Last Day at Work

The coat of arms is nice enough but if you know me and you know what this motto means then you’ll know how much I HATE it!

Okay, so it’s not my actual last day, I still have another one to go, but this is the last proper day of clerking. So let me tell you a little about my job as a clerk, and I’ll throw in a few pics too… Okay, so I have another confession, we don’t generally use these fancy court rooms, it just so happens that on my last day I am at a county court. Actually, we are quite informal at HMCTS, it’s meant to put the  appellants at ease, it’s not an adversarial setting, so we generally use more relaxed venues including community centres, but they don’t produce nearly as interesting a picture, LOL.

Judges Bench at a county court, our judges just sit a a table with the appellants.

So I’ve been working as an appeals clerk for HMCTS, that’s HM Courts and Tribunal Service, which is part of the Ministry of Justice, for about a year, having previously worked as an appeals assistant for the Department for Work and Pensions. We deal with a variety of appeals but I have mostly worked in Social Security appeals that deal with disputes over welfare entitlement, most commonly Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. I’ve really enjoyed my time in this role and I’ll be really sad to leave, I’ve worked with some great people but it’s time to move on and start my adventure. This trip has been in the pipework for quite some time and I now need to grab the bull by the horns. I could so easily have put it off another year, continued working, saved more money and gone further on my journey but the convergence of various factors has led me to the conclusion that I must do this sooner rather than later: D-Day is on the horizon.

Posing for a photo… I don’t actually do my work there.

So, when I’m not prancing about posing for photo’s, I’m usually talking to appellants and preparing them for the hearing or working, in this case in a tiny little clerks office, providing administrative support to whoever is sitting on the Tribunal panel that day. Depending on what type of appeals are being heard, the day usually consist of several hearings with a panel that usually comprises a judge, a doctor and a disability expert. My role predominantly involves writing the decisions, including any directions that the judge feels appropriate, updating the files and computer records with the various outcomes. There’s a lot of organisation required to run a smooth day of hearings but it’s fairly relaxed, especially if you’re planning is ship-shape. You’re pretty much your own boss too when it comes to the day-to-day running of court.

No reason to be up there… just posing again.

So I’ve been talking about this trip for sometime and I’ve kinda bigged it up quite a lot, so if I fail or if I only make it to Europe and end up having to come home with my tail between my legs, I’ll look like a giant pratt. There’s been a lot to think about and lots of planning and preparation gone into this trip: visa’s, driving permits, finance & banking, vehicle insurance, breakdown cover, travel insurance, travel vaccinations, the route, mapping, the kit, the bike itself… the list is almost endless. This foreplay has been fun but it’s time for the big show and with it comes a nervous excitement about the possibilities, so it would be fair to say I have a little performance anxiety.

Judges Chambers
This is where I actually do most of my work when I’m at this court.. the pokey little clerks office.

I want to say thank you to all my colleagues, it has been a real pleasure working with each and everyone of you. I can’t mention everyone personally but I do want to mention a few of you directly. To Lesley my manger, thanks for the opportunity, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m glad you you wasn’t what toy expected from my pre-interview passport photo LOL… To Jennifer, we both started at the same time and having another noobie around always makes settling into a new job a lot easier, especially when they are also Harry Potter fans, now if only we can work on your appreciation for Lord of the Rings, ,you’ve been a good friend. To Tony-the-fish, my security man at Peterborough, you’re a total legend mate, thanks for being so awesome, I’ll miss you the most! To Gavyn and Dean, the Norwich boys, it’s been great having a couple of great guys to work with in a job littered with lovely ladies. Although, we didn’t work together all that much you both made my time in Norwich brilliant. I never complained about being sent on a 2 hour commute to Norwich, indeed I loved coming over because I knew there’d be a good chance I’d get to see you boys, thanks. Maybe a beer when I get back to Blighty?

And thanks to everyone who signed my card, it was lovely. See ya’ll again soon. xXx

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