Midlands & East of England

Optimising ESR Self Service - Norfolk and Suffolk NHSFT Manager Self Service Journey

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is a large mental health trust, running services across Norfolk and Suffolk, employing circa 4,500 employees.

Towards the end of 2019, the Trust undertook a Quality Improvement project, looking at how to reduce the amount of missing payroll forms and over payments. NSFT operates over 100 sites in total across the Norfolk and Suffolk region, which meant paper payroll forms were being sent to collection points before being issued to our external payroll provider for inputting.

The Project

Emma Ford, HR Systems Manager (pictured opposite) explains what NSFT did.

After much discussion and deliberation, it was decided the organisation would implement Manager Self Service (MSS) at the beginning of the new financial year in April 2020. A soft launch was planned with a small number of teams, focusing on only terminations and assignment changes, however the Covid lockdown in March 2020 abruptly put a stop to the initial implementation plan.

As a result of the pandemic, we took the huge decision to rollout full MSS throughout the Trust. It was agreed that MSS would provide an alternative solution of getting all changes to assignment paperwork completed for staff and delivered to payroll, especially within lockdown conditions.

The Finance Team were fully involved in the project from the outset, as they would be approving all the changes made as part of the Approvals process. Without their involvement the project would not have been successful. Managers were all given smartcard access to ESR and the Manager Self Service (Approvals required) URP. User guides were provided on how to action assignment changes and terminations, with links to the guidance on the My ESR Hub website.

Impact of COVID19

The pandemic made it difficult for employees and managers to get paperwork signed and submitted following the previous process, so the introduction of MSS meant managers were onboard with the changes and wanted a quick and simple way to get assignment changes made. Manager Self Service provided the trust with the perfect solution and therefore we had a captive audience.

Managing the Change

We had a dedicated person within our ESR Team that would be on hand to do live training sessions and drop-in sessions for our managers via MS Teams, to ensure that changes were made correctly and on time. This was incredibly well received by our managers and the Finance team, and it has dramatically reduced errors. Without clear training and guidance from an expert the rollout would not have been as successful as it has been.

Outcomes of the Pilot

The initial pilot progressed successfully with assignment changes and terminations, and after a couple of months we made the decision to go ahead and start using the Hires function in ESR MSS.

The Recruitment Team were heavily involved with this and were required to agree any new starting salaries. There were initial issues with understanding exactly what needed to happen on the recruitment side of ESR for a ‘hire’ to progress, but these were soon worked through, understood, and resolved.


There is always the case of human error, so instances of overpayments and underpayments still occur, but we have found that Manager Self Service has been a relatively smooth process, and I cannot imagine now working in a Trust that still uses paper forms. The system is very quick and easy, notifications go to managers, employees, and Finance. There is no missing paperwork, and everything is in one place!!

Further Help and Support

If you are interested in undertaking your new ESR Standards Assessment early and or want help to implement Manager Self Service then contact your Regional ESR Functional Account Manager here.

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