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NVQ Level 3: Using Diary Systems (Purpose, Types and More)

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Review the use of diary systems in business administration, including the types of diaries available, the information that should be included, and how to securely store the entries.

Review the use of diary systems in business administration, including the types of diaries available, the information that should be included, and how to securely store the entries.

Introduction to This Unit

This is a Group B optional unit at Level 2 with a total of 3 credits. Upon completion of this unit, the candidate will have good knowledge of the purpose of diary systems, how to use them and why to use them. They will know what information is required to maintain a diary and why, and they will know how to clearly and accurately make diary entries and why.

Candidates will know the purpose of changes and how to prioritise and communicate them, along with understanding the need to communicate them. Candidates will also know how to report and solve any issues in diary entries and how to store them securely, as they can contain sensitive and confidential information. Sharing diaries is covered as well, including the levels of sharing, what rights each person has for the diary and how to keep confidential and private appointments away from all users.

I have also included a personal statement.

Note: Please do not copy anything submitted here and display it in your file. This has been published purely to help you gain an idea/understanding of what they expect you to write and how you have to write. You will have to relate to your own work area and organisation and stick with it while preparing the files. Thank you for your cooperation.

1.1: What Is the Purpose of Using a Diary System?

Time is very important, and it can be utilised in a very efficient way by maintaining a diary system. The efficient planning and organisation of your own time and other people’s is, therefore, one of the most important activities that you can get involved with.

The diary is one of the major resources within the office, without which none of us would know where we should be or what we should be doing at any given time.

The diary may be maintained manually or electronically.

1.2: Describe the Different Types of Diary Systems

Diary systems can basically be divided into two types:

Manual Systems

The most common type of manual diary system in use in offices is the bound book in which appointments are recorded.

These may be:

  • One day per page
  • Two days per page
  • One week to view
  • Two weeks to view

When selecting the most appropriate type of manual diary to use, you will need to consider how many entries you are likely to make in any one day.

An alternative to a bound book is a loose-leaf system, often known as a time manager. This has the advantage that the diary section is continuous. New pages are simply added as the years go on, so there is no need to obtain a new diary towards the end of each year.

Another completely different manual system is the wall planner. These are usually laminated charts which have a space per day covering the whole of a year.

Electronic Systems

Electronic diaries can be maintained on a personal computer, a laptop, a palmtop or an electronic organiser. They have a number of advantages over manual systems:

  • Highlighting potential conflict between appointments
  • Entry of regular events once only
  • Less paper is used
  • Password protection
  • Multiple access is available
  • On-screen reminder of appointments
  • Database compatibility
  • Electronic contact
It's important to check the effects of changes made to entries.

It's important to check the effects of changes made to entries.

1.3: Why Should You Obtain Relevant Info About Requested Diary Entries and Changes?

Requests for changes may appear to be relatively minor but may have a knock-on effect which could have major implications. Delaying an appointment could cause the person attending the meeting to be late for, or even unable to attend, other meetings arranged for later in the day. It is important, therefore, to check the effects that a requested change will have before agreeing to it.

All relevant information has to be obtained because you have to make sure that everyone attending the meeting or any appointment has convenience and is given all the details so that there is no error at any end at any time.

2.1: What Info Is Needed to Make Diary Entries?

Information such as time, duration, date, venue, attendees, chair and visitors are required to make diary entries.

2.2/3: Why and How You Should Prioritise Requests

It is essential that you prioritise actions that you need to take in the event of receiving a number of requests or changes to arrangements at the same time. Obviously, the changes are probably best dealt with in chronological order. Also, everyone involved with the meeting has to be contacted and made sure it is convenient for everyone before requests or changes are confirmed. Changes that affect appointments on the day that you receive the changes will need dealing with before changes to appointments or meetings in the future.

An example of diary software

An example of diary software

2.4: Why Should You Balance the Needs of All Those Involved?

Every person involved in the appointment or meeting has to be given sufficient time for planning, travelling and other needs so that the meeting goes smoothly without any problems for anyone. For a meeting to be successful, all of those involved have to be present and be given sufficient preparation time.

2.5: Why Should You Communicate Changes to Those Affected?

Changes have to be communicated on time, and if you are responsible for other people’s diaries, it is vital that you communicate any changes to them in good time to enable them to prepare for any meetings or travel involved. It is also important to leave sufficient time in the day for them to deal with routine matters and sufficient travelling time between appointments if necessary.

Others who are affected by the changes will also have other appointments in their diaries. It is important that you do not give them the impression that changes are being made either lightly or, conversely, because something more important has come up.

Electronic diary systems may automatically communicate changes to those involved whose systems are networked with yours, but you will need to get in touch with anybody else affected. Depending on the timescales involved, this may be done by telephone, e-mail, fax, letter or verbally.

An example of a manual diary

An example of a manual diary

2.6: Why Should You Keep a Diary System up to Date?

Keeping the diary up to date when changes have been agreed is extremely important. You have to make sure that you have deleted any cancelled appointments. It is both annoying and embarrassing to arrive for an appointment only to be told that it has been cancelled, as well as being a waste of time.

A diary which is not kept completely up to date will have all sorts of confusion. It will make people lose confidence and become time-wasting.

There may be questions of security and confidentiality involved when communicating amendments to arrangements. There may be negotiations taking place which could impact the future of the organisation. If you are aware of these as a result of arranging meetings, it is important that you do not make this information available.

The efficiency of the whole organisation may be said to depend on the correct upkeep of the diary systems in use. Although it may seem, on the face of it, a very minor role, it would be very difficult if each member of staff had to remember what appointments they had and where they were meant to be at any given time.

2.7: Describe the Different Types of Problems That May Occur When New Requests Are Made and Solutions to These Problems

New requests on a diary system can be made for a meeting, an appointment, a room booking or a change to an existing booking. The requests depend on the roles within which the diary holder is involved. When requests are made, the requester may or may not have looked through the diary system for available slots or free times, and this could be because they do not have access to necessary information. When new requests are made, the following problems can happen:

  • Implications for existing requests – these can be based on factors like overlap and duplication.
  • Overlap of multiple requests – care needs to be taken so that requests do not overlap as they can create chaos and prevent people from attending meetings or appointments.
  • Duplicate or double bookings – a common error that occurs when the diary is handled by multiple people and communication is poor
  • Not communicating requests or changes in requests – poor communication fails the entire system.
  • Not confirming requests – requests need to be confirmed, otherwise one will not be sure if the request will go ahead. Sometimes this results in slots remaining vacant, putting the people in need on wait.
  • Not recording the requests – this will show as vacant when there actually is a request.
  • Prioritising requests - requesting for rescheduling of requests when some requests of high priority/emergency/urgency come in
  • Updating the requests - to avoid miscommunication and misinformation
  • Data protection
  • Security


The solutions to these problems are:

  • Having a thorough knowledge of diary systems, how to use them and how to plan and coordinate requests avoiding duplication and overlap
  • Knowledge about obtaining relevant information about a request and the types of information required
  • Prioritising requests according to needs and urgency and recording them in the correct format, and also giving access to the required staff
  • Communication is another important aspect, which, if not used, will fail the running of the organisation.
  • Updating avoids disappointments and errors in many ways.
  • Following organisations policies and procedures relating to data protection and security
  • Using logged file system so that no one can access files without it being logged on the system

2.8: Explain the Purpose of Following Security and Confidentiality Procedures When Using a Diary System

A diary can be used for various purposes. One is for booking personal or confidential appointments, appointments for meetings, discussions and other information in their diary. There can also be entries related to other people’s confidential information which are sensitive and personal. So each diary entry has to have settings like "private" for private information, and it must be made sure that only appropriate people see any entries made, otherwise there will be a breach in confidentiality. We do not want someone to see our or anybody else’s confidential information. Examples are an occupational health appointment, a formal review, a disciplinary meeting, rehabilitation or safeguarding meetings, etc. So access to information by people has to be maintained and monitored.

When it comes to security issues, if the calendar or diary is not protected, anybody will have access to information in the diary, and they can even edit or delete important information. When people are given access to calendars, they are given certain levels of permission when considering access rights and editing rights. Also, the diary should be open only to people who require that particular information and closed to everybody else.

So in order for the organisation or department to function and operate properly, confidentiality procedures and security procedures need to be followed.

Good Luck With Your Studies

I hope this has been of some use to you. Please do not hesitate to leave your comments or feedback. If you have any queries or require help and advice, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


danilea on April 19, 2020:

Describe an effective diary management system to include the importance of time allocation, prioritizing tasks(what tasks take precedence over other? What are things that take you immediate attention?

How know the answers.

Maryam on December 20, 2017:

What is the types of information meeded to manage adialy system

Vikkie on May 26, 2017:

This was very helpful in finishing my unit for my Customer Service NVQ. Thank you

Alyson Haf Jones on March 04, 2017:

Thank you!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on April 07, 2016:

Hi Dina, thank you so much. Glad it helped! :-)

Dina on April 01, 2016:

many thanks

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello Sam, you're welcome. I am glad that this helped. All the best! :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello Aasia, sorry for not responding earlier. Did you still need help with this? If yes, please drop a line. All the best! :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello LUKE1997, you're most welcome. All the best! :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello Emma, you're most welcome. All the best! :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello lsiala, could you please be clear? Thank you.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello Callum, I am sorry, a few people have commented with confusions around levels of the units. When you start your qualification, you will be asked to choose a combination of units. For example when I completed my level 3 qualification, I chose a combination of level 2, 3 and 4 units. There is a criteria for choosing units. It depends on your job role and the level of work you do on each role. Level 2 qualification does not mean that you do only level 2 units and level 3 qualification does not mean that you do only level 3 units. It's always a combination. For example when I did my Level 3 qualification for customer service, I completed level 4 units. So it really depends on a few factors as to what level units you choose, but then you need to follow the criteria / rule too. Hope this helps. All the best! :)

sam on November 04, 2015:

Really thorough and structured explanations, and very helpful,thanks

Cullen on July 18, 2015:

hey ! Laura

can you help me in searching about the different types of

material that are found in space .

Aasia on June 06, 2015:

hi I am doing ICQ Business Administration the unit that I am working on is principles of providing administrative service, on 3.4 it states that, explain the importance of obtaining correct information when making dairy entries. I am not sure which one of the above is equivalent to my question. Can u plz help me on this?

LUKE1997 on May 14, 2015:

Brilliant got me through my last unit

Emma on April 14, 2015:

Thanks! very helpful

Callum on July 25, 2014:

Level 3? I'm doing this module at level 2. Woe is me! Great guide anyway, helped me finish my assignment. Thank you so much!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello Neil,

You're welcome. I'm so pleased that you found this helpful. All the best :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

You're welcome Husna, all the best :)

Glad that this was helpful :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello Danielle, thank you. I'm pleased that this was helpful. All the best :)

Neil on May 15, 2014:

Just like to give you a big thanks for writing up this guide. I was struggling to provide some answers to these questions because the NVQ is not directly related to my work. Thanks to what you have written up I can now see how some of the questions relate to my job more than I originally throught they did.

Husna on December 13, 2013:

very helpful, thank you very much.

Danielle on November 28, 2013:

Brill! All the help I needed on here, nice 1 :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on August 28, 2013:

Hi Christoph, thank you. Glad this helped. All the best :)

Christoph on August 28, 2013:

Yet again, you've been a great help.

Cheers :) x

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

You will have to go on my profile page, click on Fan mail and there you will have an option "Send livingsta an email", could you please do that?

amyvx on May 30, 2013:

hi, not a problem, what is your email?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Hi amyvx, yes will do, not a problem at all. Is it possible for you to email me the unit, along with deadlines if any?

amyvx on May 30, 2013:

hello I am struggling with unit CU517 -word processing software, could you help me with this?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on April 11, 2013:

Thank you Sophie. I am glad it was helpful. All the best!

Sophie on April 11, 2013:

Massive help thank you !! .. i had a 2 hour dead line to get this part of my coursework finished as the work i do is very demanding and i sometimes struggle to get time to think about the questions and what to write. .. Thank you so so much

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on April 04, 2013:

Hi Ellie Mae, I have added these for you now. Hope this is helpful. All the best!

Ellie Mae on April 04, 2013:

Do you have questions 2.7 and 2.8 please?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on February 18, 2013:

Hello Grant, I am so glad this was helpful. All the best!

Grant on February 18, 2013:

This was a great help , Been struggling on what exactly to put down but this gave me the ideas to carry on and complete this unit so than you very much

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on November 14, 2012:

Thank you Emily, glad it helped!

Emily on November 14, 2012:

Brilliant help, thanks!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on October 05, 2012:

Thank you Laura, I am glad it helped :)

Laura on October 04, 2012:

Great help working out how to phrase and relate to my work - thanks