Update from Paul Spooner, NHSBSA ESR Director

Consistent with previous years, it has been another busy year for us in the NHSBSA ESR service team. I appreciate that across the NHS, operational challenges continue to influence how change projects are prioritised - but it has been another successful year in terms of service growth.

I would like to extend my thanks to all NHS organisations for your continued support to optimise your use of ESR and your continued engagement and support to the ESR service and team.

I would once again like to thank IBM, our technology and service partner, and colleagues within the NHSBSA ESR service team, who together have worked tirelessly to maintain a high-quality service. Ensuring service stability and security remains, and will continue to be, our highest priority.

ESR System Usage

NHS organisations have continued to optimise their use of functionality within ESR and realise many of the associated efficiency and productivity benefits. In 2021 we reported growth in the uptake of Employee Self-Service and access to online payslips, and during 2022 these areas have continued to grow – over 93% of NHS employees now access their payslips online via self-service. However, there is still more that can be achieved through full use of self-service (employee and manager).

The publication of the Future of NHS HR & OD report (https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/the-future-of-nhs-human-resources-and-organisational-development-report/) in 2021 set out a 10 year strategy for HR & OD services in the NHS. With ambitions that align to the objectives of the NHS People Plan, it outlines how the people profession will work to transform people services, using digital tools and platforms to create a more timely, standardised, and intuitive service. ESR Self-Service functionality is a key enabler in support of this vision.

Organisations can create significant and tangible enhancements to the experience of their employees by giving them access to digital solutions such as ESR Self-Service - including the ability to view and manage personal data whilst Manager Self-Service empowers managers to manage their teams in real-time. This not only benefits the employees and supports strategies to create a great place to work, but it also brings many other organisation benefits:

  • Improved data quality.
  • Up-to-date workforce information.
  • Reduced overpayments.
  • Supports recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Reduced data security risks.

During the last 12-months, our regional teams have worked with organisations to help them develop plans to optimise their use of ESR, and that work will continue into 2023 and beyond. This is important not only because we should collectively be striving to achieve the ambitions of the NHS People Plan, but across the NHS we need to maintain a focus on redesigning processes using the technology and tools that we have available to us – both today and in preparation for the future.

The Future NHS Workforce Solution

The policy driver to modernise the way the NHS workforce operates is at the heart of the NHSBSA future Workforce Transformation Programme. During 2022, following an extensive Discovery, the Programme has continued to progress and is now in the procurement phase.

To realise the benefits of the future NHS workforce solution there is a need to optimise the use of current systems, and organisations can prepare themselves and their people by continuing to use the existing capabilities within ESR. 

The Future NHS Workforce Transformation Programme will bring the latest innovation into the future NHS workforce solution, building on the existing capabilities of ESR and enhancing the user experience for NHS employees and managers.

Further information regarding the Programme can be found at Future NHS Workforce Solution Transformation programme | NHSBSA and you join in with the programme on the Future NHS Workforce Solution workspace on NHSFutures.

Our ESR regional teams are currently working with NHS organisations across England to help develop plans to deliver their ESR optimisation journey, with a wide range of ESR functionality implemented to support operational and workforce objectives - ESR Assessments are an important activity in this process. Engaging in the ESR Assessment provides Chief People Officers (CPOs) and teams with an up-to-date health check about how they are using ESR; it shows where there are opportunities for further work to release efficiencies, improve the experience of employees, and forms the basis of the optimisation journey.

There is a range of helpful resources available on the ESR Hub website - (https://my.esr.nhs.uk/dashboard/web/esrweb/supporting-the-nhs-people-plan1),  including information about how ESR can support the delivery of the ambitions of the NHS People Plan and key actions/opportunities for CPOs. All NHS organisations can get expert support and guidance from our team of ESR Functional Account Managers and Implementation Advisors, and there is also a wide range of Education and Training available – speaking of which, there is a great article in this edition of ESR News referencing changes to the ESR Education offering, and how this is having a positive benefit for core and professional ESR users.

ESR Developments – supporting user needs and national workforce policy

As referenced in previous years, ESR has continued to deliver system changes to new requirements during 2022.

By way of a reminder - the ESR development pipeline is influenced by many sources – broadly, legislation, workforce policy and user-led requirements. I would once again like to thank service users, delivery partners and stakeholders for their continued support to developing ESR. Please see an article within this edition of ESR News summarising the variety of these changes - https://www.esrnews.nhs.uk/winter-2022/programme-news/esr-developments-to-improve-user-experience-and-meet-the-priorities-of-the-nhs.

Thanks, and Best Wishes…

Finally, I hope that you find this December edition of ESR News interesting – it is great to read about such positive people services in practice, and use of ESR. On behalf of the NHSBSA and the ESR Service team, may I express our thanks for all your support throughout 2022, and wish you a Merry Christmas and offer Best Wishes for a healthy and happy 2023.

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