they will be incorporated into the NWD, enabling subsequent implementation within ESR.

Although it would be possible to implement changes to the values held in ESR independently of NHS E/I’s review, in order to satisfy user requests, there is a high risk that any such changes would be rendered obsolete following the completion of the current review, therefore there are no plans to implement changes ahead of the published review outcomes. Indeed, to implement changes in ESR when the new data standard is still being defined would result in the need for further changes and would therefore be an unnecessary burden and source of much confusion.

Next steps

The final recommendations will be submitted by NHS E/I to the DHSC for consideration and a decision on how to take forward.

Assuming a new data standard is agreed and guidance is issued, the data items and values in ESR will be amended to comply with its requirements.

Any changes to the data standard will be communicated via the NHS Digital website.  Users of ESR will be advised of changes and implementation dates via our usual communications channels, including Release Notices and User Group meetings.

The NHS ESR team remains committed to providing a system that meets all appropriate legal and nationally determined requirements and has contributed fully to the efforts to review the data standard. We look forward to publication of the new standard which will provide the go-ahead to implement any required changes to ESR.

ESR supporting the new NHS Jobs service

A number of changes within the ESR solution are being delivered to support the development of the new NHS Jobs service being delivered by NHSBSA, and improve the e-recruitment interface process flows within ESR.

Private Beta has started

Functionality is already being used by NHS Trusts who are testing the new NHS Jobs service in Private Beta – having started in mid-July and is expected to continue throughout the summer.

Changes for Recruiters

Recruiters who use the interface between NHS Jobs and ESR will see a number of changes and benefits in the new NHS Jobs service. Feedback from the Private Beta is being sought throughout the period of testing. This work will ensure that the full impact of the changes for users are understood and taken into account. A summary of the flows is set out in the diagram below:

Delivering Benefits to our Users

There are two primary process changes, reflecting work that has been developed in partnership by the NHS Jobs and ESR Teams within NHSBSA Workforce Services. The key changes for recruiters include:

Reduced Manual Input for Position Data

ESR is now able to share position based information from searches made within the new NHS Jobs service, in preparation for creating a vacancy. This means that users can request ESR position data using known attributes, such as organisational cost centre and ESR Position Title. This information will flow into the job advertisement, when it is published, so the user does not have to capture it manually.

The screenshots below are taken from the new NHS Jobs service.

Automatic transfer from NHS Jobs to ESR

Vacancies are created directly in the e-recruitment service. Users of the new NHS Jobs service can create a vacancy directly within this system, rather than initiating the Requisition and Vacancy Forms and then creating a Recruitment Activity for the Third Party Website within ESR. The vacancy will automatically transfer into ESR, ready for reporting purposes and to support the applicant transfer process later in the recruitment cycle.

Additional functionality delivered by the developments include:

  • Transfer of the IAT Consent from NHS Jobs to ESR within the Applicant record, supporting the use of the automatically initiated IAT process within ESR. This enables ESR to receive essential information from previous employers, such as mandatory training, at an early stage. This capability will enhance population of the applicant record and support the Enabling Staff Movement objectives, by reducing manual data collection and avoiding the repeat of unnecessary statutory and mandatory training;
  • Automated transfer of Projected Hire Date into ESR, once this date is included within the NHS Jobs Service, saving the recruiter time in recording the detail in both systems;
  • Once the Professional Registration details for GMC, NMC, HCPC and GDC Applicants are transferred from NHS Jobs, ESR will use its links with these professional bodies to actively monitor the details and report changes back into new NHS Jobs service; and
  • The ability to withdraw applicants at the offer stage (Conditional or Unconditional Offer) will allow easier management of vacancies and will result in successful applicants being terminated in ESR.

Future changes

Future developments will ultimately be available to all users of the interface functionality. We already have plans to handle the Termination of Applicants and Termination of Vacancies within the e-recruitment system.  Once these changes are developed, this will result in vacancies and applications active within ESR being automatically closed or terminated.

Transition to the new NHS Jobs service

The NHS ESR team is currently working with the NHS Jobs team to plan out the activities to support full rollout of the new service. Further details of the transition process for current NHS Jobs service users will be shared in the coming months. To help recruiters prepare for the transition, our NHS ESR Regional Functional Account Managers will share more detailed information, including any pre-requisites with Trusts in due course.

Plans for the rollout of the new capability for users of other third party recruitment systems will also be agreed and communicated soon.

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest news about the new NHS Jobs service you can subscribe to their magazine. Visit http://nhs_jobs_newsletter and add your details to subscribe. 

You can read the NHS Jobs newsletter by visiting


On-boarding new staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the North East and Yorkshire Region were quick to take innovative and responsive actions to support recruitment activity; these included, introducing early access to the Applicant Dashboard and/or creating virtual induction programmes (in an e-Learning format) which were made available via ESR.  

Image of ESR Applicant Dashboard

Case Study: Neil Picton, Head of Workforce Engagement & Information at Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals (NUTH) told us that a collaborative approach between teams internally saw the complete overhaul of their induction and on-boarding processes for new staff.   Julie Raine, Deputy Head of Workforce Development at NUTH said:

Early access to ESR was key in enabling the delivery of a newly developed e-Learning induction model.  In total more than 800 staff were recruited, inducted and available to work within an 8-week period.


Case Study: At the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic Airedale NHSFT Learning and Development Team had to find new ways of delivery for both mandatory training and their welcome induction.  The Trust began using the ESR Applicant Dashboard early into lock down and all new starters have, to date, used it successfully.

Six weeks into lock down they were keen to know how staff felt about their experience of this way of working. Here are some of the views that they received;

Within 3-5 days the majority of their applicants had a status of offer accepted within ESR (they had completed all their required mandatory training).

Case Study: Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT’s Trust induction became reliant on on-boarding using the ESR Applicant Dashboard; with new employees completing their mandatory training prior to their start date. Staff were able to access mandatory training - in some cases 4-6 weeks in advance of their start date.  Lisa O’Keeffe, Learning & Organisational Development Manager said:

We are using the Digital Learning Solutions platform via HEE to store and complete the virtual induction.  We were quick off the mark with our induction so we aren’t having to back track through recruitment and all staff we have employed/and continue to employ during the Pandemic are compliant either on their start date or by day 2 at the latest.  We are now in the process of looking at how we can build in a scenario day to embed the learning going forward.

Case Study: Marc House, Head of CNTW Academy at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS FT, outlined how they are using e-Learning in ESR in place of face to face training during the Pandemic.  The Academy Administrators and Senior Trainers developed an e-Learning Induction over the course of just a few days.  This included an embedded video from their Chairman welcoming staff to the Trust that was uploaded onto the ESR Portal so that staff could access it on their first day in post. Marc told us they recruited in the region of 360 staff in this period using this process.

Case Study: County Durham & Darlington NHS FT developed a virtual induction and have been using this for new starters since March 2020.   Jillian Wilkins, L&OD Coordinator outlined how they cut down the slides from the normal corporate induction with a voice over from the trainers, which was then made available on ESR as an e-Learning course to enable access to this and any other required national e-Learning via the Applicant Dashboard prior to starting work with the Trust.   They have successfully recruited and inducted 450 new employees during Pandemic.

Case Study: Dave Sprawka, Head of Employment at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole worked as part of the team to deliver the Applicant Dashboard in response to the COVID19 crisis;

At Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust we were already in the process of implementing the Applicant Dashboard for all new staff with the helpful support of our ESR Lead, Lauren Wilkinson, when the COVID-19 Pandemic situation arose.  One of our responses to this situation was to recruit additional clinical and non-clinical bank staff, with a focus on new employees being ready to start work at the earliest possible opportunity.   The implementation of the Applicant Dashboard contributed to us achieving this aim.  With social distancing being a concern, and limited opportunities for face to face inductions and training, the use of the dashboard supported our new employees as a part of the recruitment and induction process by providing the opportunity to become familiar with our organisation and undertake essential training ahead of starting in a front line or support post to care for our patients.

During the Pandemic the use of the ESR Applicant Dashboard has been invaluable to Trusts in the region who needed to on-board hundreds of new staff to support the response to the crisis.

Airedale NHSFT Organisational Learning & Improvement Team told us:

We have wondered how we would have coped during the COVID-19 lockdown without the ESR Applicant Dashboard.  As an organisation, we would have found it difficult to ensure so many applicants could complete their mandatory training so safely, and so swiftly. As a team we quickly began to realise its benefit, but we reached out to applicants to hear their thoughts and the positive feedback has been loud and clear.

As we begin to consider how, as a Trust, we recover and reset, the ESR Applicant Dashboard is something we shall continue using – turning our focus to improving our own processes to ensure we maximise its full potential.

Giving applicants early access to their ESR Applicant Dashboard provides organisations with the opportunity to ensure applicants can update their personal information, complete training & streamline on-boarding to meet the objectives of the national Enabling Staff Movement initiative.   To find out more please contact your NHS ESR Functional Account Manager.


Conflict of Interest Declarations using ESR

In March 2020 the ESR team deployed Conflict of Interest (COI) functionality into ESR, and soon after it was available, East Sussex Healthcare (ESHT) made the decision to use it. The decision was in part driven by the fact that they had an external contract for COI and that contract had an end date of June 2020, but also that there were benefits of recording it directly into ESR.

Joanne Penfold, the ESR Support & Development Manager (pictured right) explained how they managed the process:

We identified all Trust employees who needed to make an annual declaration and submitted an SR to the Service Desk to request a mass upload of the Decision Maker role to those employee records. This role identifies the employees to receive a workflow notification to prompt them to submit a declaration, which also makes it easy to identify them in future reporting.

We cascaded some general communications across the Trust at the beginning of June to explain the change to COI submission & recording, and the first workflow notification was sent to our employees on 8th June.

ESHT maintains a secure email address, where possible, in the Office tab on the employee personal details because they use it to send targeted communications and the staff survey to their employees.

ESHT employees access and submit the COI via Employee Self Service which ESHT has fully rolled out, and to date 53% of their employees who need to make a declaration, have done so.

A report is produced for the COI Manager, which includes the email address from the Office tab, and this can be used to send reminders to employees who have not yet submitted a declaration.

Joanne goes on to explain:

As the project is still being managed under project guidance, I am maintaining the Decision Maker role for new starters. This will transfer to the Recruitment & Medical Staffing teams in the future.

Hilary White, COI Manager added:

We are delighted with the new system to record Conflicts of Interest.  The functionality is simple to use and using existing system access has meant more COI’s have been submitted within the short time-frame than would normally be expected so far. It’s also easy to identify and chase those who have not yet made a declaration and we can manage the process locally.  On top of that, it has saved us £5,500 per annum paying for an external system.

If you are interested in using the Declaration of Interest functionality in ESR and would like some guidance, you can contact your NHS ESR Regional Functional Account Manager.

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