The Department of Health is tendering for a new Electronic Staff Record, worth £200m – £400m.

The current contract for the service is held by McKesson Information Solutions and is due to continue until August 2015.

When the DH awarded the initial ten-year, £325m contract for an integrated HR and payroll system to McKesson in 2001, it was the largest IT contract awarded by the NHS.

“The DH wants to ensure the continuity of the ESR solution and related services following the expiry of the current contract,” the OJEU notice says.

“To do so, the DH wishes to re-procure the provision of the ESR service on the basis that the new service provider will be expected to transition the existing ESR solution from the current supplier and operate it and upgrade it.”

The ESR is an Oracle-based tool with functionality grouped into three main areas: human resources and payroll; learning and talent management; and workforce information provision.

The new provider will have to provide “certain enhancements to the ESR solution, some of which are identified in the re-procurement and others which the new service provider will help the DH identify.”

The objectives for these enhancements include the need to ensure access to a reliable system beyond the expiry of the current contract and to improve the user experience.

Also, “to enable provision of high quality workforce data with assurance on data integrity and management in the delivery of the emerging health and care landscape."

The new contract will be for five years and nine months, with the ability to extend for up to 24 months. It is valued at £200m – £400m and requests to participate must be lodged by 24 January 2014.

Requests to participate will be accepted from consortia of suppliers with six potential bidders expected to be taken at the initial stage, which may then reduce to three.

According to McKesson, the original ESR replaced 28 payroll systems, 67 HR systems and 1,702 in-house trust systems and serves £1.3m people working in the NHS.

The DH issued a pre-tender notice to replace the system in September 2012 and again in September this year.