Introduction and access to Whitehall publisher
Understand how Whitehall publisher works and how you access it.
Production and Integration environments
We have 2 separate publishing environments - Production and Integration - and you need a login for each.
Content on Integration is overwritten each night, so do not store any documents there that you want to keep.
You cannot sync documents marked ‘access limited’ between the Production and Integration environments.
Request an account
You must attend training to get a Whitehall publisher account.
After finishing both ‘Writing for GOV.UK’ and ‘Using Whitehall publisher’, you’ll be able to publish most content formats including guidance, consultations and news stories.
If you only want to publish press releases, news stories, government responses and speeches, you can take the ‘Writing for GOV.UK as a press officer’ course.
If you only want to publish official statistics, you can take ‘Publishing statistics on GOV.UK’.
Once you’ve completed your training, we’ll create your account. You’ll get an email from our publishing system to let you know the account’s been created.
If you have not received an account within 3 days, ask your GOV.UK lead to request one using the ‘create or change user’ option on the GOV.UK Support form.
Types of account
If you have a ‘writer’ account you can create Whitehall content but you cannot publish it. When you get your account, you’ll have ‘writer’ permissions.
If you have ‘departmental editor’ permissions, you can create and publish Whitehall content and can review content submitted by others.
If you have ‘managing editor’ permissions, you can also:
- unpublish Whitehall content
- withdraw and unwithdraw Whitehall content
- change your organisation page layout
Most organisations are limited to only 1 or 2 managing editors.
Manage your organisation’s accounts
If you’re a managing editor, you can get permission to become an organisation admin to view and unsuspend your organisation’s accounts.
You can view what applications they have access to and manage permissions for any ‘devolved’ applications, for example Maslow. You cannot manage access for Whitehall Publisher.
How to get permission
Most managing editors already have this permission. If you do not, you can request to get your permission changed.
View your organisation’s accounts
You manage your users through the ‘Users’ tab in the Signon dashboard.
You can then filter your users by:
- their role - normal user or organisation admin
- their account status - suspended, invited, passphrase expired, locked or active
- 2-step verification (2SV) status - enabled or not set up
You can export a CSV of your users to see what permissions they have across all applications.
- change any of your user’s details, for example their email address
- manage accounts in your department’s agencies that you may look after (unless you have the super organisation admin permission)
Unsuspend and unlock accounts
You need to select an individual user account to unsuspend or unlock their account.
There are two links below the user’s name:
- Account access log
- Unsuspend user
The account access log will show you the account history, for example if they’ve entered an invalid password or if they’ve successfully logged in.
The unsuspend link will take you to another screen. You need to untick the suspended box and save to unsuspend or unlock the user’s account.
You can also unlock and unsuspend accounts in your department’s agencies if you’ve got the super organisation admin permission.
Resend signup email
Select the ‘resend signup email’ in the line with the user’s name. This will automatically resend the signup email.
Super organisation admin
Super organisation admin allows you to manage the accounts of your organisation and any that are related to your organisation.
You can do all the same things as the organisation admin but for all related organisations that are modelled under your organisation.
You can get the super organisation admin permission if you look after the people in your department’s agencies that have access to GOV.UK tools.
Request the super organisation admin permission.
Accessing Whitehall publisher
You can access Whitehall from the GOV.UK Signon page. Select ‘Whitehall’ - this is the part of publisher where government content is created and edited.
On the ‘Sign in’ page enter your email address and your passphrase.
If you’re prompted to, enter the GOV.UK username and password. This is not your personal username and passphrase but the one you’re given when you first get an account.
If it’s your first time in Whitehall publisher, you’ll be asked to confirm we can use your email account.
Once you’re logged in you will land on the publisher ‘Dashboard’. If you are not able to login, contact GOV.UK.
Forgot your passphrase
If you’re prompted to, enter the GOV.UK username and password.
At ‘Sign in’ follow the ‘Forgot your passphrase?’ link.
Enter the email address you registered with GOV.UK and click the button ‘Send me passphrase reset instructions’. You should receive the instructions by email. If you do not see them in your inbox, check your spam filter.
Unused accounts are automatically suspended after 45 days of inactivity.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) send a reminder to your email address 14 days, 7 days, 3 days and 1 day before suspension. The reminders give you an opportunity to sign in, which will reactivate your account and stop the suspension.
If your account has been suspended, your managing editor can get your account unsuspended.
Finding your way around publisher
On your publisher ‘Dashboard’ you’ll see:
- tabs to guide you to different types of content
- a selection of useful links to writing and publisher support resources
- your draft documents
- your organisation’s force-published documents
Use the tabs to access content about your own department. From the tabs you can:
- create a new document
- find a document using the various filters to narrow your search
- organise or create document collections
- select ‘Featured documents’ for your organisation page
- manage ‘Corporate information’ on your organisation page
The ‘More’ tab reveals additional menu items to create or edit your organisation’s content. Sometimes you’ll need to ask GDS to carry out or approve this content. You’ll see a message in red if this is the case.
You cannot create or edit content that is not the responsibility of your organisation.
There are thousands of documents on GOV.UK. The filters on the left hand side of the Documents page in the backend help you to narrow the list to find only the document you want. You can use one filter or several at once.
You can filter by:
- the document’s title or the slug of the public-facing URL (like ‘making-roads-safer’)
- world location
- document type
- state (draft, submitted, scheduled, published, force published etc)
To clear a filter, click the ‘reset all fields’ link at the bottom of the list of filters.
Export your filtered results to a CSV file
If you’re an editor, you can export the results of a filtered backend search to a CSV file.
Once you’ve chosen the fields for your search, select the ‘Export as CSV’ link at the bottom of the list of documents on the right hand side. You’ll then be taken to a screen asking you to confirm the export.
The CSV file will be emailed to you within a few minutes. Larger files may take longer to generate. The file is sent as an email so generating reports does not overload the publishing system.
The CSV file contains a list of content in the following fields:
- public and admin URLs
- lead organisation
- supporting organisation
- first published date
- first published on GOV.UK date
- which editor published the document
- when the document was last updated
- content type and sub-type
- state (draft, submitted, scheduled, published, force published etc)
- specialist sectors
This tool can help you audit your content. For example, you could use it to find out which content has not been updated recently.