Teams Shared Channels Overview

Shared channels in Microsoft Teams create collaboration spaces for people inside and outside your team or organisation. They offer a seamless and improved collaboration with those inside and outside of the NHSmail central tenant, helping to extend teamwork effectively and efficiently across organisational boundaries.

This article is intended to give an overview of the Teams shared channels functionality for NHSmail users and Local Administrators. For more information, please refer to the additional guidance for Users and the guidance for Local Administrators.

What are Teams shared channels?

Teams ‘shared’ channels are a new type of channel that complement the two existing types of Teams channels, ‘standard’ and ‘private’, but have slightly different capabilities.

Shared channels in Microsoft Teams create collaboration spaces in which you can invite colleagues inside and outside of NHSmail to chat and collaborate on documents.

People outside of the NHSmail tenant can participate in a shared channel without switching profiles, so Teams groups and shared channels can be viewed and accessed in the same place.

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

When to use Teams shared channels?

Shared channels can be used to manage a set of individuals within or outside of a team or tenant. You can use shared channels to collaborate with people within NHSmail and people outside of NHSmail that have been approved for shared channels collaboration.

The following table explains when you should use shared channels versus standard and private channels.

To collaborate with: Shared channel Standard channel Private channel
Everyone on your team ü ü
Specific people on your team ü ü
People outside your team ü
People outside of NHSmail ü ü
(Use B2B Guest access)
(Use B2B Guest access)
People outside of NHSmail (without switching tenant in the Teams client) ü

What are the benefits of using Teams shared channels?

Shared channels in Teams enable NHSmail organisations and approved external partners to work together in a shared space, have conversations, share and co-author files and collaborate without needing to switch tenants.

Shared channels allow users to share and access resources, chat and see contact information in a similar way to how users interact with internal users in a shared collaboration space, increasing the ease of live document collaboration and improving inter-organisation collaboration. Shared channels create an easily accessible shared document storage space, reducing over-sharing and team proliferation.

How do Teams shared channels work?

The Teams shared channels functionality for NHSmail allows users from an external partner organisation to participate in a shared channel. Once the user’s account has been invited and directly added to the shared channel, they can collaborate in the channel without the need to switch tenants.

The process to request the enablement of shared channels with a new or existing external organisation (domain) is administered via the Helpdesk Self-Service (HSS) route. An NHSmail organisation’s Local Administrators can create a new HSS request to configure shared channels, amend an existing configuration, or delete a domain.

Important note:

Teams shared channel policies are applied to the requested all user ODS security groups. This means all users within the onboarded organisations requested by the Local Administrators as part of the process will be granted all permissions: able to create and participate in shared channels on both sides and able to invite external users into shared channels (All Shared Channels Features). It is the responsibility of the organisations to assess this position and accept the associated risk before proceeding. For further information about when more granular controls to manage user access to shared channels will be introduced, please refer to this section of the Teams Shared Channels LA Guide article

The requesting NHSmail organisation and the external partner organisation will need to meet the necessary pre-requisites and follow the relevant governance process to enable the shared channel functionality. Once the governance process and the configuration with the NHSmail tenant has been completed, shared channels can be enabled for seamless collaboration.

If you are a user wishing to take advantage of the Teams shared channels functionality to better collaborate with users from an external organisation, please contact your Local Administrator to discuss your requirements.

If you are a Local Administrator looking to onboard your organisation, please refer to the Teams Shared Channels LA Guide.

What is on the delivery roadmap for Teams shared channels?

From 2024 Q1, Local Administrators can apply shared channel policies at user level via the NHSmail Portal. This means that access can be restricted to the required users within an organisation. This release will also allow for immediate collaboration with the onboarded domains found here without the need to process the HSS onboarding route.

There are 6 policy options, each representing a different level of permissions which Local Administrators can assign via the NHSmail Portal. For more information about Teams shared channel policies and permissions, please refer to the Teams Shared Channels LA Guide.

The HSS request forms will continue to operate for requesting new domains, updating the outbound groups for existing domains as well as editions and deletions.

Where can I find out more about Teams shared channels?

For more information, please refer to the additional guidance for Users and the guidance for Local Administrators. For more information about how to use Teams shared channels, please refer to the Using Teams Shared Channels article.

You can also refer to the following Microsoft guidance for more information:

Last Reviewed Date 16/10/2023
Updated on 17/10/2023

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