Brakespeare catches up with Stephen’s new role, enjoys some sign language, checks maths, and discovers a head in shorts

A good IDeA ...

A good IDeA ...

STEPHEN Moir, the engaging and rather clever corporate �director for people, policy and law at �Cambridgeshire County Council, has found time to take on a new role after being seconded for a part-time job as a national adviser.

He will be involved in what was described as “organisational �development and transformation” with Local Government Improvement and Development formerly known as the IDeA.

The role includes working with the Government on such things as public sector productivity and people management – both sit very comfortably with Mr Moir’s �enthusiasm for the public sector.


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For after reading his profile on the county council’s website you sense there’s little likelihood of him being tempted away from the public sector.

“I tried the private sector for a while and just didn’t get it,” he says. “Being part of a business that exists to create profit or increased shareholder returns just didn’t float my boat.”

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Sign language

SIGN outside the hall at Neale-Wade Community College on Tuesday where students had gathered to collect their GCSE results.

I’m not sure who was responsible but it reminded me of the many conferences I’ve attended where the speaker invites delegates to list the pros and cons of an intended change of business practice.

In this instance, obviously, it was intended as a satirical jibe at the benefits or otherwise of exams, but it works for me!

The new seekers

A COMMENDABLE initiative from the Department of Work and �Pensions about a 21-day challenge to offer job seeking advice to those leaving school with GCSE and

A-levels dropped on to my desk.

And then it landed again, and then again as the ebullient Sarah McKinnon in their press office realised figures given for the �numbers seeking Jobseekers Allowance in the eastern region had not been added up correctly.

“I apologise for the �inconvenience of another �correction but we recently realised some of these figures had not been added up correctly,” she wrote.

Eventually her department agreed there were 23,000 on �Jobseekers Allowance, of which 420 come from Fenland.

I could, of course, suggest her whole department sits next year’s maths A-level to stop a �recurrence but that would be churlish, wouldn’t it?

Cat o’ fine tales

LOOKING for a relatively �inexpensive but unusual way to spend the Bank Holiday?

May I recommend Big Cat �hunting?

After a lull, I’m glad to report alleged sightings of Big Cats are once again being reported from Cambridgeshire, the latest at Caldecote off the A428 near �Cambridge.

“The animal was surprised by us and ran away with surprising agility and speed,” the intrepid spotters reported.

“We saw its back and it was long and large – bigger than a fox, jet black – and it moved like a cat.

“It was about 20ft away from us. We are convinced it was a big cat.”

Come Tuesday morning I expect a full inbox of similar sightings – amiss.

Micro fight

HOW do your piglets grow? Not a nursery rhyme but a serious case, if you believe the Advertising Standards Authority, of not exaggerating the growth potential of micro pigs.

The British Kune Pig Society complained about an advertisement placed in magazines by Jane Croft of Christchurch focusing on her micro pigs which have recently acquired celebrity status (well, David and Victoria Beckham are reckoned to have one as, too, is Paris Hilton).

The Kune Society complained that the advertisements implied a micro pig was a specific breed and that it would not grow beyond 12-16 inches in height.

The ASA has ruled the claim of only growing that tall could not be substantiated but it dismissed a second complaint about micro pigs becoming difficult to care for as pets.

“Most readers would expect caring for any house-based pet to require a certain amount of work,” it conceded.

Back in Christchurch I suspect it’s a case of Up Trotters and At ’Em as Jane continues her thriving business which has seen micro pigs sold to hundreds of happy customers.

If I recall, the secret of happy micro pigs her advice was to ensure they get “a big cuddle each and every day” and there can be nothing wrong with that, can there?

Caught shorts

FRESH from holiday (he had apparently caught the overnight ferry from France to arrive back in March), Neale-Wade head Tim Hitch looked every bit the archetypal Brit holidaymaker at the school’s GCSE results day.

Normally, of course, Tim is a picture of sartorial elegance so we hope he will forgive us capturing this rare moment of informality as he shared with students their continued success in climbing the GSCE league tables.

Under his leadership the college continues its academic ascent and we’ve every confidence he’ll be back, suited and booted, in readiness for the new term.

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