I want to be able to apply version control to an issue in JIRA - is that possible? The business will sign off a version of a user story but this may need to be changed at a future date but we need to retain the original version (signed off by the business).
I don't think that's possible and it seems strange you'd want to to be honest. It sounds like you're using the summary and description to keep detailed requirement and specification information given that you want to version control it, which I personally don't think is how it's intended to be used. I would advise using the fields to only give a brief overview of what you're trying to achieve in the user story, not a detailed spec. You can then either link off to a confluence page with the detailed requirements / specifications, which are naturally version controlled (assuming you have confluence), or link / attach detailed documents which you could version control in another document version control solution, or even something like SVN.
You can capture the signed-off version with the PDF Automation Plugin!
Create the following automation rule:
From this moment, the issue can be changed any time, the signed off version is there in the PDF document!
See this section to set up the automation rule: http://www.midori-global.com/products/jira-pdf-view-plugin/documentation/automation#attach-by-events
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