Meet the team - Alexandra Coghlan-Forbes, Head of Adjudication

What does your role involve?I am a Chartered Legal Executive with 20 years experience in the legal profession. I worked in private practice, for local government and a housing association before taking up my role here in 2008.

I am responsible for the team of in house adjudicators, allocating the cases which are ready for adjudication, ensuring that they are completed within the required deadlines, and providing advice, assistance and support to the adjudicators in respect of the decisions they make. I also complete a number of decisions myself.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen whilst in the role? There are two things that spring to mind. The first was a landlord who sent in dirt, dust and mouldy sweet wrappers from the loft show me that the tenant had been ‘living’ up there. The second was a tenant who wallpapered the lounge of their rental property using silver foil!

What’s the best thing about your role? I am very conscious that all cases must be given full and fair consideration, and enjoy the challenges of making practical decisions in respect of actual disputes. I have adjudicated in thousands of disputes, and can honestly say that no two cases are ever the same!

I also run a practical case study in respect of adjudication in the ADR Workshops which are run by the DPS for Landlord’s and Agents. This is, I hope, an interesting insight into the role of an adjudicator. I usually find that by the end of the session most participants come up to me and say “I’m glad I don’t have to do your job!”

However, I’m glad I am doing it! I enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction I get from ensuring the quality and integrity of our decisions.

What’s most challenging? Probably reading comments on social media sites which suggest the outcome of an Adjudication was unfair. In most cases, we’re unable to identify who the aggrieved party is, and therefore have no way to reply.

If complaints about the decisions are raised with us directly, we would hope to be able to provide further clarification or explanation as to why the landlord, letting agent or tenant may have lost. In most situations, the reason a landlord’s claim fails is because the evidence they presented was not sufficient. Querying the outcome directly with The DPS is often an important way in which landlords can learn from their past bad experience and improve their evidence in future claims.

The DPS runs regular ADR workshops in which you can improve your evidence submissions. Keep an eye on our website where we post details of future events.