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Council File Plan (CFP)

The CFP is the primary storage area for records which are not held within back office applications such as Information@Work and Care First. It has replaced the shared drives and the use of email personal folders. The efficient use of the CFP has resulted in:

  • Less duplication
  • More sharing
  • Improved retention control
  • Improved compliance with The Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act.
  • Improved security

You can view which groups have permissions for files and folders by completing the following steps:

  1. Right-click the file or folder you want to work with.
  2. From the pop-up menu, select Properties, and then in the Properties dialog box click Security
  3. In the ‘Group or user names’ box you will see a list of groups that have access to the file or folder. Click on the group whose permissions you want to view. If the permissions are dimmed, it means the permissions are inherited from a parent object (i.e. from a folder higher in the structure).

File and folder naming conventions are key to maintaining well-organised electronic file structures. Benefits of consistent file and folder naming are:

  • Files are easily distinguished one from another
  • File names are easier to browse
  • Retrieval is easier for all users (not just the file’s creator)

How to name files and folders consistently:
There are two options available to name files and folders, either by date or description. You must order the elements in a file name according to the way the file will be retrieved.

File by Date

  • To be used for all agendas, minutes, e-mails
  • Use the format Year-Month-Day YYYY-MM-DD. This will maintain chronological order. e.g. 2010-03-24 Agenda not 24 March 2010 Agenda
  • Include a leading zero for numbers 0-9 e.g. 2010-04-01 Minutes, Office Procedures v01.  This will maintain the numeric order in the file directory.
  • All recurring events (e.g., meeting minutes, regular periodic reports, budget planning documents) should include both the date and the event, date first.

File by description

  • To be used for all reports, policies, procedures and infrequent events
  • Keep file names short and relevant. File names should be kept as short as possible whilst also being meaningful. Long file names mean long file paths and long URLs which increase the likelihood of error, are more difficult to remember and recognise, and are more difficult to transmit in emails as they often ‘break’.)
  • Avoid using initials, abbreviations and codes that are not commonly understood.
  • Include a leading zero for numbers 0 - 9, e.g. v01 not v1
  • Avoid format or version e.g. draft, memo at start of file names e.g /…/Publicity Folder/ Advertising Draft not /…/Publicity Folder/ Draft Advertising
  • When using personal names, put surname at start of file e.g. Grant S not Memo S Grant
  • Version number of record should be included
  • Remove FW (Forward) & RE from e-mail titles


  1. Create or modify your document as usual.
  2. When you ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’ click on Computer or Desktop in the left pane.
  3. Select the Council File Plan and navigate to the relevant folder

How to save messages (with or without attachments) to the Council File Plan:

  1. Open the message
  2. Click on: File / Save As
  3. Change to the relevant folder in the CFP.
  4. Check the file name, refer to "How to name your files and folders", and take out the FW or RE in order for your message to be stored in alphabetical or numerical order with other records in your folder.  If you want the name of the sender in the description just add their name at the end of the file name
  5. Choose a type: Select Outlook Message Format
  6. Click on Save

Alternative method is to 'open' your relevant area of the Council File Plan and drag and drop messages from Outlook.  However the message subject will be the file name and will contain FW and RE if it’s in the message subject.

How to copy files to the CFP from your U Drive:

  1. Double Click on the U drive.
  2. CTRL+ A to highlight all the folders
  3. Right click on any of the folders
  4. Click Copy
  5. Go to the relevant folder in the Council File Plan
  6. Right click
  7. Select Paste
  8. Go back to your U Drive and delete the folders copied over.

**You are strongly advised to Copy and Paste rather than Cut and Paste in case something goes wrong during the paste**

You should insert links to documents in e-mails wherever possible.

Creating links to documents

  1. In a new email message, click Attach File.
  2. Choose “Computer” (on the left hand side)
  3. Choose Council File Plan
  4. And then navigate to correct file and click on it once. DO NOT click Insert. 
  5. Now look carefully at the Insert button . See the little arrow to its right? Click on that arrow.
  6. Select Insert as Hyperlink.

Creating links to folders

  1. Make sure that you access the CFP through the icon on your desktop or through Computer.
  2. Highlight the file path in the address bar.
  3. Right Click and select Copy
  4. Insert  < or “ into your email message
  5. Right Click and select Paste and insert > or “
  6. Press enter and the file path should turn blue. If not, make sure that there’s no space between the < and the file path.

Instead of drilling down the Council File Plan for your most popular folders you may want to create shortcuts to these folders on your desktop or taskbar.

How to create shortcuts: Desktop

  1. Right click on your desktop.
  2. Scroll to New and select.
  3. You will now have the Create a Shortcut Wizard window.
  4. Browse for and select the folder that you want placed on the Desktop.
  5. Click Next and Finish.

How to create shortcuts: Desktop

  1. Right Click on the taskbar.
  2. Scroll to Toolbars and select New Toolbar.
  3. Choose a folder.
  4. Click Ok.  The name of your folder will now appear on the taskbar.
  5. Click on the double arrows for your folder’s contents.

If you accidently overwrite or delete a file on the Council File Plan (CFP), you are able to restore it yourself using Windows’ built in ‘Restore Previous Versions’ feature.

First of all, make a note of the document name that you wish to restore. Then right click on the folder on the CFP that contains the document and select ‘Restore Previous Versions’.

You will be presented with a list of dates and times, navigate to the time and date you wish to restore the document from, highlight it, and click open. This will open the previous version of the folder. Locate the document and right click on it, selecting ‘Copy’.

Finally, navigate back to the original folder on the CFP, right click in any white space in the folder and select ‘Paste’, this will restore the previous version of the document to the current folder.

What if I created the document after the last backup?

CFP previous version backups are created every day at 07:00, 12:00 and 16:30. If you created and accidently deleted/saved over a document in between one of these backups then unfortunately the previous version will not be accessible for restoration. In this case please contact the IT Service Desk and we will attempt to recover the file from your local machine.

Are there any restrictions?

The previous versions feature only keeps a finite amount of backups, if you find that you need a document which for example was deleted 12 months ago, it is likely the previous version will not exist, in this instance we advise you contact the IT Service Desk – however be advised you will need to explain why you need the document restored from the CFP (e.g. is it business critical?) before we can proceed.

Please note: From our experience we often find that missing files or folders on the Council File Plan have not been deleted but accidentally moved to another folder. Before you try and restore what you think is a deleted file or folder please check in the other folders in case the missing file or folder has been accidentally moved.

An easy way to do this would be to search the ‘parent’ folder. Open the folder your file/folder was located in, type its name in the search box at the top right and press the ‘enter’ button. Then check the results to see if you can see the missing item.

Page updated: 05/09/2019 16:28:59