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Friday 14 May 2021

This week started with an update briefing with the Head of Education, Employment and Skills at Tees Valley Combined Authority, Shona Duncan.

Through the week I had several meetings with Margaret Waggott, the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services to discuss the ongoing Boundary Review. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is carrying out the electoral review of the Borough which could see changes made to the number of wards and councillors in Stockton-on-Tees.

Staff from across the authority, but in particular Democratic Services staff, were among those responsible for delivering the elections for the Tees Valley Mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland last Thursday and Friday. During my meetings with Margaret Waggott it was an opportunity to pass on my thanks to her and the teams of people who make polling day and the subsequent counts run smoothly.

Later that afternoon I went to Cabinet Pre Agenda where we discussed a range of items and looked at the scrutiny work which has been carried out by a number of the Council's Select Committees.

On Tuesday morning I met the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall virtually, for one of our regular catch ups to discuss our ongoing response to the Coronavirus pandemic, among other issues. In the week leading up to the next step in the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, we discussed the work taking place within the Council to remind people about the national rules and provide advice and support to businesses as they reopen.     

Bright Minds Big Futures' (BMBF) Big Committee met on Tuesday evening. BMBF is  Stockton-on-Tees' youth led movement which works closely with the Council. It was good to hear what the committee have been up to since the last time we met.  

On Thursday I had fewer meetings throughout the day so it was a welcome chance to catch up on office work before an informal meeting of cabinet members.

One of the Borough's MP's joined me for a regular update via Microsoft Teams on issues both in Parliament and across the Borough. I then held another catch-up with Julie Danks and Councillor Jim Beall to further discuss arising issues and the ongoing coronavirus response. Finally I joined elected representatives across the region on a call with Steve Graham, Assistant Chief Constable of Cleveland Police to discuss the next phase of the Government's Roadmap.

As usual I am ending the working week by chairing a virtual meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Group where we will discuss the latest coronavirus picture in the Borough.

Another season has now concluded for Middlesbrough FC and unfortunately it was one that petered out into a very average finale with a disappointing final day defeat to Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday. My hope for the summer break is that we can bring in some real quality to the squad, along with some more exciting youth players, so we can improve under Neil Warnock and make a proper push for promotion.