Fields (Custom & Standard)

CLASS administrators need to understand how fields work in the database, especially if your aim is to edit an existing field, or create a new custom field. So lets start with the basics

What actually is a field?

A good question. A field is a place where your data goes.

Lets take a look at some examples from the screenshot of a Client page below: 

Above we can see a variety of fields. For example we can see:

  • Client ID – which is a field that cannot be edited. When you save a new Client the id is created by adding 1 to the last Client ID that was saved before it.
  • Client Type – this is an example of a field with a dropdown selector
  • First Name – this is a field with a text box, you can write straight into this field the first time, then it must be edited from the Additional Details tab thereafter. 
  • Date Of Birth – is a date field, clicking on it results in the date selector pop-up
  • Date of Birth Type – is a multiple choice selector
  • Flagged – is a simple tick box field.

So from the above we can see a variety of styles of fields. But it is also important to understand that in CLASS there are two types of fields:

Standard Fields and Custom Fields and these two types operate quite differently.  

Standard fields are the standard issue options that all centres begin with. They start with obvious things like Client First Name and Last Name, and date of Birth etc, and on Services they include Service Type, and Legal Problem Type and many more. There are also a lot of Standard fields baked into CLASS as these were required by the National Legal Data Standards which are critical for the majority of centres funded under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services. These include Gender, Country of Birth, Financial Disadvantage indicator etc. Standard fields can be managed further by Field Mapping (see below). 

Custom Fields by contrast to the above, are fields that have been custom created by the centre. These may have been created in the old database CLSIS and brought over to CLASS, or they may have been created recently in CLASS itself. Custom fields can be added to many elements in CLASS such as to Clients, or all Services, or Services with particular Legal Problem Types, to Workers, or even your Centre Profile. Custom fields can be searchable, and also added to reports. There is also a great variety of Custom field styles, such as those listed above including drop downs, text boxes, tick boxes, dates etc, so it is very important to consider which style of custom field your centre needs before creating it. 

Field Options – Another important element of Fields are Field Options. These are the selectable options that are built into a field. Not all Fields have options. For example a First Name field does not have any selectable options, because the user would create the data directly by typing the name into the field. A Client Type by contrast has three options which we can see in the screenshot below:

By clicking on Client type, the “dropdown” menu is activated revealing the 4 available options: Individual, Organisation, Government body or Agency, and Other.  

How to add or edit options? 

Many (but not all) fields can have their options edited or additional options added. It is a little tricky here because there are different places to do this depending on which Field Type it is. In general Standard fields can edited by CLASS Administrators with the correct permissions in Service Settings / Types & Categories, while Custom fields can be edited from the Customise button in the top right of the screen that they are attached to. So a Custom field attached to a Client can be edited from the Customise button on the client page, and a Custom Field attached to a Service can be edited via the Customise button on the Service page. After clicking Customise, the user will need to click the Custom Fields Tab.

How do I know if a field is a Standard field or a Custom field? 

So you want to edit an option, to begin you will need to know where to make the edit. How do we know if a field is a Standard or Custom field? 

Well if a field is listed in Service Settings / Types & Categories you know you are dealing with a Standard field. However, be aware that not all names in Types & Categories exactly match the exact field name, this is because there may be competing field names in different parts of CLASS. The solution is to search carefully around for the correct field. A good ways is to open the Types and Categories page, and use your browser search to look for your title or names similar to it.

The other way is to search the Standard field lists.  If your field is not there, you are probably dealing with a custom field. 

If you are still having trouble finding your field, contact CLASS Helpdesk for assistance. 

Field Mapping

Field mapping is for Standard Fields, and is the mechanism where CLASS administrators with correct permissions can choose where a field will or will not appear in CLASS. For Standard fields attached to Clients admins can select which fields will appear depending on Client type. (e.g. make certain fields only show when they are for organisations.) For Standard fields on Services, Fields can be set to appear depending on the Service type. This also where Admins can hide Standard fields, but care should be taken as it may be possible to hide fields required for reporting etc.

Find out more about managing fields and options by clicking on the sub-menus below: