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Friday 12 February

This week started with my regular bi-weekly Monday morning catch up with the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks and the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall to discuss the latest Covid-19 developments. It's always a good opportunity to get up to speed with any developments since our last meeting and from over the weekend.  

Julie, Councillor Beall and I came together again later in the afternoon for the Cabinet Briefing meeting where we went over the papers coming forward for the Cabinet meeting on 25 February. There was a wide range of topics from the annual audit to school admissions and Brexit to consider.

Later that afternoon I also joined other Members for a virtual meeting about the Medium Term Financial Plan.

On Tuesday morning I joined colleagues from across the region at a meeting organised by the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS). The meeting saw us introduced to the newly appointed ICS Chair, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, before we were updated on the latest ICS developments.

Following this I joined Councillor Beall and Julie Danks once again for the second meeting of the week as we tracked any actions in relation to the Council's response to the pandemic.

I was delighted to join members of Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF), Stockton's youth-led movement at their Big Committee meeting on Tuesday evening. There were updates from the BMBF members on a number of important issues including public health and the environment. I'm always impressed by the dedication and ambition of the young people involved with BMBF and this was a good opportunity to hear what they have been working on.

On Wednesday I had a series of meetings before a Members' Briefing where we received updates on the 2021 Census, a Town Centres update briefing as well as a presentation on climate change and zero carbon.

I joined Leaders from across the country on a ministerial webinar on Thursday morning with the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP. Naturally the Government's response to the pandemic was the main focus, with an update on the national vaccine rollout, but there was also information about the local elections which are scheduled for later this year. 

The Medium Term Financial Plan will be discussed at a special Cabinet meeting next Thursday, 18 February so throughout the week I have been involved with several discussion meetings about the plan with members from across the Council. 

This morning I joined members and officers at the bi-monthly Corporate Parenting Board where we received an update report from Adopt Tees Valley. 

This afternoon I'm chairing the weekly meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG) where we will review the latest infection figures and discuss our ongoing response to the pandemic. 

Middlesbrough meet Derby County at the weekend so I'll be looking forward to seeing how Wayne Rooney's side play against us. Neil Warnock's management experience greatly overshadows Rooney's so fingers crossed there will be great chance to scoop a win.