Note: User and department setup are closely connected. While we've created the guide so that user setup comes first, you may find it helpful to create your departments first, then create users, then return to department setup to finish user assignment. Instructions for how to create a department can be found here.
If you have a single-user (free tier) portal, you can skip this guide.
Each user who will be working on records requests in NextRequest will need their own user account. This includes people who will coordinate directly with the requester as well as those assisting internally with locating responsive documents. You can either input all users who you would expect to use NextRequest at the beginning, or start with core users (for example any central coordinators plus a liaison for each department) and then add additional user accounts as people are asked to assist with records requests.
How you should set up users will vary depending on whether your portal is Centralized, Partially Centralized, or Decentralized. If you haven't already, review our Process Mapping Guide and identify the process category that best maps to how you want your agency to public records requests. Keep an eye out for set up recommendations that are specific to your process category.
This guide covers the following:
- User roles in NextRequest
- Recommended user roles for each process category
- Setting up a new user account
- Sending an invite to a new user
- Editing a user account
- Deactivating and reactivating a user account
If you have more than twenty users to input you may want to import them using NextRequest's bulk user upload. You can find instructions for how to do that here [needs own article]
When creating an account for a user the biggest decision you will need to make is what Role they should have in NextRequest. Their Role will determine what permissions they have and therefor what actions they can take on records requests. The three main roles in NextRequest are (from least to greatest permissions):
- Staff: Can only assist internally. They can take internal-only actions, such as posting messages for other staff, adding additional support staff, and uploading and redacting documents. They cannot do anything that is visible to the requester. They can only see requests that they have been granted access to, either individually or via department access.
- Publisher: Can do everything Staff users can do, as well as communicate with the requester, release documents, and close requests. They can only see requests that they have been granted access to, either individually or via department access.
- Admin (that's you!): Can do everything that Staff and Publishers can do, as well as configure the portal and manage users and resources. Admins can see all requests in the portal, regardless of the department or individual access.
A full list of features that each role has access to can be found here.
What role a user will have is largely dependent on whether your agency is Fully Centralized, Partially Centralized, or Fully Decentralized:
- Fully Centralized: All users who are not a central coordinator should be given the Staff role. This will allow them to assist internally while restricting the ability to release documents and communicate with the requester to central coordinators.
- Partially Centralized: At least one user in each department should be given the Publisher role. This user will be responsible for communicating with the requester, releasing responsive documents and close out requests. Additional department users can be Publishers or Staff depending on whether they are authorized to release records.
- Fully Decentralized: At least one user in each department should be given the Publisher role. This user will be responsible for communicating with the requester, releasing responsive documents and close out requests. Additional department users can be Publishers or Staff depending on whether they are authorized to release records.
- Click the ADMIN link in the header
- Click the User link in the sub-header
- Click the CREATE USER button
- Enter the user's name, email, and title
- (Optional) Enter the user's Address, City, State, Zipcode, and Phone Number
- (Optional) If you have already created departments, you can assign the user to one or more departments in the Department field. Depending on the responsibilities of the user you may need to do additional set-up for them on the department page(s).
- Select the appropriate user role in the Role drop-down
- For more information on user roles click here.
- Click the SAVE button
Once a user account has been created, you can send that user an email invite to activate their account. When they click on the link in the email they will be prompted to set their password and then will be logged into the portal. You can resend the invite at anytime if the user has not yet activated their account.
Steps for sending a user invite
- Locate the user in the user list
- Click the Sent Invite button to the right of the user account information
- Click OK to confirm
To edit an existing user account, locate that account in the user list, then click the Edit icon () in line on the right. Make any updates that you want to the user information, then click the SAVE button.
Deactivating a user account will hide them from the Users list, and will prevent that user from logging in to the portal. Deactivated users will still be shown as assigned to requests that they were added to before they were deactivated.
To deactivate a user account, locate that account in the user list, click the DEACTIVATE button on the far right, then OK to confirm. To reactivate an account click the toggle “Show deactivated users” under the search box, locate the account, then click the ACTIVATE button.