Current install - WP5.0 / Civi 5.7.2

I'm just thinking through our Safeguarding / Child Protection process. We don't have any issues, but we're legally obliged to have a process. And I'd rather set this up now when there's no pressure than when, heaven forbid, there's an actual issue.

What I'd like to do is have a set of custom data fields against a contact (essentially notes, but I can't have them exposed like 'normal' notes) that our designated Child Protection Officer (me) has access to, so that any concerns / issues can be logged against a contact record.

Obviously, access to those fields needs to be tightly controlled. No one else in the organisation even needs to know they exist.

I know I can use ACL's to manage access to functions within CiviCRM, and I can hide fields from profiles. But if I have other people legitimately using CiviCRM, I can't have them seeing these additional fields (or even see if a contact has those fields present on their record, even if the content is hidden).

3 Answers 3


You can create a set of custom fields and then with ACL's provide access to that custom data set for a specific group.

The complication with this is that you also need to remove the 'access all custom data' permission (otherwise it overrides the ACL), and then add other ACL's to allow everyone access to each of the unrestricted custom field sets.

As regards your comment about anyone adding themselves to a group, there is a very useful little extension called Group Protect that allows you to 'protect' a group and control who can add or remove people from a specific group.

Be aware though that Administrators will be able to access the safeguarding fields, whatever ACL's or other restrictions you put in place.

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  • 1
    I should have thought about the Group Protect (as I am one of the creators) :-) Dec 13, 2018 at 12:40

There is such a concept as Private Notes which are Notes that are only visible to the author and to anyone with the permission to see 'all notes'. Try that. It may be less effort but still acceptable

  • Will try that, thanks. I've been making some headway with ACL's but at the moment my sticking point seems to be that ACLs are controlled by membership of a group, but I can't seem to restrict which role can add members to a group. So even if I set up a safeguarding group, anyone could add themselves to that group. Dec 13, 2018 at 8:28

I do not think you can do that out of the box with CiviCRM, but it is quite possible to develop (or get an expert to develop for you) an extension that does this.

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