Noise Awareness Day

Today (24th April 2024) is International Noise Awareness Day. The purpose is to raise awareness of the the impact that noise can have on our hearing, our health and our quality of life.

The day perfectly coincides with the publication of the Housing Ombudsman Service’s (HOS) review into the Spotlight on Noise: Time to be Heard report. The original report drew together findings from assessing the cases of noise nuisance which has been investigated by the HOS. Findings included:

  • There were a high-level of referrals about noise which was unlikely to meet the threshold to be considered ASB.
  • These “non-ASB” reports were often being categorised as ASB and dealt with using the traditional ASB case management processes. This was resulting is raised expectations, a lack of understanding about the true root cause of the issues and a focus on the wrong solutions.
  • Landlords should focus on practical solutions in these instances, such as property improvements and identifying safeguarding/support needs. 

What is important to remember, however, is whether ASB or non-ASB, the impact of noise can be significant.

So, what can we do to ensure that we are managing reports as effectively as possible, bringing resolution and reduction of harm as soon as we can, and improving resident satisfaction and well-being.

  1. Triaging and assessing :  It’s important that when a report of noise is received we make an assessment as to whether it meets the threshold to be considered ASB. We can do this by weighing up several factors, including cause, intention and frequency. Having clear policies can really help guide officers in this decision, as well as justify our decision making and manage expectations of those involved in a matter. The HOS recommends adopting a Good Neighbourhood Management policy, setting out the actions and limitations in reports assessed as non-ASB.
  2. Communication : Almost without exception, the biggest cause of dissatisfaction arising from ASB case management is a lack of communication. It’s really important, therefore, that the decision arising from our assessment of a report is communicated to the person making it, in a plain language way and with a clear explanation for why and how the matter will be managed. Having the policies mentioned above can significantly help these conversations, helping officers to explain the decisions and residents to understand it.
  3. Practical solutions :  If a report has been assessed as “non-ASB” then the focus is likely to be on finding solutions such as ways to reduce the noise transference (e.g. slow release hinges, anti-vibration mats, carpeting etc), increasing communication, understanding and agreement between parties (e.g. via mediation) or seeking support for those who may have personal circumstances affecting their tolerance and resilience.
  4. Harm and impact : If a report is assessed as being “non-ASB” it does not automatically follow that there must be no harm being caused. Poor fabrication of a building causing noise nuisance is still impacting the person suffering, it would just be wrong to class this as ASB being caused by the person where the noise is coming from. It’s important to use risk assessment tools within these cases, to identify risk and take action accordingly.
  5. Being informed : It can be a fine balance between whether a report of noise nuisance is ASB or not. It is important that we conduct necessary investigations and evidence gathering techniques to assure ourselves that the decision is safe and correct. This may mean property inspections, asking residents to use smartphone apps to record the noise levels or speaking to other neighbours.

Need a little more help?

We are running a training course on managing non-ASB reports, which will give attendees lots of advice and guidance on how to confidently and safely recognise these types of reports, how best to manage expectations, the types of actions that may be most appropriate and how to recognise and manage risk and harm. To celebrate Noise Awareness Day, we are offering a 10% discount – just enter “GBSAVE10” at checkout.

Have more than 5 officers requiring this training?

Contact us to discuss a session for your organisation.

We can also support you in reviewing/developing an effective ASB policy and/or Good Neighbourhood Management Policy – contact us to find out more.

Join Waitlist If you’re interested in this course then join the waitlist and we will inform you when we are releasing the next available date.
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