Programme news

An update from the National ESR Director

As I write my ESR end of year round up for 2023, I once again reflect on a busy year and how 12-months really has flown by!

I continue to appreciate that across the NHS, addressing operational challenges remains a priority and how this impacts the ability to initiate change projects. However, I am delighted with the levels of engagement, continued support to the ESR Service team and local ambition to optimise use of ESR. Working in partnership with NHS organisations and collaboratively with our delivery partners in NHS England and NHS Wales, 2023 has been another successful year in terms of service growth.

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 and Developments

2023 has been a positive year for ESR optimisation, directly supported by our new Standards and Levels of Attainment framework that was introduced in the summer. I will talk some more about that later in this piece, but throughout the year NHS organisations have continued to strive to optimise their use of functionality within ESR and realise many of the associated efficiency and productivity benefits.

Our collaboration with key strategic stakeholders and delivery partners has continued - particularly in relation to workforce policy in England and Wales. Ensuring that ESR can meet the needs of the NHS remains a priority for the service team and during this year, like previous years, it’s been a busy development calendar looking at existing capabilities of ESR and enhancing the user experience for NHS employees and managers. Some of the highlights include:

  • Major software update to the ESR Portal
  • Changes to:
    • Protected Characteristics capability
    • Fit and Proper Person Test
    • Employment Checklist
  • Enhancements to Learning Management
  • Frontline Worker Flag

You can read more about all of these developments in this edition of ESR News

Alongside ESR solution developments, our engagement and collaboration in relation to wider workforce transformation has continued to be a priority. I mentioned last year how ESR is supporting parts of the Future of HR & OD report, and how ESR is an enabler to supporting how the people profession is working 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 and our new Self-Service Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment is providing Chief People Officers (CPO) and ESR Leads with a framework in which to develop optimisation plans. Ultimately, such plans will enable NHS organisations to create significant and tangible enhancements to the experience of their employees, whilst laying the foundations that will support to transition to the future NHS workforce solution.

Whilst there is a lot of focus on digital transformation, the NHS must complement such tools by maintaining a focus on redesigning processes using the technology and tools that we have available to us – both today and in preparation for the future. Our regional ESR teams can provide support, guidance and practical assistance to understanding how organisations can reshape business processes to optimise efficiency and release transactional activity from corporate teams.

As we look forward to 2024, we are already well into planning the enhancement pipeline. Supported by an end of year software release (scheduled at the end of December 2023), we have a number of changes planned from January, including a significant change to the Pensions re-banding process in the March 2024 release, ahead of April processing. All such changes will be published in our routine service communications and guide to enhancements.

Additionally, (and subject to testing) we will be a launching the new ESR User Manual on the ESR Hub website in January. This is part of a wider project to transform ESR Education that is delivered by our delivery partners, IBM.  There is an update in this edition of ESR News to help you understand what is changing.

The Future NHS Workforce Solution

In the Winter 2022 edition of ESR News, I referenced the ESR Transformation programme and its aim to bring the latest innovation into the future NHS workforce solution (to replace ESR), building on the existing capabilities of ESR and enhancing the user experience for NHS employees and managers.

Great progress has been made during the year and I would like to thank all involved across the Programme and NHS colleagues in England and Wales for their work, achievements and continued support.

Chris Price, NHSBSA ESR Transformation Programme Director, has provided a further update in this edition of ESR News.

Thanks, and Best Wishes…

Finally, I hope that you find this December edition of ESR News interesting. On behalf of the NHSBSA and the ESR Service team, may I express our thanks for all your support throughout 2023, and wish you a Merry Christmas and offer Best Wishes for a healthy and happy 2024.


ESR Education is changing

As part of our commitment to continuously improve the delivery of ESR Education for all ESR Professional users, we are pleased announce that from January 2024 the ESR Education programme is changing.

Since the Covid pandemic the landscape in which we all work has changed, and for many of us, home working or hybrid working has become normal. During 2023 the ESR Education team has talked and listened to a wide range of users via focus groups and workshops and online surveys to enable the team to reshape ESR Education in a way that better meets your needs.  We also used this as an opportunity to find out what users think about the ESR User Manual and how we could improve it.

Our key findings identified the following changes:

  • Our user base is now more hybrid and home working.
  • There are more restrictions in travel and associated costs.
  • Need to consider the availability of training for new starters.
  • The User Manual is difficult to navigate without a search facility.

In light of this valuable feedback we have adapted ESR Education to better meet the working practices of ESR Professional users.

What We Have Done Following the Feedback

We have introduced a 3-tiered education approach as follows:

Tier 1 – Online/Self-Learning

Providing a learning approach online, available at times flexible to you.

  • New Starter packs.
  • Quick reference guides.
  • ESR Familiarisation online learning.

Tier 2 – Standard/Ad-Hoc Webinars

Standard and Ad-Hoc Webinars offered for those who prefer to learn remotely

  • Aimed at those users that have completed tier 1 and wish to progress.
  • Standard webinars as a refresher for users that have a good understanding of ESR.
  • A suite of topical ad-hoc webinars.

Tier 3 – Regional Face-to-Face Events

For those who prefer an in-person experience and the opportunity to network with ESR colleagues

  • Aimed at those users that have completed tier 1 and wish to progress.
  • Regional classroom events, focusing on more complex topics such as ESR BI and OLM.
  • Delivered across regional NHS locations.

Whilst developing tier 3 we undertook a pilot of regional classroom training, testing changes to our technical infrastructure to allow a more dynamic approach to face-to-face education.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Somerset NHS FT and South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS FT for hosting the pilot events and assisting us in establishing the ability to deliver training regionally.

Regional events

If your organisation would like to offer to host a regional ESR Education event, please contact the team at

User Manual

To support the 3-tiered education approach, and in line with the feedback received during the workshops, we have:

  • Integrated the User Manual into the ESR Hub website.
  • Provided a new search facility.
  • Improved the look and feel of the content.

Go Live

The new ESR Education programme will be launched from early January 2024, further details will be available via the normal communications and on the ESR Hub.

ESR developments during 2023

ESR Developments to improve user experience and meet the priorities of the NHS

2023 has seen another busy year for the development and maintenance of ESR with changes introduced including pay awards, legislative changes, technical upgrades and developments to support national initiatives and agendas.

The testing for the final release of 2023 (scheduled for 29th December) is well underway, and we thought it would be timely to reflect on some of the changes that have been delivered this year:

  • Technical Deliverables and Changes.
  • Updates to prevent the deletion of Protected Characteristic information in Self Service.
  • Updates to the Fit and Proper Person Test.
  • Updates to Employment Checklist details to provide logical navigation.
  • The introduction of a Frontline Healthcare worker flag to provide the NHS with information in relation to provider vaccination costs.
  • Updates to a number of notifications and emails to provide users with relevant and clear information.
  • Changing the OLM Joining Instructions to Meeting Requests.
  • Developments to improve the monitoring of class enrolments.

The contribution and support we have received from all of our users and stakeholders is invaluable in helping us to prioritise changes that deliver benefits for the NHS.  This year has been a particular challenge with some large infrastructure changes and so the contribution ensures we can accurately identify, gather and define requirements; allowing our pipeline of change to reflect both user and policy needs.

All of the changes introduced in to ESR can be found in the Guide to Enhancement and Changes which accompany each release, which is available on the ESR Hub website 

Technical Deliverables and Changes

The technical changes to ESR are essential in order to safeguard service delivery and future proof the service. Whilst the user benefits of such changes are not always immediately obvious, they play a vital role in ensuring that the service remains at the forefront of using the latest technologies and is positioned to adopt new developments.

One of the major upgrade projects this year was to the ESR Portal. It was important to both our support and development path that we moved to a later version of software and this upgrade will enable us to explore further opportunities for improvements to the user interface through different components. The upgrade was successfully delivered against the whole of the first-line access to ESR in August with no detriment to the service.

One of the key components of ESR and a major benefit of the national solution is the fact it is covered by a detailed disaster recovery plan. This is something that is constantly reviewed and assessed to ensure that the system can respond in the event of an emergency situation affecting availability. Following the successful move to the new data centre last year we were able, for the first time, to switch ESR to using the disaster recovery instance for a period of time during which users were accessing and conducting transactions, before reverting to the production service. Although on the face of it this may sound simple it involved a great deal of planning and complexity to ensure ESR was able to demonstrate service resilience.

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 was removed:

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

The change has helped to further improve Protected Characteristic data quality and declaration rates which provide organisations with information to demonstrate compliance with equality legislation and to comply with NHS data standards.  Users are now presented with the full list of values to choose from, including ‘I do not wish to disclose’ if that is their wish.

Fit and Proper Person Test

In 2014 the Government introduced a requirement, the Fit and Proper Person Test, to ensure that NHS organisation board members, and those who perform functions equivalent of a board member, were ‘fit and proper’ for their roles.

In 2019 a review of the Fit and Proper Person Test carried out by the Kark enquiry made a number of recommendations.  In response NHS England published the Fit and Proper Test Framework which has been effective since 30th September 2023.

The Framework introduced a requirement for organisations to retain certain information relating to board members - the aim of which is to prioritise patient safety and good leadership in NHS organisations.

Organisations are expected to use the Framework for all new board appointments and promotions and for annual assessments for existing board members.

The NHSBSA ESR Team worked with NHS England Kark Implementation Team to ensure that organisations can record and monitor their Board members compliance with the Framework.  This led to the addition of new fields being introduced in ESR Release 57 at the end of March. The information is also reportable via ESRBI.

Further development is planned for ESR Release 59 at the end of December to add further fields and rename a number of the existing fields.

Updates to Employment Checklist Details

Changes have been made to the Employment Checklist Details which improve the logical navigation for users ensuring that only legitimate employment checks are held within the Employment Checklist Details EIT (Extra Information Type).  Additionally, some attributes have been removed from the Employment Checklist Details, to accommodate any future requirements to be added to the existing check available within ESR.

The following attributes have been moved from the Employment Checklist EIT to the Fit and Proper Person Test EIT, enabling fit and proper person test data to be recorded more efficiently:

  • Insolvency Check
  • Disqualified Dir Check
  • Self-Declaration Form Signed

Frontline Healthcare Worker Flag

A Frontline Healthcare worker flag at assignment and position level has been introduced into ESR to provide the NHS with the information they need to make accurate payments to providers relating to vaccinations.

This means this information no longer needs to be collected manually which will reduce reporting burdens on organisations.

Notification and Email Text Changes

We undertook a review of ESR notifications and emails to ensure that they provided ESR users with relevant and clear information.  Following the review, and taking into consideration user feedback, changes were made to the wording of the notifications and emails below:

  • Fixed Term Contract Expiry
  • Development Review Due
  • Right to Work Expiry
  • Registration Expiry
  • Exit Questionnaire

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.

In addition:

Any changes to class time, date or venue are sent as meeting updates and class cancellation or class withdrawals are sent as a meeting cancellation for the original meeting request.

Additionally, the custom text that could be added to the joining instructions by organisations was increased and the fields that held the text were HTML enabled. This included adding a new field to the class form.

All of this information is included in the meeting request so that learners attending training via Microsoft Teams can now directly launch the class from their Outlook calendar.

This development has already brought benefits to organisations by reducing DNA rates for classes as all the required information and changes to the class are now managed directly from a single calendar event rather than from several different emails.

Monitoring data quality for class enrolments

Several developments were made in collaboration with the Learning Management National Special Interest Group to improve the quality of data recorded related to class enrolments, with a specific focus on non-attendance (DNA).

With better data, organisations will better understand the reasons for withdrawals and DNAs and they can look at ways of reducing these, leading to better attendance at classes and more effective use of training budgets.

The developments were:

  • Review of enrolment change reasons to ensure that these are still relevant to business needs
  • Restricting the enrolment change reasons based on the enrolment status selected, ensuring that the reasons displayed are relevant to the status selected and removing the ability to select an inappropriate reason
  • The ability to update enrolment change reason independently of the enrolment status, making it easier to update when new information related to a DNA is provided
  • Allowing the Non-Attendance reason to be updated directly from the Update Attendance Portlet, increasing the efficiency in updating this information

Looking Ahead

Next year promises to be equally busy and we are already working on the delivery of legislative, policy and ongoing user-led changes. As always, our focus will be on ensuring we respond to these challenges and continue to deliver a first-class solution with increased efficiencies to help the NHS workforce.


ESR BI Alerts: A feature to improve workforce management and decision making 

Do you want to stay on top of your team's performance and get notified when something important happens? If so, ESR has a feature that allows users to receive timely and relevant alerts on areas such as workforce and payroll performance, absence, and compliance. 

There has been a lot of interest in the use of ESR BI alerts across all regions in England and Wales recently. Our Implementation Advisors have been helping to create bespoke alerts, some of which have then been developed into national alerts. Examples of Local Alerts that regional teams have helped trusts with include Address Changes, Missing Supervisors, OLM Course Attempts and New/Updated positions.  

The following article highlights some of the benefits of using BI Alerts.  

What are Alerts? 

The ESR BI Alert functionality enables users to receive alerts to their ESR BI Homepage/Dashboard and (or) directly to a secure employee’s email address. An ESR BI Agent Agent  (a process which can trigger reports to run) can be designed to deliver alerts which can be used to monitor changes in key workforce areas such as Absence and Compliance. For example, an ESR BI Agent can be setup to deliver alerts to managers when their team Absence rate has exceeded a set target e.g., 10%. 

An Alert is a combination of a short analysis (limited to 75 rows) and an Agent which delivers the results of the analysis. They are designed to highlight information or alert the recipient to where they may need to act based on the contents of the alert or undertake further investigation at a more detailed level. 

Currently eighteen national Alerts are available to all NHS organisations to use and subscribe to. These have been built by the NHSBSA ESR Service Team and are available within the ESRBI Catalog Shared Folders. 

The NHS ESR BI Development Team told us: 

We have seen the Alerting functionality take off in popularity over the past few years and so have increased our offering of national Alerts and supporting content, including a new guide for national Alerts and two webinars delivered in July 2023. We know that local Alerts are becoming increasingly popular too, and users are coming up with innovative ways to tackle local challenges. 

Alerts are a great way to improve efficiency within an Organisation whether that be to identify where there may be missing data, notify recipients to any changes made, or identify areas of concern.  

So far this year we have developed four new Alerts in collaboration with users and the wider NHSBSA ESR Service Team, with more planned for the future.

Our latest Alert, NHS Outstanding Elements (Overpayments), has been created to reduce overpayments at the point of termination. The new Alert identifies leavers who have at least one element against their assignment which may lead to an overpayment. These include elements for salary sacrifice, overpayments, and local agreements. The Alert runs daily.


A full list of the nationally available Alerts can be found in ESRBI – Guide to NHS Standard Alerts which details the content, run schedule and which User Responsibility Profiles (URP) have access. 

One NHS organisation that is seeing the benefits of national Alerts is South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. Kerry Moody, HR Service Centre Advisor told us: 

We have signed up to the New and updated Position Alert as we didn’t have a good process before this. I find this helpful to know when the Positions are created, so we can be prompted to add new required competencies for that role, which helps with our overall compliance figures.

In addition to the National Alerts, organisations can create their own local Alerts to meet their business needs.   

Samuel McCarthy, HR Improvement and Automation Lead, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust told us about their local Alert:  

 I have been using ESR BI Alerts to monitor the data quality of the HR Services team. These Alerts provide weekly reports that show any errors or inconsistencies in the data, such as missing fields, zero hours, or incorrect dates. One of the most useful Alerts is the one that warns me when a date is due to expire, such as the end of a fixed term contract. This helps me to plan and avoid any issues with staff retention or payroll.

ESR BI Alerts are different from the Role Based Workflow Notifications that ESR provides because they are more customisable and user friendly. For example, adding a RAG rating system to highlight the urgency and severity of each issue. I find these Alerts very helpful for maintaining high data quality and efficiency in the HR Services team.

How do they Work 

Alerts run on a schedule and can be triggered by an analysis (i.e., when an analysis returns results, the Alert will run). An Analysis is a bespoke report containing required information that you want the Alert to show.  

All national Alerts are available for subscription. To subscribe, the recipient must have the correct User Responsibility Profile (URP). Recipients can opt in to receive Alerts by subscribing to the content, or recipients can be set locally by the BI Administrator, URP, or username. 

Key points to remember

  • Agent queues will be monitored to ensure agents have not been setup incorrectly, for example to run reports continually (e.g., every 5 minutes). Where an Alert is at risk of affecting the ESR BI service, it may be terminated centrally
  • A narrative view can be set up within the delivery content (analysis) to notify users if the Alert has exceeded 75 rows
  • Suggestions for new national Alerts can be raised via the ESR Service Desk

This is an example of the NHS Absence Occurrences Alert Received within the ESR Business Intelligence Suite.

And Finally

With ESR BI Alerts, you can remain on top of team performance and take timely actions. ESR BI Alerts are a powerful and convenient tool to keep track of your workforce and payroll performance and act when needed. They can help you

improve your workforce planning, management, and development within the NHS and could help your organisation save time on tasks that can often take longer than needed. 

Further Information 

Below are links to the User guide and BI manual with detailed guidance. 

Captivate Video - ESRBI01 : Introduction to ESR BI 

Captivate Video - ESRBI02 : Creating an Analysis 

ESRBI - Alerting: How to create BI Alerts

ESRBI – Alerting 

ESRBI – Guide to NHS Standard Alerts 7.0

ESRBI – Alerting Webinar (July 2023 Video and Script 

If you are interested in learning more about alerts, or want support creating bespoke alerts, please contact your NHSBSA ESR Regional Functional Account Manager.  Visit the ESR Hub - Contact Details Page for their details. 



How your pennies can make a difference

ESR – Helping make a big change from small change.

Did you know that ESR teams are now able to support charities by using the ESR portal to raise awareness of the charity giving scheme ‘Pennies from Heaven.’

Many Trusts are asking their local ESR teams to add an image to the ESR portal so that NHS staff can learn about Pennies from Heaven and join in to donate to charity.  So far over half of NHS Trusts have launched the scheme and NHS staff have already donated £1.4m, much of which has benefited NHS charities.

Who are Pennies from Heaven?

Pennies from Heaven Distribution is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. The company is responsible for collecting the donated funds from an employer who is participating in the Pennies from Heaven Scheme and paying these to the selected charities. The company is externally audited each year providing employers with assurance of our credible donation processing.

How does the Pennies from Heaven scheme work?

Do you know how many pennies were on your last payslip? Probably not, so why not donate them to charity via the popular Pennies from Heaven scheme. If you earn £850.34 then you keep the £850 and donate the 34p to charity. It’s based on the premise that individually the ask is small but if everyone joins in, the impact is huge.

How can ESR help ?

Adding the Pennies from Heaven invitation on the ESR portal is having a big impact on real lives. A simple image is added as a portlet on ESR with an embedded link to provide the employee with more information and the opportunity to sign up and donate their pennies. With such prominent positioning, this simple function is bringing the concept of Pennies from Heaven in front of large numbers of NHS employees that might have previously been unaware of it. If all NHS staff joined in they would raise £7.2m each year just from donating pennies!

The Northern Care Alliance, based in Greater Manchester,  has implemented the portlet in support of their charitable trust. Keven Mahon, Technical Systems Manager, at Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust commented on the ease of doing so:

It was really easy to add the image as I use the Portal quite a lot for communications. In order to add this image, all one would need is to be is the ‘Portal Administrator’ in ESR and have a basic knowledge of adding ‘Web Portlets’ and very basic HTML coding skills. And the good news is that even if someone didn’t have the basic knowledge then the Regional ESR Implementation Advisors from the NHSBSA ESR service could assist, as they have extensive experience in helping NHS organisations use Web Portlets on ESR.

Since implementing the portlet on their ESR platform, NorthCare Charity has seen a real impact:

Since having the opportunity to promote Pennies from Heaven on our ESR Portal, we’ve seen a big increase in support for staff across the NCA. We had several weeks of little to no sign ups last winter/in the new year. However, since the image has been online from April this year, we’ve received 127 new sign-ups to date. With a large workforce across the NCA, we’re hoping more staff will see the information when they visit their ESR Portal and get involved and support their NHS charity in this simple way.

How can your organisation become a charity helper?

Would you like to help your local NHS charity and set up a Pennies from Heaven portlet on ESR? All you need to do is get in touch with Pennies from Heaven who will connect in your charity to discuss the opportunity. Pennies from Heaven has created a very simple guide to help set the portlet up and will provide the imagery and embedded links so it’s super simple and super fast.  This enables an employee clicks on the portlet to find out more and they are directed to the relevant sign up page. This enables an employee ‘click’ on the portlet to find out more and they are directed to the relevant sign up page.

Further Information

You can find out more about Pennies from Heaven at and you can get in touch with the Pennies from Heaven team at

If you require any information about implementing the Portlet on ESR then please contact your ESR Regional Functional Account Manager.






Organisations are embracing the new ESR Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment

In June this year the new ESR Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment was launched.

The Assessment examines the digital systems, processes and culture that exists within NHS organisations today and is designed specifically to help Chief People Officers (CPO) and ESR Leads undertake the first stage to the wider readiness activity as part of their transition to the future NHS workforce solution. The assessments help CPOs, and their teams develop local plans that will improve the quality and types of workforce data in ESR and deliver a rich digital workforce experience for managers and employees now and into the future.

This is intrinsically linked to the ESR Transformation programme that aims to deliver and enable wider workforce transformation as part of the national people digital collaborative across NHS England, and NHS Wales.

As part of the launch of the Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment Assessment each NHSBSA ESR regional team developed a rollout plan that would identify when organisations would be invited to undertake their new assessment. This was determined by the date of their previous ESR Assessment, but it also included prioritising those NHS organisations that are People Promise Exemplars, Scaling People Services Vanguards and ICB systems such as Derbyshire who are developing a blueprint for workforce transformation, that includes ESR optimisation as part of the People Digital collaborative.

Since June, the level of engagement from organisations has been excellent. At the end of November, 187 organisations had completed their Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment ESR Assessment and a further 57 organisations have a date planned in the diary post December into the New Year. This will mean that 243 organisations out of 307 have completed  or have an ESR Assessment booked.

Following the ESR Assessment we have started to build a picture of the usage of ESR. The graph below demonstrates the current picture in England.

The ESR assessed levels of attainment have confirmed how well organisations are using ESR. particularly in relation to Standards 1, 4, 6 and 8 in which most organisations are operating at Level 2. These Standards are all related to the use of Employee Self Service and enhancing the experience of the user.

The graph below shows the picture across Wales in relation to the Assessed Levels of Attainment. This also highlights a very similar picture in terms of those organisations using ESR to Level 2 in relation to Standards 1,4,6 and 8.  The other assessed level of attainment to note in Wales is in relation to Standard 6 which concentrates on NHS organisations transferring NHS Employment and Training data. This also confirms that organisations are ensuring that employees are having the best possible experience of using ESR via Employee Self Service.

The ESR Assessment has been extremely well received by Chief People Officers and their Deputies from across the NHS.

I just wanted to say what a helpful process this seems to have been and is certainly helping us to drive some improvements in the way we work. I know we are working on plans and have established a clear oversight arrangement internally for this and other workforce digital projects which will allow us to monitor progress.

Lisa Ward, Director of People, North West Ambulance Service.

I was keen for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to undertake the new ESR Self Service Standards Assessment at our earliest opportunity. Strengthening our employee experience remains at the core of our transformation programme and I recognise the role workforce systems and data plays into this. The new format of the assessment and the alignment to the 10 digital workforce standards has provided assurance in terms of our current digital maturity levels and supported the development of our onward optimisation plan. The reports are easy to understand and informative and support benchmarking with our peers and the sharing of good practice. Thank you to our Functional Account Manager for facilitating the assessment and the onward optimisation support.

Karen Ceesay, Deputy CPO at University Hospitals Leicester.

With our ever changing and evolving technological landscape, the importance of a well-functioning and efficient workforce management system and system of audit and accountability cannot be overstated. I would like to thank the ESR team for working with Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust for the new Self Service Standards and Levels of Attainment and hope that our contribution has provided some valuable insights into workforce practices and processes, including the need to consider other internal solutions and the impact reports can have on a Trust board. As an outcome from the assessment, we are looking to conduct a pilot rollout of MSS within the organisation in early 2024.

Andrew Collins-Mills, Associate Director Workforce Systems, Planning & Temporary Staffing

The ESR Standards assessment and subsequent discussion at our optimisation action planning meeting, were pivotal to understanding what scope was available for support and guidance as we had underutilised ESR historically.

Our NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager, Diya was instrumental in helping us to get our ducks in a row, including sorting our occupation codes. 

The prompt responses from Diya to resolving key challenges helped us avert any major issues through this journey.  The flexibility of the optimisation planning and the ‘alongside’ approach with our team has meant they can become equipped and developed skills at pace.

Gem Davies, Chief People Officer, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Action Planning

Following the Assessment, the CPO and ESR Lead is sent their Assessment report. The report details the levels of attainment score for each of the ten standards as agreed jointly between the organisation and their ESR Regional Functional Account Manager (FAM). An action planning meeting is then scheduled to agree the next steps. This will include agreeing what their local ESR Optimisation plan may include and how that supports the ambitions of their People Digital plan.


Mike Winstanley, Senior Account Manager for the North of England said:

Once a plan is developed the NHSBSA ESR regional team can provide a range of options to help organisations. Support may vary from help with drafting project plans to sharing 'how to guides' and guidance and further support to get projects established. This can include identifying where our dedicated ESR Implementation Advisors can provide implementation guidance, documentation, and expertise, but it can also include identifying if the NHSBSA Workforce Optimisation Team could provide some project resource and how that resource is commissioned.”

At the end of November 67 action plans were already in place following ESR Assessments.

If you haven’t yet been invited to undertake  your Self Service ESR Assessment, your NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager will be in touch in the very near future. However, if you do wish to request an ESR Assessment then you can  contact your ESR Functional Account Manager, and they will book you a date for this to be completed.






An update about the ESR Transformation Programme

The procurement of the future NHS Workforce Solution continues to progress at pace following the completion of the Selection Questionnaire (SQ) stage in January and the launch of the Invitation to Submit Initial Tender (ISIT) stage in July. As some of you will be aware, we ran an engagement exercise during the Summer to obtain Expressions Of Interest from across the NHSBSA, NHS England and NHS Wales for subject matter experts, with appropriate skills and experience, to help with the evaluation of bidders’ Invitation to Submit Initial Tender (ISIT) responses. I’m pleased to confirm that we have now successfully onboarded over 60 evaluators to the programme, including representation from the ESR Service Team, and provided evaluator training sessions.

On 24 November 2023 the window for ISIT responses closed, and as expected, we received submissions from longlisted bidders. Their responses are now being checked for compliance, with the evaluation and moderation process now in progress and running through until March 2024.  After that time, we’ll then move into the Proof of Concept (PoC) and Negotiation phase of the procurement as presented below.

In addition to the procurement critical path activities, the programme is continuing to engage with the wider system in preparation for the implementation of the future NHS workforce solution. The Programme continues to do this by encouraging Chief People Officers (CPOs), ESR Leads, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other key local and system wide stakeholders to embark upon a transformation journey towards readiness. This will include each organisation optimising its use of the current ESR solution and improving their wider People Digital capabilities and capacity.

In Summer 2022, we ran an initial engagement survey to find out how aware people were of the Programme, and how they would like to be engaged in the future. We’re running the engagement survey again to help us measure the awareness of the programme, and how you’d like to engage with the programme. The survey will be shared in a variety of channels over the next few weeks.   Use the link text to complete the survey or you can paste the link below into your internet browser:  

The survey is completely anonymous and will take you about 3 minutes to complete. The survey is open until 25 February 2024. 

We continue to make great progress across all aspects of programme delivery, and my sincere thanks go out to all those involved for your ongoing work, dedication, and commitment. It has been a challenging and rewarding year and I hope that you manage to enjoy a well-earned rest and spend time with family and friends over the festive period.

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 or sign up to the programme mailing list and receive periodic updates directly.

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