Manager Self Service Approvals Not Required at Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust cares for the population in Harrogate and the local area as well as across North Yorkshire and Leeds.

Employing more than 4,000 people, we provide essential hospital treatments and community health services, as well as providing children’s services in the Northeast in County Durham, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Gateshead, and Sunderland.


The introduction of Employee Self Service (Limited Access) in ESR in 2017 was fully embraced by the Trust, enabling employees improved access and autonomy over their employee data. In 2020 there was a drive within the Trust to further enhance the Self-Service functionality for Manager’ by introducing the ESR Manager Self-Service URP.

The primary drivers for this change were:

  • Existing frustrations around the time taken to process contractual changes, leave requests and paper-based sickness returns;
  • To reduce the administrative burden of the current processes, removing the requirement for paper-based forms and duplication of data input;
  • A requirement for a clear, auditable workflow for contractual changes;
  • Manager Self Service also enabled the approval for annual leave requests and administration of sickness absence at source.

The overarching benefit of implementing ESR Manager Self Service is that it replaced existing processes which were extremely inefficient, such as duplication of effort, due to the requirement of paperwork for contractual changes and the timeliness of this reaching the transactional team and being processed.  Having previously worked in a Trust which had implemented ESR Manager Self-Service, I had seen first-hand the benefits that this system brought to the Organisation, so I was very keen to get this functionality implemented.

Angela Wilkinson - Director of Workforce and Organisational Development


A project team was established, and an agreed project plan and timeline was approved. To support the Managers, bespoke training sessions were delivered by the Project Lead using ESR Tply, the ESR training environment which is available to all organisations. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic the project re-focused in early 2021. Rollout commenced on a team-by-team basis, which gave the Project Lead the opportunity to work with Managers on their readiness during the unprecedented pressure to services during the pandemic.

Part of the preparation for implementation within the teams was a meeting with the Project Lead and senior manager to agree the managerial hierarchy and decide on the best options for approvals within ESR. For example, some teams utilised multiple supervisors whilst others opted for proxy access. This gave the managers within the teams’ flexible approaches mirroring day to day managerial responsibilities.

The Project and Outcomes

The objectives for the rollout of the ESR Manager Self-Service project were:

  • Reduce or eradicate the need for external bespoke paper/electronic systems to record employee information that is held in ESR;
  • To streamline the way that data is entered into ESR so that it is timelier and accurate;
  • To enable line managers to access the information for their employees and make effective decisions;
  • To enable line managers to produce their own reports for their teams for subjects such as appraisals, pay progression, absence, and training compliance;
  • To have an electronic system to record absence and annual leave for employees who are not on the Roster system.

The Manager Self-Service (Payroll Approvals Required) URP was implemented initially to provide assurance that pay related changes had been processed correctly. As the project rolled out, this approach would be reviewed with the wish to revert to the ‘Payroll Approvals Not Required’ URP.  

As the rollout progressed, frequent audits and checks took place to ensure Managers were completing the actions within ESR correctly. Where these processes were not followed, the Project Lead and Payroll Manager liaised with the Managers and teams to help them better understand the correct process, whilst supporting them at the same time.

During the rollout, payroll services were outsourced to a payroll team working within an NHS organisation that had implemented Manager Self-Service Approvals Not Required (MSS-NR). Therefore, when discussions took place to evaluate the project outcomes in the last quarter of the project, the decision was taken to move to Manager Self Service Approvals Not Required with effect from January 2023. Harrogate and District NHSFT were assured by both the audit of managerial transactions and feedback from the new payroll services team that this would be a significant and effective improvement.

I find ESR very straight forward and easy to use.  It’s very efficient for updating payroll of staff changes. I have access to staff’s annual leave, appraisal compliance, sickness absence easily. I find the notifications really helpful for staff’s compliance and also approving annual leave.

Community Admin Manager

Key Benefits and Next Steps

When the change of URPs occurred, it was well received by the managers and seen as an improvement. Managers provided feedback that when a change had been made by them, the change was immediate and required no further approval, helping them to work effectively, and if required, multiple changes could be made to a record. Data quality was seen to improve, with the changes being immediate, and the outsourced payroll team also noted a reduction in the carbon footprint for the organisation with the reduction of paper evidence e.g., forms etc.

Harrogate and District NHSFT, like all NHS organisations post Covid-19 pandemic, now has an agile workforce; having a solution available to Managers both on site and over the internet or VPN solution further supports effective decision making.

Work is ongoing to enable hires by Manager Self-Service, which means Harrogate and District NHSFT will be utilising all functionality within Manager Self-Service by Summer 2023.

It's great that data is now electronic and accessible with the introduction of this functionality. As the lead for Workforce information, having the MSS completely implemented across the Trust and throughout the Community gives me and my team a great sense of achievement.

Lee-anne Hutchison - Head of Resourcing and Workforce Information

I am extremely pleased we have now implemented this ESR Manager Self Service across the Trust and congratulate the team in doing so!

Angela Wilkinson - Director of Workforce and Organisational Development

New Recruitment API for Doctors in Training Pre-Employment Checks

A Case Study by the Lead Employer Trust, Northeast  - hosted by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


The Lead Employer Trust (LET) Northeast, hosted by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has been a customer of Civica (supplier of the TRAC Recruitment Management software) since April 2020.   The system was used solely for Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists in Training (DiT) to process their pre-employment checks. 

The LET have been a long-standing user of the NHS England Education’s Trainee Information System (TIS) interface with ESR and were realising the positive benefits from using this interface to automatically transfer the applicant records of new starters and rotating DiTs into ESR.  They were therefore keen to continue to use the TIS Interface. However, after the LET started using the TRAC system and had their first large intake of DiT in August 2020, it quickly became apparent that as the Applicant Records had already been created in ESR via the TIS Interface, the result was that there was an extremely large amount of data in TRAC which could not be automatically transferred to ESR due to there being no link between the two systems (as the link for the recruitment process only existed between TIS and ESR directly).  This data therefore needed to be manually input into ESR to complete the Applicant Record.  This data entry took the LET a number of months to complete in ESR. The result was reporting, and data quality checks were extremely problematic.

The Project

The LET worked collaboratively with the NHSBSA ESR Systems Integration Team and Civica colleagues to review this duplication of data entry and effort to explore a possible solution and agree a way forward to alleviate the resulting workload through the year - especially for the large rotation periods in August, October, and February.  

Key information from each of the following records was identified and confirmed as eligible for transfer from TRAC to the ESR Applicant record created by the TIS Interface:

Lead Employer - Info into ESR

A new bespoke API was developed which would enable NHS Organisations to continue to benefit from the use of the link between TIS and ESR to create the Applicant records and manage employment checks for DIT in a third-party e-Recruitment system. The agreed solution/API would provide a one-off feed to subsequently copy the employment checks for the DIT from the third-party E-Recruitment system into ESR to complete the existing Applicant record. 

Key Benefits

This is a generic solution and can be used by other e-recruitment suppliers or applicant tracking systems (ATS).

This supports the NHS People Plan - Enabling Staff Movement programme which aims to improve the onboarding processes of Postgraduate Doctors in Training (DiT) in line with national NHS objectives. There are approximately 50,000 DITs that rotate through NHS Organisations every year.

The benefit of the API solution has resulted in the automatic transfer of data into ESR, resulting in an approximate 50% data entry reduction from August 2020.  With an average of 1500 new starters per year within the LET, there has been a saving of approximately 250 hours in manual data entry on ESR for the LET’s new starter pre-employment checklist. The improved link/API provides us with a seamless link between TIS, ESR and TRAC ensuring our employee records are fully complete in time for the DiTs start date.

As a large Lead Employer of Doctors and Dentists in Training we are always looking for time savings. Being able to use both the TIS-ESR interface and the ESR-Trac API has great benefit to reducing data entry for all new starters.

Laura Sams, Deputy Head of People Services, Northeast LET

Next Steps

Further information on the Recruitment System API can be found on the ESR Hub

If you want to understand associated costs for your organisation and request access to the API, please raise a Service Request on the ESR Service Desk. This can be completed by using the following options: Request a new service > AC > ESR Interfaces > Other system interfaces.

Please note to use this API you will also need to have an active interface between your DiT Provider and ESR (TIS Interface).


Implementing the ESR Applicant Dashboard - Improving the Applicant Experience at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust.

With a vision to be the recognised leader in healthcare for women, babies and their families, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust delivers the highest standards of care.

Each year we deliver over 7,500 babies, carry out over 49,000 gynaecological inpatient and outpatient procedures, care for over 1,000 poorly & preterm new-borns, perform around 1,000 IVF cycles and have over 4,000 genetic appointments taking place. We believe that this, along with a strong dedication to research & innovation makes us the specialist health provider of choice in Europe for women, babies, and families.

Embarking upon our Applicant Dashboard Journey

Our Challenge

Janet Hinde, Workforce Information & Systems Manager, said:

We know that the onboarding experience is critical to the induction process.  It is about early engagement and evidence demonstrates the best experience for staff and the Trust is that this process commences before the new staff member starts their first day at work.  This is a gap for many organisations and one our Trust was committed to improve.  We were committed to provide a gateway and solid foundation to our employee journey.

We have been working in partnership with colleagues from the NHS Business Services Authority ESR Service Team to improve our use of the ESR solution and the experience of our workforce when using ESR.

 Previous projects have included:

  • Improving our Education & Training Data Quality;
  • Improving the Learning Experience for our employees;
  • Introduction of a virtual Induction via ESR;
  • Accurate Statutory & Mandatory training reporting.

The Trust has a clear ambition to drive improvements through ESR and have one centralised system for recording and reporting – one version of the truth. It was proving difficult to build momentum, and without accurate and complete records it would be difficult to raise the levels of confidence we needed to drive the engagement.

The implementation of the Applicant Dashboard was always part of our road map, but we needed to prioritise previous projects for the reason set out above.

A further challenge to implementing the Applicant Dashboard concerned the fact that our Recruitment Service is outsourced. It was important that clear collaboration was needed with our recruitment provider and internal stakeholders.

Our Approach

We set out a clear vision as to what we wanted our Applicant Dashboard to look like and mapped out all the components we believed would give the Applicant the best experience of joining our Trust.  We were aware of the flexibility within the ESR Applicant Dashboard of what could be included - so we set out clear objectives on what we wanted to achieve.

Some of these Objectives included:

  • Improve the onboarding experience for our new Applicants;
  • Ensure all the information applicants needed was in one place;
  • Speed up time to hire for all new starters.

Our Action Plan

We liaised closely with our recruitment provider as we knew some of our current processes would have to be amended, e.g., the offer letter had to be amended to ensure we were asking new applicants to reset their own password when first logging into ESR.

We had agreement, from the applicants, that we could hold their personal email address within ESR.

We gave ourselves enough time to build the Applicant Dashboard, learning from other Organisations and working closely with our NHSBSA ESR Implementation Advisors.

This was socialised within the Trust and sense checked with our ward managers at the regular meetings we have with them.


Pre onboarding process is the most crucial part of an employee's journey that shapes an employees' outlook towards their roles, responsibilities, and work culture. As a Trust, we have expectations of new recruits and the role they will hold; new employees also, in turn, will have high expectations when joining our Trust.  Our Applicant Dashboard provides a range of information including a video message from our CEO and Executive team to welcome them, access to Trust wide and local information, staff handbook, the opportunity to complete mandatory training if they wish to do so, and much more.

The ESR Applicant Dashboard helps both the employer and employee to shorten the learning curve, begins to facilitate understanding of some of the important information and goals, promotes the open communication up, down and across the organisation. This helps to reduce some of the stress when starting a new role.

Liverpool Women\'s Applicant Dashboard


During the month of December 2022, from the 43 applicants being sent their ESR log in information, 20 applicants logged onto the dashboard with 104 separate interactions.  This proves that the landing pages are useful and starting to become embedded into the recruitment onboarding experience for our new starters.

Whilst we have achieved much, there is still more to do. This includes a plan to expand on the Applicant Dashboard landing page to include information to support our international applicants; this will give them valuable information prior to coming to the UK and while settling into life in our region.

Janet Hinde added:

We remain focussed on our original challenges and in finding new and improved ways to capture, record and report accurately through ESR.  We firmly believe that having accurate data available, in a timely manner, will support the ongoing drive within the Trust to improve data that will ultimately lead to employee satisfaction and excellent patient service.

Commenting on the success of the implementation of the Applicant Dashboard, Rachel London, Deputy Director of Workforce, said:

The Applicant Dashboard has been a fantastic addition to the onboarding experiences for new starters at LWH. The recruitment process can be an uncertain time and it is a great benefit to be able to point candidates to the dashboard where they can access useful information about the Trust, their own department and familiarise themselves with key information and policies. It presents a positive and welcoming ‘face’ of LWH to candidates and will contribute to minimising drop-out rates. It is also a great benefit that candidates can complete their mandatory training before they start their role to ensure they have the right skills and experience to hit the ground running.

For more Information

For further information please contact: Janet Hinde, Workforce Information & Systems Manager  

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