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Setting the Default Visibility of Requests

Note: Admin and publishers can change the visibility of an individual request. Only admins can change the default visibility settings

You can restrict who can view a request and its associated documents, both inside and outside of your agency, using the specific visibility settings for that request. Externally, you can control whether only the requester can see the request and its documents, or any member of the public who visits your portal. Internally, you can control which departments can see certain request. For instance, if requests to a police department should only be visible to police staff, you can set this using visibility settings.

This document covers everything you need to know about managing the default visibility of requests. For information about how to change the visibility of an individual request click here.

Click on any of the links to jump to that section:

Overview of visibility settings

There are five different visibility settings. In order of least restrictive to most restrictive they are:

  • Published: the request is visible to everyone (the public) without requiring a login
  • Embargoed: the request is set to All Staff and then a set amount of time after the request is closed it is set to Published
    • Note: For this setting to be an option embargoing must first be enabled for your organization. For information about how to do this click here.
  • All Staff: the request is visible to the requester and to all agency staff
  • Department: the request is visible to the requester and to all staff in the assigned department, as well as support staff from other departments assigned to the request
  • Restricted: the request is visible only to the requester and to staff assigned specifically to it

Different levels of visibility settings and how they interact

There are 3 levels of visibility settings.

  • Organization level visibility settings determine what the default visibility of a request is when it is initially created
  • Department level visibility settings determine the default visibility of requests assigned to a particular department
  • Request level settings are specific to that particular request and override organization and department settings

If there is a conflict between default settings the most restrictive setting will always be used:

  • Example 1: The organization level visibility is set to All Staff and the Fire Department visibility is set to Restricted. If a requester submits a request and selects the Fire Department, the visibility of the request when it is created will be Restricted
  • Example 2: The organization level visibility is set to Department and the City Clerk visibility is set to All Staff. If a requester submits a request and selects City Clerk, the visibility of the request when it is created will be Department

How to enable embargoing for your account

With embargoing you can set a request to be published a set amount of time after it is closed. It is particularly useful for media requests where the request prefers that the information be made available more publicly after a delay. You can turn off embargoing and/or manually publish requests on an individual basis.

Steps for enabling embargoing on your account

  1. Sign in to your account
  2. Click the ADMIN link in the header
  3. Click the Portal Settings link in the sub-header
  4. Click Request Publishing/Visibility in the menu on the right hand side
  5. Check the box “Enable embargoing for this account”
  6. Enter the amount of time after which embargoed requests are automatically published in the box
  7. (Optional) if you would like all requests to be set to Embargoed by default, select the Embargoed radio button that is now listed under Default Request Visibility in the section above
  8. Click SAVE

How to set organization level default visibility

Steps for setting organization level default visibility

  1. Sign in to your account
  2. Click the ADMIN link in the header
  3. Click the Portal Settings link in the sub-header
  4. Click Request Publishing/Visibility in the menu on the right hand side
  5. Select the visibility that you want your organization’s requests to be given by default
  6. Click the Save button

How to set department level default visibility

Changing the department level default visibility will only change the visibility of new requests that are assigned to that department. Existing requests that are assigned to that department will keep their existing visibility even when their department’s default visibility is changed.

The default department level visibility must be set when the department is created. The steps below are for changing the default visibility of a department that has already been created. For information about how to create a department, including setting the default visibility click here.

Steps for setting department level default visibility

  1. Sign in to your account
  2. Click the ADMIN link in the header
  3. Click the Departments link in the sub-header
  4. Click the Edit icon () next to the department you want to change the visibility for
  5. Select a visibility option from the Default request visibility drop-down
    • Note: In addition to the standard visibility options, departments have the additional visibility option Account Default. This will always match whatever the organization level default visibility is.
  6. Click the SAVE button