Alan Tripp, Financially Qualified Member, First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber (Social Security and Child Support)

Alan C M Tripp is a Fee-Paid Financially Qualified Member of the First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber (Social Security and Child Support) and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He also sits as a ‘Ticketed Chair’ in the First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber (Criminal Injuries Compensation).

I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1977 and within a couple of years left the profession to pursue a career in industry which took me through various financial and general management roles in defence electronics and technology support companies until I retired from full-time employment at the age of 49.

For the last twenty years or so I have undertaken a portfolio of part-time roles as either Non Executive Director or in public service. One of the latter roles was as an adjudicator on what was the Criminal Injuries Compensation Panel – a role from which I received enormous satisfaction.

Around ten years ago I became cross ticketed to the social security and child support tribunal, where my input has been more focused on skills that had not been utilised for many years. The Tribunal is responsible for applying the law to appeals under child support legislation and, whilst all cases require to be heard on their individual merits, it may come as no surprise to learn that many cases require some knowledge of earnings, accounts of single traders, partnerships and limited companies, which is of use in pursuing a somewhat forensic approach to the evidence that is presented or elicited.

My primary satisfaction from the role derives from trying to ensure that appropriate financial child support is ultimately awarded to those who are entitled to it. It is also a great pleasure to work with knowledgeable and amenable legal colleagues. I only sit one or two days per month in this jurisdiction but would note that, as with most things in life, the secret lies in solid preparation prior to the hearing (the papers can be quite voluminous) and a willingness to listen, interpret and be flexible as one is hearing the evidence. The application of common sense is also extremely helpful – especially when considering rather unusual reasons that are sometimes advanced as evidence.

 The recruitment processes by which I obtained the roles have largely been superseded but I would encourage those interested in the subject area to make application and see the process through, as I am sure that you will not regret it.

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