ESR Developments

ESR continues to be developed to improve user experience and meet the priorities of the NHS.

ESR continues to be developed to improve user experience, meet the priorities and policy needs of the NHS and ensure the system remains legislatively compliant. This has led to another year of significant change. Whilst our focus now moves to delivering further developments planned for the next 12 months, it is important that we also take time to monitor and review the changes already deployed to ensure that they deliver the benefits to the NHS that we previously identified.

Having looked back at some of the key changes recently delivered, we have analysed the data and listened to user feedback to provide a summary of the benefits delivered.

Verification of My Personal and Equality and Diversity Information

To help improve employee data quality, a development to ESR was deployed in September 2022 to prompt employees to view and, if required, update their personal and equality and diversity information.

To facilitate this a status indicator was added to the Personal Details and the Equality and Diversity Portlets within Self-Service.My Personal Info

The indicator changes colour, dependent on the length of time since the information was last updated or verified.

Green     Up to 9 months after the latest update or verification

Amber    Between 9 and 12 months after the latest update or verification

Red        12 or more after the latest update or verification

In addition, an employee notification is triggered where the employee has not updated or verified their personal or equality and diversity information within the last 12 months (365 days).

Reporting of the verification dates can be found in ESRBI within the Summary and Detail pages of the NHS Employment Checklist Dashboard.  Further information is available within the ESRBI Online Dashboard Guide.


In the first six months following deployment (October 2022 – March 2023) - over 700,000 updates or verifications were made in relation to personal details. Additionally, around 350,000 were made in relation to Equality & Diversity information.

Consequently, this has contributed towards a significant improvement in the overall completion rates of My Personal and Equality & Diversity data at a national level.

In this period:

  • 7,600 additional employees recorded a disability in ESR.
  • The number of ‘Null/Blank’ disability records reduced by 10,500.
  • The number of ‘I Do not wish to disclose’ entries have decreased for both Religious Belief and Sexual Orientation.

Helen Pope, Workforce Intelligence Manager at Sussex Community NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations;

The portlets currently available for Equality & Diversity and Personal Details are great as they already simplify processes for users, especially those who are not so IT confident. The development to encourage users to check these on an annual basis will be brilliant as since moving to online payslips staff do not think about updating home addresses so much and contacts often get forgotten. It will also make the run-up for National Staff Survey and WRES / WDES submissions much less hectic for the workforce team as the update reminders will be spread across the year – I can’t wait to promote the development via our Staff Networks and Trust newsletters.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 55.0 & 55.1

Prevent Deletion of Protected Characteristics in Self Service

In January 2023, the ability for self-service users to update any of the following fields to replace a previously saved value with a blank entry has been removed.

  • Ethnic Origin
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religious Belief
  • Marital Status

ESR Developments - Equality & Diversity


The change helped to further improve Protected Characteristic data quality and declaration rates which provides organisations with information to demonstrate compliance with equality legislation and to comply with NHS data standards. The change also addressed a specific scenario whereby employees could remove data that had been previously collected and recorded by the organisation - they will now be presented with the full list of values to choose from, including ‘I do not wish to disclose’ if that is their wish.

Null/Blank records have significantly reduced over the last few years with only c.7% of employees having blank records for Religious Belief and Sexual Orientation compared with over 15% in 2015.

If users would like to further investigate their organisation’s data quality, including protected characteristics, the NHS Data Quality Dashboard within ESRBI can be used to highlight specific areas.  Further information is available within the ESRBI Online Dashboard Guide.

Joanne Penfold, HR ESR Support & Development Manager and eJob Planning Lead at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations;

The E&D portlet has made it much easier for employees to view and update this information. I was even more pleased (yes loud cheer) when ESR fields were protected in ESS so that employees cannot delete the values.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 56.2

Recording My Wellbeing Information

A change was delivered in December 2022 to enable employees to easily self-record their wellbeing information without the need for manager approval through the existing My Personal Information portlet. This change further supports organisations to support the health and wellbeing of their staff.

An additional tab named ‘My Wellbeing Information’ was added to the My Personal Information Portlet.

Several wellbeing roles were made visible and updateable by selecting either ‘Yes or No’ radio buttons, enabling employees to manage their own wellbeing information efficiently.

ESR Developments - My Personal Info


Since simplifying the way in which individuals record this information, there has been a significant increase of declarations with 95% of the new records added through Employee Self Service using the new My Wellbeing Information form.

Furthermore, the ability to manage wellbeing information through the Personal Information portlet has created further efficiencies via a reduction in process steps. It has also provided efficiencies by removing the reliance on managers and central HR teams to capture and update this information on behalf of employees.

Prior to the development there were only 1,000 active employees with Armed Forces related roles – this number has quadrupled in the months since the release.

The biggest increase for Armed Forces Related roles has been for Armed Forces Veterans, where over 1500 employees have recorded this information since 1st January. Prior to the development just 342 employees had identified as a veteran in all of the time the value has been available in ESR.

In the previous year only 90 employees had been recorded as a working carer, whereas since the introduction of the new supplementary role some 4,500 employees have declared that they are a ‘Working Carer’.

Joanne Penfold, HR ESR Support & Development Manager and eJob Planning Lead at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations;

The Staff Engagement team are very pleased with the introduction of the My Wellbeing Information part of the Personal Details portlet. It has been made much easier for employees to add and maintain and will hopefully increase the uptake of employees indicating they have external responsibilities.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in  Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 56.0 & 56.1

OLM Joining Instructions Emails Changed to a Meeting Request

In January 2023, the OLM Joining Instructions, which was previously sent as an email for a class enrolment, was changed to be sent as a meeting request.

The time for the meeting is populated using the Start Date, Time and End Date and Time of the Class. In addition, meeting requests have a default reminder of 1 day before the class, unless this is overridden using the ‘Remind Before Class Start Date’ field on the offering or class.

Any changes to class time, date or venue are also now sent as a meeting update. Class cancellation or Class withdrawal are sent as a meeting cancellation for the original meeting request.

All the changes to the class are now managed directly from a single calendar event rather than from several different emails.

Additionally, the custom text that could be added to the joining instructions by organisations was also increased and the fields that held the text were HTML enabled.

  • The text that could be added at offering level was increased from 450 to 2000 characters.
  • A new field that could also hold 2000 characters was added to the class form.

All of this is included in the body of the meeting request and can be automatically saved to the delegate’s calendar. 

ESR Developments - Learning meeting request


As the information is now all in one place, prompting learners with reminders to attend training, organisations are seeing a reduction in ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates for classes. Reducing the DNA rate ensures that education is delivered more efficiently as learners will be attending the first class they are booked onto, reducing rebooking’s and empty spaces on full classes, providing a cost saving for the organisations and increasing compliance.

Learners attending training via Teams can now directly launch the class from their Outlook calendar.

Since introducing the meeting requests, attendance has increased with the number of DNA’s falling from over 9% to 7%.

Angelo Cascarini, Internal Training Manager at Isle of Wight NHS Trust highlighted the benefits this can bring to organisations:

The new learning notifications are going to be really helpful going forward! I had no idea the reminder notifications were coming, and I bet that will have a really positive impact on DNA’s.

Further details of this enhancement can be found in Guide to Enhancements and Changes Release 56.2

Further Information

We continue to be grateful for the invaluable contribution and support we have received from our users and stakeholders. Such contribution ensures the accurate identification, gathering and definition of requirements; meaning our pipeline of change continues to reflect both user and policy needs.

If you have any queries, then please contact your  NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager.

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