Configuring Journals

This article provides detailed information about the configuration options available for Client Journals. 

It outlines the configuration for the 'Lock Journal entries after' setting and configuring a 'Default Journal Type' for various types of records, i.e. Client, Client Goal, Activity, Staff and Shared Contact records. It also discusses how to set a 'Prompt to create Journal Action' and add a Journal Template for individual Journal Types to act as a guide for Staff when entering information in the Journal record.

Privileges: Staff require the 'Edit System Preferences' Staff Account privilege in order to access the 'Journals' tab in System Preferences where configuration is completed.

Audience: Authorised Representatives, Operations Management


The following list summarises the content of this article. Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections:

Where are Journals configured?

Journals are configured on the 'Journals' tab in System Preferences, accessed via the Dashboard:

Only Staff with the 'Edit System Preferences' privilege as granted in their Staff Account are able to access this area of SupportAbility. 

The Journals tab comprises two sections as follows:

  • Journal Settings - the 'Lock journal entries after' setting and 'Default Journal Type' for Client, Client Goal, Activity, Staff Account and Shared Contact records are configured here.
  • Journal Types - 'Journal Types', Journal 'Templates' and the 'Prompt to create Journal Actions' are configured here. The 'Journal Count' for each Journal Type is also displayed here: 

More information on each of these settings is outlined below in detail.

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Journal Settings

The 'Journal Settings' section is divided into two areas:

  • Lock journal entries after
  • Default Journal Types

More information about each setting has been outlined below.

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Lock journal entries after

Journal Entries are designed to lock within a specified timeframe after their creation, to preserve their integrity, and this period may be customised on the Journals tab in System Preferences. 

By default, Journal entries are locked five days following creation, however, they can be configured to lock after a minimum of one day (the day following the entry) or any number of days greater than this:

Within the period prior to locking, only the Author of the Journal or a Team Leader for the Service and Site this Journal entry has been created can edit the Journal.

Once locked, only Tags, Actions, a Client Assessment or a Client Incident can be added to the Journal record.

Only Staff with the 'Edit Locked Journals' privilege are able to edit all fields, other than the Client, Activity, and Author, in a locked Journal. 

Please see the  'Delete Records' and 'Edit Locked Journals' Staff Account privileges article linked below for more information regarding this privilege. 

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Default Journal Type

When adding Journals, 'Journal Type' is a required field for creating a Journal record.

A 'Default Journal Type' may be configured for the following record types as required:

  • Client
  • Client Goal
  • Activity
  • Staff Account
  • Shared Contact

Once configured, this Journal Type, e.g. Goal Evidence, will automatically be pre-selected by default when Staff create a new Client Journal entry from that record type, e.g. Client Goal record or Goal Strategy: 

When new installations are provisioned, a 'Default Journal Type' is pre-configured for Client records, i.e. File Note, and for Client Goal records, i.e. Goal Evidence.  

When these configuration options were updated with the v7.21 release in April 2022, existing installations also had 'File Note' configured as the 'Default Journal Type' for Activity records.

Configuring a 'Default Journal Type' may be suitable for some record types, e.g. Client Goal records, however, for other record types where a range of different Journal Types would be applicable it may be best to leave the configuration empty i.e. set to '-'.  In these instances when 'No default is set - Staff must select a Journal Type when adding Journals' as indicated by the blue notification message displayed here:

Regardless of whether a Default Journal Type has been configured or not, we recommend advising Staff to always consider selecting the most appropriate Journal Type when adding Journals. We have often observed when a 'Default Journal Type' is configured, that Staff tend to overlook this step resulting in many Journal Types rarely or never being used.

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Journal Types

A default list of Journal Types is included in all SupportAbility installations. We recommend reviewing this list, deleting the Journal Types that are not relevant (or in use) for your organisation, editing any that need renaming, and adding any that are missing to ensure the available Journal Types Staff Members can select from when entering Journals are applicable for your organisation:

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Adding a Journal Type

Journal Types can be added for Client, Staff or Shared Contact records, by selecting the  '+ Add a new journal type' button:

Once this has been selected the following fields display for completion:

  • For - select the applicable record type this Journal Type is being created 'For' i.e. Client, Staff, or Shared Contact record
  • Journal Type - enter the name of the 'Journal Type'
  • Prompt to create Journal Actions - (optional as required) check the 'Prompt to create Journal Actions' box so Staff are prompted to create a Journal Action when adding Journals of this Type
  • Template - (optional as required) create a 'Template' e.g. subject headings to guide Staff on the information content to be entered when adding Journals of this Type

More detailed information on each of these settings is outlined below for reference.

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A set of Journal Types may be created for the following record Types:

  • Client
  • Staff
  • Shared Contact record

When creating a Journal Type the first step is to select the applicable record type it relates to from the available options listed in the 'For' field e.g. Client:

When all fields have been completed and the Journal Type saved, the newly created Journal Type will then be nested in the relevant record type section i.e. Client, Shared Contact, or Staff.

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'Journal Type' Name

Enter the 'New Journal Type' name e.g. Goal Evidence in the relevant field:

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Prompt to create Journal Action

A Journal Action is effectively a task linked to Journal entries that requires action and can be assigned to a specific Staff Member for follow-up. For more information on Journal Actions please refer to the  What is a Client Journal? article linked below for reference. 

Some Journal Types may typically require a follow-up Action to be completed, for example, Complaints, Intake, Behaviour Issues, Medication Updates, Document Reviews etc.  In these instances, an organisation may wish to prompt their Staff to create a Journal Action when adding Journals of specific Types.

To configure a 'Prompt to create Journal Actions', select the related checkbox:

When this has been configured, and Staff add a Journal of this Type, they will be prompted to create a Journal Action from the Journal record as follows.  

A blue reminder notification message, i.e. ' Please create a Journal Action where appropriate' will display in two locations within the Journal record:

  • Journal Details section:

  • Actions section:

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Journal Templates

Journal Templates provide a useful guide as to the type of information Staff are required to enter when adding a Journal of a specific Journal Type.

Journal Template configuration uses a free-text field, with no formatting functionality, where subject headings or simple guidelines may be entered to create a Template for Staff when adding a Journal entry:

Once configured, when Staff add a Journal of this Type, the Template will display in the Journal Notes by default:

N.B. The full template may be viewed by scrolling.

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Saving the Journal Type

Once all fields have been completed for the newly created Journal Type as required, remember to select 'Save Preference Set' to add this Journal Type:

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Editing or Deleting a Journal Type

This section outlines information about the Journal Count, how to Edit the Journal Name, and delete a Journal Type.

Journal Count

The Journal Count is displayed on the Journals tab in System Preferences showing the number of Journals that have been created for each Type:

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Editing the Journal Name

The name of a Journal Type can be edited at any time. 

It is important to note that if the Journal Type is in use, then this will update the name of the Journal Type for all Journals of that Type retrospectively. 

Prior to updating the Journal Type name, an organisation may first wish to review the number and/or content of those Journals currently created for this Journal Type.

The Journal Count i.e. number of Journals of this Journal Type is displayed to the right of the Journal Type details in System Preferences as shown in the related section above.

A Journal Search, accessible via the Dashboard and filtered by the Journal Type to be renamed, will return a list of Journals meeting this criterion that can be reviewed prior to changing the name if required:

To change the Journal Type name simply enter the new name in the relevant field on the Journals tab in System Preferences:

Remember to select 'Save Preference Set' to save this update.

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Deleting a Journal Type

Journal Types can only be deleted when there are no associated Journal entries of that type i.e. the Journal Count is '0'. Please refer to the Journal Count section in this article for more information.  

When attempting to delete a Journal Type that has existing associated Journal records, or has been configured as the 'Default Journal Type' for an individual record type, a Warning message will display advising the deletion cannot be completed for the following reasons:

  • this Journal Type has been utilised in Journals
  • it has been configured as a 'Default Journal Type' for one of the following
    • Client Journals
    • Activity Client Journals
    • Staff Journals
    • Shared Contact Journals
    • Goal record/evidence Journals

Reinstating deleted Journal Types

Deleted 'Journal Types' cannot be re-instated and a new Journal Type with the same details will need to be created in System Preferences. 

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