Friday 28 May 2021
A busy week started with a regular catch-up meeting with the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, Councillor Tony Riordan and Councillor Lynn Hall.
After that I had a virtual meeting with the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks and officers from Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). It was a good opportunity to discuss the agenda of the next Education, Employment and Skills Partnership Board meeting which I will chair on 7 June.
On Monday afternoon, Councillor Beall and I joined Julie Danks for our weekly update to go through the latest Covid-19 developments. Although our case numbers remain low, it's very important that we keep protecting each other by following the national rules.
I then had a scheduled meeting with Bishopsgarth and Elm Tree Ward Councillor, David Minchella.
The Local Government Boundary Commission is carrying out an electoral review of the Borough's ward boundaries and on Tuesday I had an update on the latest phase from Democratic Services officers. Once complete, the Commission will recommend the total number of councillors that should be elected to the local authority in future, as well as the size and names of each ward boundary.
Straight after that Councillor Beall, Julie Danks and I met with the Council's Director of Town Centres Investment, Richard McGuckin, to discuss our work on the Borough's town centres in more detail.
I then went to a Members' Briefing session which focussed on adults services. The session was attended by several Council officers who presented the Council's work to improve care homes in the Borough through the national Well-Led programme.
The Council's Annual General Meeting was held in person on Wednesday. The Government's temporary legislation to allow virtual formal meetings ended earlier this month so this year's meeting took place in a Covid-safe manner at Thornaby Pavilion where I was pleased to formally install the new Mayor, Councillor Kevin Faulks and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ross Patterson. I also appointed the forthcoming year's Cabinet Members and Assistant Cabinet Members and announced changes to a few Council committees following the recent elections.
My series of planned ward councillor meetings continued throughout the week with Councillors Bill Woodhead, Maurice Perry, Ted Strike and Sylvia Walmsley. These regular updates are a useful way to share and understand any issues in their patches and wider Borough.
Yesterday I attended an online meeting of the Local Government Association's (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board which I sit on with Members from local authorities across the UK. The Board focusses on issues relating to aging populations and adult social care but it also supports local government in delivery of its public health, health protection and mental health responsibilities.
This morning I attended a meeting of the Transporter Taskforce which has been set up to look into the next stage in the life of the Transporter Bridge. The taskforce brings together members and officers from the Council, Middlesbrough Council and TVCA with a particular focus on how the bridge can be central to the area's culture, education, leisure and tourism.
Later today I'm meeting with the Council's Director of Children's Services, Martin Gray and that will be followed by this week's Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG) where we will discuss the Borough's latest coronavirus picture.