Consulting staff within the council correctly by creating and sharing Microsoft Forms
Thu, 31 Mar 2022

Staff may, at some stage in their work, be required to consult other members of staff or teams within the council for opinions, expertise or feedback.

At the council, we have an established consultation process which involves contact with the consultation team before any internal consultations, such as short surveys, feedback, reviews and baselining, are sent out.

The consultation team provides oversight and input, especially when questions are drafted, to help ensure consistency of approach and adherence to necessary requirements.

The team uses the SMART software for surveys carried out across the council, with the team building these surveys for staff as it ensures data protection, equalities and accessibility compliance, along with following best practice and the 'Gunning principles' (more information about which can be found here).  

However, did you know that if you are looking to create quick, easy-to-manage real-time polls (to share for internal use to colleagues within the council) or to make your meetings interactive, you can via Office 365 apps?

Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms are a handy tool to use when staff would like to create quickfire polls and other functions for internal use, and can be used for meetings and presentations, instantly bringing an interactive element to the table.

If staff would like to use Microsoft Forms for surveys or feedback, agreement with the consultation team should be sought first, as the team will need to proof the questions for compliance and may need to build this in SMART survey.

By following council best practices and complying with the council's data protection policy, the forms can be created using either multiple choice or text-based questions - or a mixture of both - and sent out and viewed on corporate PCs, laptops and mobiles.

Matthew Turner, information governance and feedback manager, said: "If you create a Microsoft Form, you might collect personal information. If it is necessary to do this, you should always be clear about how you intend to use it. Our consultation team is there in every instance to build and oversee each survey, so that only essential information is collected, and best practices are followed. 

"Please also remember it will be your responsibility to make sure the information you collect is kept secure. Most importantly though, remember that responses to Forms are linked to your M365 account - if it is information which needs to be kept as evidence for service decisions, you need to think where the most appropriate place to store the results long term are."

Microsoft Forms must not be used for external surveys. 

Examples of use for surveys and polls

Below is a list of the types of consultations staff would like to share, and whether it needs to be created via the consultation team or Microsoft Forms (with consultation team oversight on both before they are issued).

Consultation description

Consultation Team or Microsoft Form?

External polling

Consultation team

Formal external survey

Consultation team

Formal internal survey

Consultation team

Informal external survey

Consultation team

Informal internal survey / staff survey

Microsoft Forms

Internal polling

Microsoft Forms

How do I get Forms?

Forms are available from the Office 365 menu (see below) and offer a quick route for more than one staff member to collect information that can form part of the next project work undertaken.

Forms image 1

Forms image 2

The 'Choice' style of question for a form (see above) allows staff to pose questions with a multitude of options, adding or removing depending on how many answers are sought in an easily editable page (see below).

Top tip: a Microsoft Form must have more than one owner.

Forms image 3

If the question requires an answer from the respondents then the 'Required' toggle can be activated, which will show a red asterisk on the final version of the form.

Forms image 4

If a survey or quiz would like the staff respondent to share their thoughts in an answer, they can with the 'Text' option. Simply select this method and write the question and the member of staff can write their thoughts in the answer box (see below).

Forms image 5

If the survey or quiz would like to get detailed information from the staff respondent, it can by selecting the 'Long answer' toggle. This will create extra space in the answer box.

Forms image 6

These are just the basics of what staff can find when creating a Form. For more information about building one from scratch, visit here.

Sending out my Form correctly

If a Form has been created that is taking shape as a council-wide survey, it will need to be checked and verified by the consultation services before it is shared internally among colleagues.

Forms image 7

The then-approved survey or quiz is ready to share through a simple process of either a URL to copy and paste in an email to the targeted staff respondents and/or a QR code for Smart Phone users (see below).

Forms image 8

Alternatively, the survey or quiz can be shared via an embed code (see below).

Forms image 9

Staff can find out more information about sharing their work by visiting here.

After staff have been given time to complete the survey or quiz, the responses to the questions can be then viewed and evaluated. To discover how to view the results of a form - even in real-time - visit here

To get more information about Microsoft Forms, staff can visit here.

For a comprehensive guide on the key things to remember when creating either a Microsoft Form or consultation surveys internally, visit here. Alternatively, more information about consultation can be found on the Business Intelligence pages here.


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