Public processes frequently require review or approval โ€“ from within a department or from representatives of multiple departments. Review steps let require a review of the application for it to move forward, and assign a specific person or group of people to do that Review, using a Role to ensure that Reviews can continue independent of future staff changes.

For example, a special event permit may need sign-off from any one of a group of several Public Safety Officers, and additionally a specific person in the Parks and Rec department to review any application that includes a request for amplified sound or food sales. ย Here's an overview of how the Review process works on ClearForms, once a review step has been set up.

You may include multiple Review groups or sections (often, each group is one department or business unit) in the same review step if you'd like reviews to happen simultaneously, or you can create multiple review steps if you'd like them to happen sequentially.

Each review step must have at least one review group and at least one Role or person listed as a reviewer, otherwise you won't be able to save the step or publish and use the Workflow.

For each review group you're able to:

  • Give the reviewer or review group a title (just type in where it says "Untitled Reviewer")

  • Determine whether the review is required or optional.

  • Require a signature from the reviewer using our Online signature tool (useful if you need to document for audit purposes exactly when and who approved a specific application).

  • Determine whether "All" or "Any" of the Roles listed or individual people in a review group must review the application. Please note that when you're using Roles to manage reviews, once one person in that Role completes their review the process can move forward.

  • Set up default "Approve" or "Reject" messages for your reviewers to use.

We strongly recommend using Roles to manage reviews. Using a Role (rather than an individual user account) means that you are able to move individual people into and out of that Role when you need to. Some governments also choose to use group email addresses in Review steps, but we don't recommend this as it makes it difficult to tell who has actually completed the review, unless a signature is required.

For more about how staffers use ClearForms to review applications once a Workflow is published and in use, please see our guide: How to Review Applications on ClearForms.

You can search for a Role or individual to add as an Reviewer by typing a name. If you'd like to create a new Role for the Review function, it's easy to do by following the prompts. After you create the Role and add people to it, you'll then add the Role as the Reviewer. To add individual accounts search for the person's name or email address and If they're in the system already, just select their name.

With Roles, If you ever want to remove or swap out a reviewer, you add or remove them from the Role. The Role will always have access and you can add or remove individual within that Role when you need to.

Our default settings mean that people in Roles included as Reviewers on a specific Workflow will only receive emails from ClearForms when an application is ready for their Review. They can also see applications that are ready for their Review in their Dashboard any time.

You can also set all the standard options that we provide for any Step type: Adding email notifications, setting a timeframe (good for making sure that Reviews are completed quickly), and adding instructions for your Reviewers.

Unlike many other software companies, ClearForms doesn't put any limit on the number of reviewers a government can have in our system. We want to encourage more people in your organization to use technology to improve your process, not fewer!

Ready to get started bringing your processes, forms, and permits online as a ClearForms admin? Our "How ClearForms Works" page is a great place to start.

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