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22 December 2023

I started a busy Monday with a visit to our Democratic Services Team. They're a great team and are experts on everything to do with elections and the democratic process, and I like to visit them periodically to show them my appreciation, particularly ahead of a busy electoral year next year.

After, I had my regular catch up with Mike Greene, Chief Executive of the Council, and Councillor Lisa Evans, Deputy Leader of the Council.

On Tuesday I took advantage of a quieter diary to catch up on emails and paperwork.

Mid-week, myself, Mike Greene and Lisa Evans sat down with Elaine Redding, Interim Director of Children's Services, to discuss our Childrens Services. The service is going through a big transformation at the moment as part of our Powering the Future programme, looking to improve the service as well as save money where possible.

Yesterday morning it was the Education, Employment and Skills Advisory Group (or EESAG) of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) held at Teesside International Airport. We discussed the labour market in the Tees Valley and our focus for the coming year.

In the afternoon myself and other Cabinet members had a creative session looking at what Stockton-on-Tees can offer for people who want to live, work or play here. It's part of an exciting piece of work which you will see more of next year.

This morning myself and Mike Greene are meeting with Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley Mayor, for a catch up on what's happening in Stockton-on-Tees and wider.

I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my family over Christmas. Middlesbrough delivered a good performance mid week in a 3-0 win against Port Vale in the EFL cup, which sees us progress to the semi-final. We're in action again on 23 December against West Brom and then again on Boxing Day vs Rotherham - two very important league matches which I will be watching closely.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas, and all the best for the new year. I will be taking a two week break from my blog over the festive period, and will be back to posting on Friday 12 January.

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