Information for NHS Employers

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport provides NHS organisations with the ability to issue and receive digital staff passport credentials to staff they employ who have been through NHS employment checks.

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport is:

  • a simple way of transferring key employment information between organisations
  • a service available to all substantive NHS staff and bank workers across all staff groups
  • a legal agreement between employer, worker and host organisation referred to as a ‘Licence to Attend’

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport is not:

  • a service to attract new staff
  • a service to recruit or onboard new staff - a COVID-19 NHS Digital Staff Passport credential can only be issued after NHS employment checks have been completed by an NHS employer.

What are the benefits of the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport?

When moving staff temporarily, the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport enables you to:

  • Reduce administrative activity e.g. eliminates the need for honorary contracts, secondment agreements or letters of access/authority
  • Eliminates the need to request or respond to employment check data requests when releasing or receiving staff temporarily
  • Eliminates the need to repeat employment checks
  • Speeds up onboarding process for HR teams and staff
  • Deliver rapid, safe and secure staff movement to respond to clinical need
  • Release and receive skilled staff quickly, thereby reduce agency spend and improving patient care

Case studies

See real life case studies of how the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport has been used during the pandemic.

Who can and can’t use the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport?

There are two types of users:

  • NHS organisations (who can issue and receive passports and the information contained in the 'credentials')
  • NHS staff

Currently only NHS organisations who employ NHS staff and bank workers they have recruited in line with the NHS Employer NHS Employment Checks Standards can use the passport. Agency staff, contractors and non-NHS organisations are not in scope for the passport at this time.

When should the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport be used and when not?

  • The passport can only be used for NHS to NHS staff movements
  • Use of the passport is voluntary for both NHS employers and NHS staff.
  • The passport should be used to enable staff movements to support the COVID-19 response and or the recovery of services.
  • The passport should be used for temporary voluntary deployments, it is not to be used for re-deployments as a result of a HR process.
  • The passport does not include any pay arrangements, these must be made outside of the passport.

What information is included in the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport credential?

Basic personal details about the staff member to be issued a passport credential including:

  • Name, date of birth, National Insurance number;
  • Photograph;
  • Basic details relating to employment checks – including DBS and right to work information;
  • Professional registration details (GMC/NMC/GDC/HPC) as applicable;
  • Basic details relating to current employment – including employing organisation, job role, staff group, department, start date (and fixed term end date, if appropriate), pay band, work email address, smartcard number; and,
  • Occupational Health clearance confirmation and any restrictions or reasonable adjustments required for the staff member.

The fields of the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport credential have been matched to the fields available in the Electronic Staff Records (ESR) system enabling the data to be easily transferred used the 'Search ESR' functionality within the passport system. 

Who can register an organisation for the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport?

Only the Human Resources Director (or equivalent title) of an NHS organisation, or an authorised nominated deputy can sign up. 

How do Human Resources (HR) Directors register their organisation?

To express your interest to join please contact We will then discuss with you your planned approach and send you the implementation guide. 

Can I make a staff member move via the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport?

No, the staff member must be willing to be deployed temporarily to another NHS organisation.

Who is expected to issue and receive COVID-19 NHS Digital Staff Passport credentials?

HR Directors will nominate users for their organisations. These users are likely to work in the HR, Medical Staffing or Recruitment teams.  Users will be those people that already have access to employee personal data as part of their job role.

What resource will be required to issue and receive COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport credentials?

It takes approximately 10 minutes to create and issue a credential to a staff member, this is made easier by the ability to transfer information from ESR using the 'Search ESR' functionality with the passport portal. A user guide has been created to make this quick and efficient as possible.  When a staff member moves they will need to verify their credential with the host organisations, its takes approximately 5 minutes to verify a credential.

There are three key factors which determine the resource required:

  1. How many staff do you anticipate moving to another NHS organisation?
  2. Have the other organisations signed up to use the Digital Staff Passport service? We maintain a list of organisations already signed up and if they do not appear on the list then encourage them to contact to register.
  3. What administrative processes will you eliminate or reduce as a result of using the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport service? i.e. honorary contracts, secondments agreements, providing or undertaking employment checks.

Organisations should consider these factors when considering their registration.

Is there other national guidance that NHS organisations should be aware of when considering employment checks and deployments?

The following links provide additional guidance that HR Directors will want to be aware of when considering the above.

NHS England and NHS Improvement

NHS Employers