FAQ - NHS ESR payroll and AIMS

Configuring the Ava temporary agency bank software for AIMS export: Buying Solutions

The export format for the NHS AIMS 'Buying Solutions' system provided to Temporary staffing Agencies contains 26 columns of information. Ava has place holders or automatically generates the content for all columns resulting in a single upload for each company using the Ava system.


The process is time consuming and therefore costly when done on a shift by shift basis.  Ava Pa can be setup to to a bulk export in about the same time as it takes to do one or two manual runs of individual shift uploads. Thereafter a few clicks is all it takes for the entire the Buying Solutions upload.


Just nine steps create this report for single upload of Buying Solutions data.


It is strongly recommended that copy and paste is used to enter the text from your 'MITemplate National Nursing Agreement' spread sheet from Buying Solutions. The system used by the NHS will be very finicky to the extent of spaces between words, full stops and other hard to see subtle variations preventing sucesssful imports.


If you have a row which is rejected, then the table below will link to the setup for the column generating the incompatible information:

A Report Extract Date Format: (DD/MM/YYYY) Automatically generated by Ava
B Supplier Name (as specified in Contract Award Notification) Ava Record card details: Invoice Company
C Authority/ Trust/Site Reference Ava Record card details: Customer
D Authority/Trust/Site Name Ava Record card details: Customer
E Geography (Where not applicable - Use N/A) Automatically generated by Ava
F Supplier Contract Reference Ava Record card details: Invoice Company
G Invoice Date Format: (DD/MM/YYYY) Automatically generated by Ava
H Product Type / Job Family Setup: Shift pattern AIMS Tab
I Product Group / Sub-Job Family Setup: Shift pattern AIMS Tab
J Product Class / Job Band Setup: Shift pattern AIMS Tab
K Product Name / Job Title Setup: Shift pattern AIMS Tab
L Product Code / Job Code (left hand part) Setup: Shift pattern AIMS Tab
L Product Code / Job Code (right hand part Setup: Shift pattern AIMS Tab
M Manufacturers Product Code / Pricing Code Automatically generated by Ava
N Unit of purchase / Shift Supplied Record Card: Setup Pay and Conditions: Selected pay scale, Used rates Tab
O Charging Unit / Unit of Purchase Quantity Automatically generated by Ava
P Total Hourly Charge Rate (£) Automatically calculated by Ava
Q VAT Included flag Default = N Automatically calculated by Ava
R Total No of Hours Supplied Automatically calculated by Ava
S Total Amount Invoiced (£) (EXCLUDING VAT & EXPENSES) (Hourly Charge Rate x Total Hours Supplied) Automatically calculated by Ava
T Agency Fee Charged £ Automatically calculated by Ava
U Basic Hourly Pay Rate To Worker £ Automatically calculated by Ava
V Sub-Contract Supplier Name Automatically generated by Ava
W Supplier Invoice No Automatically generated by Ava
X VAT Amount Charged £ Automatically calculated by Ava
Y Total Expenses (as agreed by NHS body) Automatically calculated by Ava
Z Inner London Weighting (£) Automatically calculated by Ava


In addtion there are three additional reports which show infomation helpful in tracing setup issues:

AIMs export information with Ava department and shift infromation: report number 6284 on the reconcile report tab

AIMS setup 'title' information for columns H, I J, K and L: report number 1064 on the general report tab

AIMS setup 'shift' information for columns L and N: report number 1065 on the general report tab.


The following screen shots indicate the places where the additional information required by AIMS is saved.

  1. 1. The first step is to ensure Ava has an invoice section for supplier name and supplier reference

  2. This is done by a system supervisor. From any record card select setup on the main menu and then Data Section 1
  3. "Data sections" If there is not a section labelled invoice companies, create a new one and ensure the "Invoice company" check box is ticked.
  4. Data Section 2
  5. Also ensure that in the details window, the reference text is enabled as below.
  6. Data Section 3
  7. Click on the "link" button to allow more detailed configuration.
  8. Data Section 4
  9. As this is a major configuration change, please log out and log back in to Ava.
  10. 2. If one does not already exist, you should now create a new record card for your Invoice company details.

  11. This provides place holders for both supplier name and supplier reference
  12. (On the buttons screen click new record card)

New invoice company 1

Now follow the wizard to create the entries for your Invoicing company or companies.

New invoice company 2

Please make sure you entries are exactly as documented in your contract documents.

New invoice company 3

The Invoice company has to be live for Ava to use it.

New invoice company 4

This is where you also enter your supplier reference code.

New invoice company 5

Once again it is essential that the code is exactly as specified to you.


If the (invoice) company already exists in your database, please go to its record card and ensure the text is exactly as required.

The "Last" name of the invoicng company may be changed (circled in green) without disrupting any earlier invoice runs or previous allocation of customers to this invoicing heading. The AIMS / Buying solutions contract reference is circled in blue and is in the details window of the record card. It is not necessary to check the "Own invoice run" box.

AIMS supplier name and contract ref


3. Each customer location now needs to be set up for Trust names and Trust references

The customer record card details should display two entries, one for Trust name and on for the Trust reference:

These are columns C and D in the report MI document. The AIMS site reference is now linked to the selected trust and is set up with the Trust Names. To set up all trust names and site references, the instructions for this immediately follow this.


AIMS setup Customer 9



If these do not exist then please configure AvaPa as follows:

On the menu of any record card, go to setup, data sections

AIMS setup Customer 1


Select the Customer / Location section

AIMS setup Customer 2


Click on the link button and the detail set tab.

Ensure the 6th check box down is checked (the title will be configured in a moment)

AIMS setup Customer 3


Save and close, then close the setup sections window.

Now set up the titles for the 6th check box (enabled above)


On the menu go to Setup Types:

AIMS setup Customer 4


Select the hospital or customer location section (this is the second item down)

AIMS setup Customer 5


Now select the fifth item (which may not be titled Trust AIMS D  )

AIMS setup Customer 6


Now ensure each of the text boxes display "Trust AIMS D"

AIMS setup Trust title and Trust reference


If you click on the (middle) Selections tab, you should see all the trust names as supplied in the MI spread sheet. If they do exist, but are not identical then select them by clicking on the Master tab, select the incorrect item and update the name. If they don't exist, then add them as new items. At this point you should also add the "Authority/ Trust/Site Reference" value in the reference line. In earlier versions this reference was contained in the record card details window for the Site. As the Trust name and Site reference are linked, this is a better place for this information and means that selecting the trust also selects the refence for the Trust.

If you have added a new item, then drag it across to the selected list (or click on the left pointing arrow)

AIMS setup Customer 8a


Configuring AvaPa place holders for AIMs customer references is now complete, so the Trust names can now be allocated to existing entries in AvaPA 

4. Each Customer, Trust or Location now requires the correct Trust name and Trust code as specified in the spread sheet.

The customer name is not the site name, but the Trust name once again as defined in the AMIS spread sheet. Once again if not already set up, Ava needs to be configured to provide the place holders for this information. To avoid typos where a trust name is entered 3 or 4 times for different sites, the Trust  names are then set up and allocated to any sites within Ava.

The title for your company should be exactly that specified in you AIMS contract.

AIMS setup Customer 9


The contract reference for your company should be exactly that specified in you AIMS contract.

  1. AIMS setup Customer 9a


5. Ava needs to be told to include this Location as part of the invoice export file for the invoicing company:

Each customer which is part of the NHS AIMS structure should be allocated to the Invoice company created in the Invoice company step.


Location details 2


  1. 6. The AIMS codes are set up as illustrated for the appropriate skill and grades.

  2. For each department or ward and for each supplied skill:
  3. Product family:
  4. Department setup shift pattern 1
  5. Product sub family:
  6. Department setup shift pattern 2
  7. Product band:
  8. Department setup shift pattern 3


Product job code (left hand side):

Please note the description of this entry is incorrect as described in the supplied AIMS spread sheet: the spreadsheet says this depends on the preceeding four columns. In fact it depends on the preceding four columns and the F column 'Unit of purchase / shift supplied'


Please note this is not as entered exactly on the spreadsheet. The product code consists of multiple parts. The left and middle refer to the qualification or skill supplied. The last right hand most element depends on the shift supplied. (Day, Night etc)


Product code

Only enter the left and middle elements. Taking an example from a spreadsheet the Product code is given as ' G . CS1 . 2 . D ' you should only enter ' G . CS1 . 2 . D ' do not worry about the final full stop. Ava will sort that out.

Department setup shift pattern 4 a


Product job title

Department setup shift pattern 5

Ava is sufficiently well designed that once you save these settings you will be asked if you wish to update other departments or wards with the same settings.

AIMS setup shift pattern dialogue

Please keep in mind that (for example) areas concerning midwifery will have their own settings.

Department setup shift pattern 6


  1. 7. The description of each pay rate is classified as "days" , etc., London weighting, NI and WTD also need checking.

  2. On the setup menu, select Pay and Conditions.
  3. Agency fee: For each relevant pay scale: please ensure that the pay rates, charge rates WTD and NI are correctly set up as AvaPa uses these amounts to provide the Agency fee column.


To setup the unit of purchase or shift supplied :column select the used rates tab:

AIMS setup Customer shift supplied


Some shifts are not covered by the AIMS import process, these are currently Sleep over shifts. Enter "exclude" in the AIMs shift supplied box. These shifts will not be included in the export:

AIMS setup Customer shift supplied exclude



Product code (right hand side): Select the used rates tab and then each shift type that is used by the NHS. Ensure that the AIMS code is entered for each shift as per the supplied spread sheet.

This is also where the final or right hand most letters in the product code are set up:

Used rates 2


Now select the payments tab for each grade in turn.


Ensure that the NI and WTD percentages are correctly entered with appropriate start dates. This is necessary to correctly calculate the "Agency  fee charged column" which is derived from the employee rate and the invoice rate less WTD and NI. Also check the VAT percentage is correct. For historical reasons some Agencies were allowed to charge VAT on RGNs at 0% whist HCAs attracted the higher rate i.e. different rates for different Grades. For this reason WTD and NI were also implemented on a Grade by Grade basis.


For each relevant pay scale, on the payments tab and NI and WTD sub tabs (if not already set up) click on the New button to add a new rate line.


Edit the rate by double clicking on it, and similarly the start date for the rate.


Please note although WTD is also known as "Accrued paid leave", the amount set here is purely used for the AIMS report and does not in any way alter the "Accrued paid leave" settings.




The start date for the rate should also be set:




If you charge VAT : then this needs to be set on the VAT tab:

AIMS setup Customer VAT


For the pay scales that include a London weighting element, please enter the values on the payments tab for all grades on that pay scale only:


London Weighting AIMS


Generating the report for upload to AIMS

  1. 8. The next reconciliation run should be carried out for the Invoice Company
  2. 9. Running report Nr 6273 will now provide the spreadsheet for upload.


Uploading the single file report

Aims, Buying solutions upload is quite particular about the file you try to upload. Here are the (not so obvious) issues.




AIMS Stands for Agency Information Management System : It is provided by Buying Solutions for the NHS. You will need your user name and password to log in.

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This FAQ was last updated on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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