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Questions set by Vic Smith, head of financial services, East Dorset DC


Questions answered by Catherine Ratcliffe, chief education officer, Rotherham MBC

What enticed you into the world of local government?

I have been in local government for 30 years, so it's a test of the grey matter to remember. I was fortunate to have begun my career working with social workers who were committed to improving the lives of the community. It heartens me to say this is the same 30 years on. This is a good reason for others to be attracted into local government.

What is the best thing about your job?

I would like to say the pay, which has allowed me to drive a Mercedes convertible and a yacht.

However, the reality of improving children's lives through education is far more satisfying.

What is the worst thing about your job?

Like many other people in local government, it is the lack of resources. This prevents us from giving a service to children much earlier. Hopefully, with the Every Child Matters drive, this

will improve.

What is the biggest professional blunder you are prepared to admit to?

I do not want to appear arrogant, but nothing of significance comes to mind. All of us make mistakes - that's life - but we have to be big enough to admit it, learn from it and move on.

What gets you through the day?

Sometimes it is knowing the day will end, but mainly it is working with people who are committed to achieving the best outcomes for children.

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