Types of people

Every organisation is different when it comes to what kind of people they want to record data about, but most organisations that OpenCase is aimed at will have clients and volunteers, so these two come as default.

Other examples might be third parties such as doctors or lawyers, if they are involved in cases; partner organisations for signposting people to; or staff members, for organisations that have paid staff.

Custom fields

All person types come with default fields for storing contact information. But you will probably want to add different fields for different kinds of people as well. For example, a Volunteer type might have fields such as skills, experience and training, whereas a Client type might have nationality, language and medical conditions. For documentation on this, see Configuring Person Types and Configuring Fields

Difference between people in the system, and users of the system

What can be confusing at the start is the difference between a person whose details are stored in the system, and a user, someone who has a login and is able to access the system and do things in it.

But an example should make this clear.

Suppose you are running a shelter for homeless people and you are using OpenCase to record who comes to your shelter, how their stay goes, and what advice or support they have received on each visit. The people working at the shelter would need to log in to OpenCase and enter details of the people sleeping at the shelter. The people sleeping at the shelter, however, would not have logins. They would be in the system as people, but they would not have user accounts. The workers might also like to keep records of helpful organisations in there too such as food banks or housing associations. Contacts for these organisations could be recorded in OpenCase even if the only activities that involve them are signposting people to them. But of course they would not be users (would not have logins).

None of this means that people cannot have access to the data about them. In fact, under the GDPR, it is compulsory to give people all the data about them if they ask. But being a user of OpenCase, having a login, is a different thing from simply being on the system.

People who are usually actors but not users

  • Clients of the service you are providing
  • Third parties such as solicitors and food banks - you may want their details on the system because they are involved in cases or to record signpostings to them
  • Some volunteers might not need a login because their work does not require recording data; but they are on as an actor so that people can find their contact details and so that people can record activities involving them.

People who are usually both

  • Volunteers. A volunteer who is involved in casework needs to be on the system so that their involvement can be recorded. They will usually also have a login and will probably be responsible for recording their own activities with clients.
  • Staff. Staff members will usually have a record on OpenCase even if they are not involved in cases, so that people can find their contact details. They would usually also have a login.

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