antonia February 28, 2024

Introducing South Notts PBP Convenor Paddy Tipping

Reflecting our commitment to partnership working and relationship building across South Nottinghamshire, we’re delighted to welcome Paddy Tipping to the South Nottinghamshire Place-Based Partnership leadership team.

Paddy took over as our Partnership’s Convenor in Autumn 2023 from Nottinghamshire Healthcare Chair, Paul Devlin. As an ex-MP and councillor, Paddy has a wealth of experience across the public sector in Nottinghamshire, with particular skills in building relationships and making change happen. He also has relationships across the patch, joking: “My grandkids take the mickey and say I’ve got a big Christmas list! But we are who we are.”

Paddy was MP for Sherwood from 1992 until 2010 and held roles such as Parliamentary Secretary for the Privy Council Office and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons under Tony Blair. He became Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012, holding the role until 2021, and is committed to public life, currently working a Board member at Nottinghamshire Healthcare and on the Board at Framework, the housing and homelessness charity.

Showing no signs of slowing down after a long and illustrious career, Paddy recently took over as our Partnership Convenor, a role that oversees the development of the Place-Based Partnership (PBP). His first reflections of how the partnership is developing have been positive, commenting: “There are some great really enthusiastic people working across the partnership and I’ve been really impressed by the commitment of the district and borough councils. They see this as a big opportunity and we need to listen to their agenda and be clear this isn’t just a health agenda but a common agenda we need to forge.”

On what attracted him to the role, Paddy said: “It fits in with everything I have done in my working life. I was a county councillor for a long time, a local MP for a long time, a government minister and then the Police and Crime Commissioner, so I’m used to partnership working. I used to work in the Cabinet Office, which co-ordinated teams across Government, and I think my strengths lie in building partnerships, sharing priorities and agreeing timetables so we can make a real difference. I have a wide range of skills but still have plenty to learn.

Paddy also has firm roots in the voluntary sector. As well as his work with Framework, he is also committed to the environment and has been involved in the development of the new health centres, such as Mary Potter.

A lot of his work has been connected to South Nottinghamshire, and he says: “I’ve been around a long time and know the area well. I’ve worked in Gedling before, in Rushcliffe, in Broxtowe and of course, when I was an MP, I had an office in Hucknall. It’s a familiar patch for me but clearly its challenging with four district and borough councils involved. I’ve been involved with Nottinghamshire County Council most of my working life and I’ll be encouraging them to be fully engaged with place.”

While acknowledging that these are tough times for many public sector organisations, Paddy believes that this might also be a real opportunity to think differently about how we approach and deliver services.

He says: “It’s easy to change when you have a growth budget, but nobody has a growth budget at the moment. So, if you want to do new things, and there are new things that we want to do, you have to make some judgments about priorities and think about what you might give up.

“More particularly, we could pool budgets to make a difference. For example, I’ve been working with a family where there are six different care workers, all wearing different hats, going in to help. Surely, we can do something about things like that, and integrated working gives us an opportunity to focus on that and how we can do things differently.

“There’s a tendency to drive change from the top down, but one of the really interesting things about the PBP is the opportunity to build from the bottom up. There may well be tension between what people say they want to do and what the commissioners want to do, but handling and managing those tensions is sensitive but not impossible.”

One of the aspects Paddy is particularly enjoying is getting out and about across the area. He’s been out and about across all our Integrated Neighbourhood Working towns – Arnold, Eastwood, Cotgrave and Hucknall – and says: “It’s great getting out there, talking to people on the ground and getting their views on what needs to be done.

“Building relationships online is difficult when you’re building from the bottom up, so actually getting out there and meeting people makes a real difference. Everywhere is making progress and they are all different areas and we need to celebrate that.

“It’s about learning from each other and there’s definitely the opportunity to do that. There’s the opportunity to look at what we do in South Notts and compare it to what’s happening in the City, which will be different, and it’s different in Mid Notts and Bassetlaw too. We need to talk to each other.”

And what are his ambitions for the next 12 months? He says: “I lecture at the university where I say in times of austerity there are two things you can do. You can either retreat into your bunker and do the statutory work, or you can say this is tough, we are all in a difficult position, we all want to do similar things, so let’s talk about how we can work together. How we can build strong partnerships, how can we notionally pool budgets, and what are the things we really want to do?

“When I used to work in the Cabinet Office we had a rule of three, which were the three things we really want to do. I’m slightly anxious that integrated work systems are trying to do too much and we need to focus on things that are achievable.

“So, in terms of my three, I would first look at how we can start to move some resources into primary and community care, starting with developing examples of good practice of where this is working.

“Secondly, we need to focus on prevention and working with our communities. This might mean challenging commissioners to think differently about their sense of direction and what they’re doing. I believe they are committed and are putting funding into preventative work, which is key as we transform communities.

“And finally, having a long-term interest in domiciliary care from my council days, we really need to get a handle on social care, the Cinderella service. Again, I think we can start small, look at examples of good practice and build on this.”

When he’s not working, Paddy likes to spend time with his five grandchildren, as well as being a keen walker. He’s president of the Ramblers Association and as a result (and we’re back to work again!), he’s particularly passionate about green social prescribing and has been impressed with Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s commitment to this.

It’s clear that Paddy has lots of ideas and is driven to supporting the partnership as we build from our communities up. We look forward to his leadership as we continue our journey.