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Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

Please Note:
Teams Shared Channels are only available to a closed group of early adopters and are not more widely available at this time. If you have any queries, please contact feedback@nhs.net.  

1. What are Shared Channels?

A shared channel is a place to collaborate with people inside and outside your team or organisation. People outside your org can participate in a shared channel without switching profiles, so teams and shared channels can be viewed and accessed in the same dialog

1.1 How do I use Shared Channels?

A shared channel functions like any other channel within a team site, so users can chat, store, edit and collaborate on documents and files held within the shared channel.

To create a shared channel, simply select “shared” from the privacy options that are displayed when you select “Add channel” from within a team site. Its important to note however, that when adding users from the different orgs you must select their local identity as per the below table:

Organisation Identity
NHS England xxxxx@ENGLAND.NHS.UK
NHS England (former Health Education England) xxxxx@HEE.NHS.UK


Once access has been given, a shared channel can be identified by the word (External) followed by an icon, example below.

1.2 Where can I find more information?

2. When to Use a Shared Channel

As part of this early adopter phase, if you have a requirement to communicate with colleagues at @england.nhs.uk, @hee.nhs.uk, or @nhs.net, this is the recommendation for Shared Channels use/creation.

3. User Guide

3.1 Setting up a Shared Channel

Please note: Only NHSmail Teams Owners can create a Shared Channel.

  1. Click on the ‘…’ under the Microsoft Team you would like to create the Shared Channel, and click ‘add channel’
  2. Input the required Channel Name, and Description.
  3. Under the permissions drop down, select ‘Shared’. Now select ‘Add’.
  4. Your Shared Channel is now created.
  5. Next to the Channel name in your Left Side panel, select ‘…’, then select ‘Share Channel’.
  6. Choose either ‘With People’, ‘With a Team’, or ‘With a Team You Own’ depending on your requirements

a. When adding HEE colleagues, please use their @hee.nhs.uk address
b. When adding NHSE colleagues, please use their @england.nhs.uk

3.2 Accessing a Shared Channel

Shared Channels you are a member of will appear in your Teams instance. You can access the Shared Channels as you would in any other Teams Channel, by clicking the name.

3.3 Shared Channel Communications

When you go to any channel in Teams, the first tab you’ll see is Posts. Think of Posts as one big group conversation. Everyone who has access to the channel can see all the messages on the Posts tab.

  1. Click ‘New Conversation’ in the bottom left-hand side of the Channel Posts Page
  2. Click the edit button in the bottom left of the conversation box to bring up an editable version of the chat box.
  3. Create your message as you would in any other Teams Channel.
  4. Click ‘Send’ button in the bottom right of the message box.
  5. Your message will appear in the Channel Chat.
  6. All members will be able to read and reply.

3.4 Shared Channel Files

Shared channels facilitate the synchronous storing and editing of documents, avoiding tricky version control across organisations.

  1. Click ‘Files’ in the top banner of the Shared Channel to access the file storage
  2. Select ‘Upload’ to upload an existing document to the Shared Channel.
  3. Select the document you wish to upload from the File Manager Pop-Out
  4. Your file is now accessible to anyone in the Shared Channel
  5. To edit a file, select the file you would like to edit via the Shared Channel Files tab
  6. Make any edits to the file
  7. The edits will be automatically saved to the live document
  8. This allows all internal and external participants to collaborate on one document without sending via email

3.5 Shared Channel Permissions

  • If added to the Shared Channel, you will be able to access any of the files and folders attached; these permissions are replicated in the automatically created SharePoint
  • The ownership of the data will remain with the hosting organisation, even if information has been uploaded by colleagues from other organisations
  • If a document link is shared from the Shared Channel with another direct recipient who does not have access to the Shared Channel, the recipient will only be able to access the document
    • Only host organisation colleagues can share the document to a new direct recipient
    • External colleagues can only share with existing members of the Shared Channel

3.6 SharePoint Connection

  • Files, folders, and OneNote notebooks in a Shared Channel can be shared with people outside the channel by using standard SharePoint file sharing.
  • If a user is granted access to a file, folder, or notebook in a Shared Channel through SharePoint, removing the user from the team or Shared Channel won’t remove the user’s access to the file, folder, or notebook.
  • If an existing notebook is added as a tab to a Shared Channel, access to the Shared Channel isn’t changed and the notebook retains its existing permissions.

3.7 Shared Channel SharePoint Sites

  • Each Shared Channel has its own SharePoint site.
  • The separate site is to ensure access to Shared Channel files is restricted to only members of the Shared Channel.
  • These sites are created with a document library by default, and can be easily enhanced to a full-featured site through the site management interface.
  • Each site is created in the same geographic region as the site for the parent team. These lightweight sites have a custom template ID, “TEAMCHANNEL#0”, for easier management through PowerShell and Graph API.

3.8 Owners and Members Responsibilities

  • A Shared Channel owner can’t be removed through the Teams client if they are the last owner of one or more Shared Channels.
  • If the last Shared Channel owner leaves your organisation or if they are removed from the Microsoft 365 group associated with the team, a member of the Shared Channel is automatically promoted to be the Shared Channel owner. Consider adding more than one owner to avoid this situation.
  • Each Shared Channel has its own settings that the channel owner can manage, including the ability to add and remove members, add tabs, and @mentioning for the entire channel. These settings are independent of the parent team settings. When a Shared Channel is created, it inherits settings from the parent team, after which its settings can be changed independently of the parent team settings.

4. Current Restrictions

  • Only users that are members of partner tenants, that have been configured for Shared Channels, can be added
  • Stream, Planner, and Forms are currently unable to be hosted within a Shared Channel
  • Bots, connectors, and message extensions are not supported
  • Notifications from shared channels are not included in missed activity emails

5. Further Notes

  • Only people with owner or member permissions in the channel will have access to content in the Shared Channel site. People in the parent team and admins won’t have access unless they are also channel members.
  • A Shared Channel site syncs data classification from the site of the parent team.
    • Membership to the site owner and member groups are kept in sync with the membership of the Shared Channel.
    • Site permissions for a Shared Channel site can’t be managed independently through SharePoint.
  • Teams manages the lifecycle of the Shared Channel site. If the site is deleted outside of Teams, it is restored automatically within four hours as long as the Shared Channel is still active. If the site is permanently deleted, a new site is provisioned for the Shared Channel.
  • If a Shared Channel or a team containing a Shared Channel is restored, the sites are restored with it. If a Shared Channel site is restored and it’s beyond the 30-day soft delete window for the Shared Channel, the site operates as a standalone site.

6. Further Microsoft Guidance

Last Reviewed Date 12/07/2023
Updated on 12/07/2023

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