Teams and channels

This guide explains:

  • what a 'team' and a 'channel' is in Microsoft Teams and how to use them
  • when not to use teams and channels
  • message history
  • guidance for creating teams and channels
  • owner permissions
  • the use of files within channels
  • file history
  • guidance for adding files to channels
  • team and channel closedown
  • further chat guidance

What are teams and channels and how you should use them

Teams

Microsoft Teams is the name of the software, but you can also create teams inside Microsoft Teams.

Think of a team as the team that you work in and would sit with in the office. It is a collection of people, content and tools surrounding a project. Teams are made up of channels and automatically have a general channel when created.

You should use a team to create a working space for your team or department to work closely on projects.

Channels

Think of a channel for a specific project where you have conversations, share and work together on files and have meetings. These are dedicated spaces within a team to keep conversations and projects organised. You can add everyone who is in the team to a channel or specific people working on a project.

You should use channels to:

  • have discussions about projects and council business
  • share documents
  • work on and comment on documents at the same time
  • schedule a meeting from the 'meet' dropdown list
  • include people from external organisations who are working with you on the project.

Please note: anything you say within a channel can be requested for anyone to view under the freedom of information act - please be careful about what you say while using channels.

When not to use teams and channels

You should not use teams and channels:

  • to discuss or share documents with external people, if they shouldn't be able to access them as a non-council employee
  • for general chats with individuals
  • to store files as a final resting place. They should be saved in a service agreed location where the relevant people can access them, such as a shared network drive.

Message history

As channel messages are subject to retention rules the same as any other council information - meaning messages can not be kept longer than they are required - the following actions have been put in place to happen automatically:

  • 0 to 365 days: You are able to view any messages you send, or someone sends to you, within a teams channel.
  • 366 to 395 days: Your messages will be moved to your messages archive. To regain access to these messages, email the IT Service Desk.
  • Day 396: Your messages are automatically deleted.

Please note: these retention schedules for channels came into effect on 1 December 2021. Please make sure that any information you have shared and want to retain after this date has been moved elsewhere, such as a network drive so you don't lose them.

Guidance for creating teams and channels

Name and set up a team

The name of your team should include the service area initials, whether the team is internal or external and a descriptive name.

For example, for the information governance and feedback team as part of legal and democratic services, this could be - LD-(I)-IG&F or LD-(I)-Information governance and feedback.

You need to raise a ticket on the ICT Customer Portal (previously IT Service Desk).

Access the ICT Customer Portal

You will receive a response once the team has been created.

Set up a channel

Setting up a channel in TeamsChannels within a team can only be created by the owner(s) of the team.

  1. Select the 3 dots next to the name of the relevant team.
  2. Select Add channel.








  3. Channel name and description

  4. Add a suitable name for the channel.
  5. Add a description for the channel so that others can find the right channel.
  6. Select Standard or Private from the Privacy dropdown menu.








  7. Standard channel set up

  8. If you select standard in step 5 and would like the channel list to appear for everyone select the check box. This option is not available when selecting private.
  9. Select Add.
  10. Your standard channel has now been created and should appear under the relevant team you have added it to.





    Private channel set up

  11. If you selected private in step 5, select Create.












  12. Private channel set up

  13. Search for the team members you would like to add to the new channel.
  14. Select Add.
  15. You can skip adding members to the channel and add them later.

Your private channel has now been created and should appear under the relevant team you have added it to.

Owner permissions

Owner responsibilities

As an owner of a team you have more permissions than general members and are responsible for the management of it. Your responsibilities are to:

  • make sure membership of the team or channel remains correct
  • add at least one other owner so that if you leave the council or are off for an extended or unexpected period the team or channel isn't lost
  • make sure it is used appropriately by all members
  • assign the correct permissions to members of the team
  • remove team members who no longer need access
  • manage files associated with the team and channels
  • delete any teams, channels and files when they are no longer needed.
Manage your teams

Manage your teamsIt is important to take time to manage your teams to make sure that teams, channels and team members are removed when we no longer need them as it will make it easier for us to manage our data as a council. You can do this be following the simple steps below.

  1. Select the 3 dots next to the name of the relevant team.
  2. The options available to you will display.

Please note: The list of options available to you depends whether you are an owner, team member or guest. Only owners of a team will have full permissions and be able to edit and delete teams.

Renew a team

As teams are subject to retention rules the same as any other council information - meaning information can not be kept longer than required - the following actions have been put in place to happen automatically:

  • Day 365: As an owner you will be asked whether the team is still required.
  • 366 to 395 days: If you don't renew your team, it will be moved to an archive. To regain access to the team, raise a ticket via the ICT Customer Portal - other software ticket option. This has replaced the IT Service Desk.
  • Day 396: Your messages are automatically deleted.

Please note: these retention schedules for teams came into effect on 1 December 2021.

Using files within channels

If you want to share a file with a project team, you can do this within a channel. If the file is an editable Microsoft file, such as Word or Excel, the members of the channel can also work collaboratively with you on the document.

File history

As files are subject to retention rules the same as any other council information - meaning documents can not be kept longer than they are required - the following actions have been put in place to happen automatically:

  • 0 to 365 days: You are able to view any files, since the date they were last modified, that you have shared, or someone has shared with you, within a channel.
  • 366 to 395 days: Your files will be moved to an archive. To regain access to them, email the IT Service Desk.
  • Day 396: Your files are automatically deleted.

Please note: these retention schedules for channels came into effect on 1 December 2021. Please make sure that any information you have shared and want to retain after this date has been moved elsewhere, such as a network drive so you don't lose them.

Guidance for adding files to channels

Add a file to the posts area

You can add a file to the general posts area as a conversation or in response to a previous message.

Add a file within the conversation

New converstaion
  1. Select New conversation.








  2. Upload a file within the conversation

  3. Select the attachment icon.
  4. Select where you want to upload the file from. This will usually be OneDrive or your computer.

This will add the file in to the conversation area so that you can add any supporting text to your post before sending the file to the channel.

Please note: Files added this way will also display in the files tab for the channel.

Reply to a converstaion

Add a file by replying to a conversation

  1. Select Reply.












  2. Upload a file by replying to a conversation

  3. Select the attachment icon.
  4. Select where you want to upload the file from. This will usually be OneDrive or your computer.
Add a file to the files area

Files area in a channel

  1. Select Files from the top of the channel.
  2. Select Upload.










  3. Upload a file in the files area

  4. Select Files to upload individual files or Folders to upload a folder with multiple files.
  5. You will then be able to navigate to the relevant folder and upload your files.

Manage files

Manage your teams filesRemember Teams is a collaboration tool where you can work on documents with colleagues and shouldn't be used as a place to store your documents. When you have finishing working on them, you should save them outside of Teams and remove them from your team or channel. Follow the simple steps below.

  1. Select a channel within a team.
  2. Select Files.

Any files uploaded to that channel will display and you can manage them as required.

Team and channel closedowns

Delete a team

Deleting a teamOnly owners have permissions to delete teams.

  1. Select the 3 dots next to the name of the relevant team.
  2. Select Delete the team.

Please note: If you delete a team, all the channels that were part of the team will also be deleted.

Delete a channel

Deleting channel documentsOnly owners of teams can delete channels within them. You must delete any documents before deleting a public channel as they will remain in SharePoint if you don't.

  1. Select the channel.
  2. Select Files.
  3. Select the documents to delete
  4. Select Delete.




  5. Deleting a channel

  6. Select the 3 dots next to the name of the relevant channel.
  7. Select Delete this channel.
What happens to files when a team or channel is deleted?

If an owner deletes a:

  • team - the associated files are also deleted
  • private channel - the associated files are deleted. A private channel is indicated by a lock symbol
  • public channel - the associated files are not deleted and remain in SharePoint. Owners must delete documents before closing a channel.

Need further guidance?

If you have any questions or concerns about using teams and channels, you can:

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