Use of diary sheets
If diary sheets are sent out we ask that they are completed and returned with in a 21 day period. There are occasions when this period may be shortened or lengthened.
Complainants are advised that the more information they provide on the diary sheet the more useful they are likely to be. You will need to record dates, times, duration, type of noise and how it affects the use of your property. Please appreciate that the diary sheets may be used as evidence in the Magistrates Court if the investigation leads to prosecution and you should therefore be mindful of what is written as offensive material or inappropriate comments could jeopardise the case.
Diary sheets can indicate the severity and frequency of the noise and can help determine the best method of trying to witness the nuisance or that it is unlikely that the council will be able to establish statutory nuisance.
If the complainant does not return the diary sheet completed by the date on the diary sheet and in the absence of further complaints the case will be closed. This is clearly worded within the letter accompanying the diary sheet and as such there is no further follow up from the case officer.
There will always be occasions where, for good reasons, a complainant cannot keep a log of the noise. If this is the case, we can make arrangements for an officer to discuss the matter with the complainant to find the best way to get the information we need to decide on whether a further investigation is warranted.
Assessment of diary sheets
When a diary sheet is returned, the case officer will assess the contents and use their professional judgement and experience to decide whether further investigation is warranted.
The key considerations are;
- importance and value to the community of an activity
- the difficulty in avoiding the external effects of an activity
On some occasions complainants return log sheets that include information on an address or addresses other than that originally complained of. The information will be noted but we would not normally act on this unless we have an ongoing investigation with the said property(s). In this situation, the complainant will be advised to log a new complaint and the complaints procedure for that property is likely to start from the beginning.
The completed sheets are scanned onto the complaint file and are kept in line with the Councils Data Retention Policy. In the event of an appeal against a notice or prosecution, the diary sheets and time plots should be exhibited in a section 9 (Criminal Justice Act 1967) statement taken from the complainant by the case/lead officer.
Example of a diary sheet
You can request diary sheets by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org