It's a sad fact that at 42 I still occasionally have nightmares about sitting exams for which I'm completely unprepared - in the dream it's usually maths, where we had a particularly sadistic master pupils nicknamed "ratface".
It's fair to say that I had a bad night's sleep on Monday, after frantically cramming before meeting the CPA inspector at the Town Hall for my grilling.
Every council is assessed independently by the Audit Commission, who award stars based on the performance of the council, and the services it provides to local people. This process is called the Comprehensive Performance Assessment and as you can imagine, is taken extremely seriously by councils and their staff.
Darlington is currently a 4 star authority, which is "improving well". We were proud to receive that judgement, but no council can afford to rest on its laurels. The CPA inspectors are back in town again now, interviewing officers and councillors, and talking to key partners. A huge amount rests of the outcome of their assessment, so it was as well to be prepared, and I had thought through examples of where the council is working hard with partners like the PCT, and how we can show tangible evidence of where we are delivering on our ambition.
Although there were a couple of questions which surprised me, generally, I thought the hour-long interview went OK. We'll find out the final outcome of the CPA in May.