As the EASY system is largely populated with data that is received from ESR (Employee Staff Record system), it is essential to ensure that the data held in ESR is correct and updated in a timely manner. This document examines some of the key fields that the Expenses system uses when staff make expense claims.
ESR Outbound Interfaces
The EASY system uses the snapshot version of the ESR Outbound Interface file. Rather than receiving all changes (including those with a future effective date) made in ESR, the snapshot interface gives the current record. That means that when a change becomes effective, or a retrospective change has been made, the EASY system will receive the record as it appears in its latest state in the outbound interface file.
Normally, when a change is made in ESR with an effective date of today, or earlier, that change will be contained in the outbound interface file received by EASY tomorrow. The EASY system receives an outbound interface file from ESR daily, which is loaded automatically by the system.
When it comes to the contents of the ESR Outbound Interface file, an NHS Organisation can choose to include all employees or just those employees that have been flagged. You need to give some thought on what employee records your organization is willing to be provided to the EASY system. A copy of the specification document giving details of the data items that are included in the ESR Outbound Interface file is available on request.
Unless you state otherwise, the outbound interface file will contain all your employees’ records. One of the benefits to all employee records being received is that your staff can self-register with the EASY system to create a user account without the local system administrator within your organization having to manually intervene.
Alternatively, you can request that only records where the interface flag on the assignment record is set are included in the outbound interface file received by Giltbyte. This increases the manual intervention required by the local EASY system administrators. You should note that not only should you set the interface flag on the employee making the expense claim, but you should also set the interface flag on the person who authorises the claimant’s expense claims.
In addition, you may need to consider setting up a process where employees request to be added as an expenses user, so that you can then set the interface flag in ESR.
Once we start to receive your data from ESR, we are then able to check any areas that may cause a problem, such as missing or incorrect data. The areas that we check are covered below.
The reports that we provide looks at all the staff records received. Therefore, it may be that some of the staff that we identify as having problem data may not require correction. For example, there may be staff included in the report that do not make regular expense claims, and you can take some time to correct the data items held in ESR.
The EASY system requires an email address to enable staff to self-register with EASY and create a user account. You need to ensure that staff have an email address, preferably a work email address, in ESR.
The Expenses system uses the home post code to determine the home to base distance. You will need to ensure that there is a home postcode in ESR, and that the postcode is in a valid format, e.g. that a zero hasn’t been entered instead of an ‘O’, or vice versa.
The Expenses system uses the locations received from ESR to determine an employee’s base, or to allow staff to select your organisation’s locations as part of the claims process. You should ensure that the address of the locations held in ESR have a postcode. Normally, payslip delivery locations are not used in the expense claim process, so you do not need to add a postcode to payslip locations unless they are used to identify the employee’s base.
The location held against the assignment record in ESR is used to determine the employee’s base. You should ensure that the location held against the assignment record correctly reflects the employee’s current base. Having the correct location is key to enabling the system determine the home to base distance that may be used to adjust expense claims where the journey starts/ends at the employee’s home.
You need to identify the people who will authorise expense claims and the staff they are responsible for. This can be done using the ESR Supervisor or Manager fields where these meet your authorization requirements.
You may also configure the EASY system to utilise any of the following ESR fields, or derived values, to determine the staff that the authoriser can access.
- Authority/Trust (VPD)
- Cost Centre
- Location Specialty – a concatenation of the ESR Location and Specialty fields
- Payscale Group – the first letter of the payscale, e.g. Y payscales for Consultants
- Payscale Letter – the first two letters of the payscale
- Staff Group
In addition to the above fields, the Expenses system has the following options:
- Directorate – this can be added by uploading a lookup table that links cost centres to directorates.
- Local Group – used to categorise a number of assignments, e.g. the Finance Management Team
When using any of the fields listed above, you should bear in mind that access will be given to all assignments that come within the chosen category. While you may allocate access to a cost centre for one authoriser, and the ESR Supervisor field for another authoriser, an assignment may be available to both managers because the assignment can be reached by either route.
Although we have talked about using the above options for the authorisation of expense claims, these options can be used to determine a user’s access for reporting purposes also.