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Friday 10 July

On Monday I joined representatives from local trade unions for a virtual catch up on a series of issues.  As Leader of the Council this meeting is always a welcome opportunity to discuss any issues coming forward which could affect our workforce.

Later that day I joined members and officers for a Cabinet pre agenda meeting which saw us go over items coming forward for Cabinet on Thursday 16 July. These included an update to the Medium Term Financial Plan, a progress report on Children's Services and a report about the Council's response to the pandemic.

On Tuesday morning I met with Garry Cummings, Director of Finance and Business Services, for our weekly catch up to get up to speed on the financial implications we're facing as an authority at this challenging time. Following this I held my usual briefing with the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, and the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks.

That afternoon I once again joined colleagues from across the country on a Local Government Association virtual meeting to discuss local authorities' public health responses to Covid-19 now that we are in the recovery phase of the pandemic.

Wednesday saw me speak to a number of local political group leaders to update them on the latest local developments relating to our COVID-19 response. On Thursday I joined Cabinet Members for an informal meeting.

This morning I took part in the weekly regional meeting with MPs, Mayors and Leaders from across the North East and Tees Valley before being involved in a teleconference hosted by the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Richard Lewis. I'm eager to hear about the force's experience of policing since last weekend as more lockdown restrictions have now been eased.

Over the weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my family.

It really is crunch time now for Middlesbrough FC as we approach the final games of the season and the club are fighting to stay in the division. A huge game behind closed doors awaits at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday as the Boro welcome Bristol City who sacked their manager this past week. Hopefully we can take advantage of another team going through unsettled times and post a sorely needed three points on the board. I've got everything crossed for a positive result to give us some momentum to carry into the final few fixtures of the season.