Document management plays a decisive role in modern e‑government applications. As today's authorities have to face the challenge of increasing the efficiency and quality while decreasing the duration of their government processes, a flexible, adaptable document management system is needed for large e‑government applications. In this paper, we introduce a new approach for a document management model that helps to face this challenge. The model is based on two new document management concepts that extend common document management facilities: hierarchical process folders and security levels. A hierarchical process folder mainly consists of files that belong to a government process and includes all documents processed during process execution. The folder grows during execution and contains all versions of changed, existing, and added documents. The process folders can be used in a single authority software system as well as in distributed e‑government software systems. More precisely, this means that the model of hierarchical process folders can be deployed to exchange process folders in whole or in part between authorities to support the execution of distributed hierarchical government processes. We give an example how the application to single authorities and distributed systems is possible by describing the implementation within our distributed e‑ government software system. The application of security levels to documents allows the encryption of documents based on security relevant properties, e. g. user privileges for intra authority security and network classification for inter authority communication. The benefits of our model are at first a centralised data management for all documents of a single or a hierarchical government process. Secondly, a traceable history of all data within government processes, which is very important for the archival storage of the electronic government processes, is provided. Thirdly, the security levels allow a secure intra authority document accessing system and inter authority document communication system.