An interview by Hannah Smith, Marketing Team Leader, HCPA

Peter Bullen, Relationships Project Manager, has just reached a key milestone of 5 years at HCPA!

As most would agree, he is much loved member of our team, and it is clear to see that he is extremely passionate about working here. Keen to learn more about his experience so far, and hear a little bit more about his background, I sat down for a casual interview with Peter, and here is what he had to say…


Peter! Congratulations on 5 years at HCPA how have the past 5 years been for you?

These have been my first 5 years working in adult health and social care and what a 5 years it has been! It has been interesting, challenging, and brilliant, as well as a real learning experience. I am extremely fortunate to have worked across a variety of services and projects at HCPA, which has helped me to build a holistic picture of the multitude of things we offer our members, to help improve the quality of care.

I have also had the pleasure of working with some of the best people and have made friendships that will last for life. It was an honour to be accepted into the HCPA family as it is without a doubt the best organisation for which I have ever worked.


Going back 5 years, how did you become part of the HCPA team? Have you previously worked in adult social care or was this a completely new industry for you?

Before HCPA I spent 15 years in social and community regeneration working for the local authorities, so working in adult health and social care was completely new to me.

I was lucky enough to be invited for an interview by the recruitment service for a role that was local to me which involved delivery. When I came for my interview at HCPA it became apparent the great work that was being done and I instantly knew this was a family that I wanted to be a part of. If these 5 years have taught me anything, it is that I am immensely proud to be a part of the HCPA team.


What made you initially apply for your first role at HCPA?

My work within the local authorities had become more corporate with less emphasis on delivery which I missed, so when I saw a role that was local and involved delivery it was extremely appealing. However, if it were not for the support of the recruitment team at HCPA I probably would not have considered applying for the role. They made the application process so easy and were very welcoming.

It became even more apparent that I wanted to work at HCPA after speaking to Michelle as she made me understand why HCPA is needed and how I could be a part of it.


Do you remember your first day?

Yes, I do. I remember trying to work out who did what and what their names were. I also recall trying to retain the pin codes for our security entry doors (as they were back in the day!). The office looked a lot different back then with only 25-30 staff members, and I remember being given a tiny desk on an overfull bank of staff. Trying to break the ice I made a comment about the actress Joan Collins which didn’t go down too well considering no one sitting at my table even knew who she was!

Jodie was already at HCPA when I started, and she was extremely kind. She showed me the ropes, answered any of my stupid questions and became my buddy right from day 1!

I also remember meeting Sharon and Wes, with Sharon impressing on me the importance of the work that we do – still to this day I have never forgotten it.


What is your current role at HCPA, and can you explain a little bit about what it involves day-to-day?

My role involves quality improvement and I deliver this in three ways:

Firstly, I support members to improve their quality and ensure they understand the HCPA offering. Working across the organisation my team and I support and develop members to ensure they offer a quality service.

Secondly, which links in with the above is that I manage the care provider hub which was launched as a COVID helpline during the pandemic. After it’s resounding success, it has now developed into an ‘ask us anything’ service for the care sector in Hertfordshire. I have never been prouder of a project I have managed, and one day when my grandchildren ask me what I did during the COVID-19 pandemic I will be so incredibly honoured to talk about all the things HCPA did to support our wonderful Care Providers throughout that period.

Last but certainly not least, I manage the regional coordination of data protection in the East of England care sector. This involves supporting providers to be compliant with law and manage risks. Basically, we are the gurus for Data Protection in the East of England. If you have ever received a spam text message, dodgy e-mail, or have been the victim of identity fraud then you will understand how important this work is. This also links in with the future of digital transformation of the sector and is another example of the pioneering work that HCPA does.


If you had to pick, what is your favourite part about working at HCPA?

Without a doubt the people. I do not refer to my colleagues as colleagues because they are my friends. I absolutely adore every member of the team and every single one of them has helped me at some point. One thing that working from home during the pandemic taught me is how much I enjoy working with my friends and how much I need them.

I would also like to give a special mention to my boss, Michelle. She has been so supportive over some major life events for me including spinal surgery, becoming a daddy, COVID, and many more. I know she always has my back and is kind, flexible and encouraging. She is the best Manager I have ever had.


What has been your proudest moment at HCPA?

My proudest moment during HCPA was being asked to work on the provider hub during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support that we gave to providers over that period was lifesaving, and I will never forget some of those conversations. To go on and be given the management of that resource, was a huge honour and I am immensely proud of the work the hub has done and continues to do. Working alongside Madi is also an absolute joy!

In addition to this, managing the hub has helped me to understand the pressures facing care providers, who are the most wonderful and bravest people in the world.


To anyone who is thinking about joining HCPA or has just recently started, what words of advice would you give to them?

Do it now do not hesitate because your quality of life will improve. I used to hate Sundays because of the Monday coming, but that all changed when I started working for HCPA. Every member of the team is brilliant, and it is extremely refreshing to have a Senior Leadership team who actually care for us.

My key advice for new starters would be to listen and try to understand what we do but remember there is a lot to absorb and it can take time to fully get to grips with it all. Also, do not be afraid to ask stupid questions because my experience shows that people do like to talk about what they do, and it is worth listening to! Likewise, get what you can from the Senior Leadership Team because they really do know their stuff, and you could learn so much from just a 20-minute chat with one of them.


Finally, could you give me just three words to describe HCPA as a place to work?