Moir pledge to eliminate 'bullying, intimidation, harassment'

Stephen Moir, new CEC , CCC

STEPHEN MOIR: 'I was only interested in being chief executive in very few places; Cambridgeshire was top of that list' - Credit: John Elworthy

In 2008, then director of HR at Cambridgeshire County Council – and still only 34 – he confided he had no plans to be a chief executive.   

“I prefer to have the right balance in my home and work life, and more and more chief officers are saying the same,” he said.  
  

“As a chief executive, you are at the pinnacle of the organisation. It’s lonely and you’re dealing with tough decisions.”  

We are all entitled to change our minds.   

Fast forward to 2022 and Stephen Moir is now chief executive of the organisation that nurtured his career back in the day.  

“It’s great to be back,” says Mr Moir.  

“I was only interested in being chief executive in very few places; Cambridgeshire was top of that list”  

It will be his third spell in the county for apart from a senior role at the council, he was also once a personnel officer for Cambridgeshire police.   

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Cambridgeshire is a great place, he says, with huge potential, one he knows and loves, and one with family connections – a brief summary of his desire to return.  

He’s candid about his departure from the council 10 years ago for having helped established a shared services network with other councils under the LGSS banner, he had always made it clear he didn’t want to run it.  

He took voluntary redundancy and moved on but always felt a sense of “unfinished business” about the county.   

“That’s why it's equally good to be back,” he says, hoping to pick up some of those issues as chief executive.   

Mr Moir says he is in tune with the joint administration’s focus for Cambridgeshire.   

“First and foremost, there is a clear direction from the joint administration of wanting a fairer, greener, more caring place; that’s a great focus.  

“Cambridgeshire is a county of contrasts, some parts do exceptionally well economically, in education, training or health but some parts don’t do as well.”  

On inherited issues such as Farmgate, he is adamant that it is a matter of culture within the organisation “and that matters hugely to me.  

“I want our staff to feel safe and supported and to create a culture of accountability, be transparent about decisions and open and honest enough to admit when we make mistakes and learn from them.  

"The way we operate as a council means we have got to be trusted, credible and have to be the same internally”  

He says the council has contacted those former officers affected by farmgate.   

"Of course, we have been in touch with those individuals as any reasonable and sensible employer would be,” he says.  

He was “sad, disappointed and concerned” that anyone faced those situations in the workplace.   

“And angry as it should have been dealt with quicker; we must make sure it doesn’t happen again”  

“Where bullying, harassment or intimidation exist believe me I will be treading on it very quickly.”  

His advocacy of robust Nolan Principles in public life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership)  come with him to his new role.  

“I am a public servant because I want to be- I believe in public service, believe in high standards in public life,” he says.  

Candidly he admits to having left some jobs in the public sector that have not lived up to those values.   

But Mr Moir is adamant that councillors behaving badly will always be challenged, initially through “a quiet word with the individual” and taking it further if necessary.    

"However, it is not just about politicians. We have a code of conduct for officers and I expect it to be upheld.  

“If we fall short people can expect it to be dealt with fairly and properly.”   

I asked Mr Moir what, if anything, makes him angry.   

“Social injustice, inequality, lack of fairness,” he says.   

“People being treated badly for whatever reasons winds me up – that's the best way of describing it.”  

Cambridgeshire, he concludes, is a great place to be “and could be even better if we have a commitment to tackle those inequalities”.