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Friday 18 September

Monday morning began with a quick catch up with Julie Danks, the Council's Managing Director and Councillor Jim Beall, Deputy Leader before our usual meeting on Tuesday. Julie has returned to work after some annual leave so it was a good opportunity to bring her up to speed on last week's business.

I met up with a number of political group leaders throughout the week, part of my regular catch ups to make sure that they are fully abreast of the Council's ongoing response to the pandemic.

I met virtually with our Director of Finance and Business Service, Gary Cummings, on Tuesday. We discussed business regeneration and the Council's recovery from the financial implications of Covid-19.  I also joined Margaret Waggott, Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services to discuss issues which fall within her area plus any business coming forward for consideration.

In the afternoon I joined Council Leaders and Chief Executives from across the country on a Ministerial webinar with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. We heard from Dame Mary Ney who updated us on feedback from Leicester in response to their experience of a local lockdown as well as looking ahead to preparations for the autumn and winter.

I also did several media interviews throughout the day with the BBC and ITV Tyne Tees in response to the government's decision to introduce Covid marshals. Like other local authorities across the country we're still waiting for information about how marshals will work on the ground.

Thursday afternoon saw me chair the Council's Cabinet meeting where we looked at a number of items including an annual update on the Borough's Armed Forces Covenant. As armed forces champion I'm always proud to confirm our support for the Borough's veterans and their families.

Today was a busy day with a series of regular meetings including another virtual meeting with Julie Danks and Councillor Beall plus a catch up with one of the Borough's Members of Parliament.

My working week finished with a Local Outbreak Engagement Group meeting to discuss the latest numbers of coronavirus cases in Stockton-on-Tees. 

Over the weekend I am looking forward to watching Middlesbrough take on Bournemouth. Following on from Tuesday's cup game against Barnsley, it would be great to get a first league win of the season. Although Boro lost against Watford last week, there were a lot of positives from the game and I'm confident Neil Warnock's side can get a good result against another side who have just come down from the Premier League. 

I would like to continue to urge everyone to take care this weekend, to follow the rules and make sure we protect ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable who live in our communities.