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Friday 17 July

It has been another busy week as the Council responds to the various challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday I joined a teleconference with officers from Tees Valley Combined Authority who provided an update on what's happening across the employment, education and skills portfolio. Our discussion focused on how Covid-19 has impacted the skills and education sectors and the support available to those affected by the pandemic.

Later on Monday I joined the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Board and Informal Cabinet via Microsoft Teams. At the meeting there were a number of items to discuss, including economic recovery planning and business support.

On Tuesday I had my regular catch up with our Managing Director, Julie Danks, and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall. We continue to meet twice a week to discuss the Council's ongoing response to Covid-19.

I met with Group Leaders on Wednesday to discuss the proposals for recommendations to review ward boundaries within the Borough. We will of course keep you all updated as and when this develops further.

On Thursday I joined a Local Government Association finance inclusion seminar. This was followed by a Cabinet meeting, which along with all Council meetings for the foreseeable future, took place virtually. There were a number of items on the agenda, including a Covid-19 update, Xentrall annual report 2019/20 and a Children's Services progress update.

Today I have had another usual catch up via Teams with our Managing Director, Julie Danks, and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall.

I am looking forward to watching Middlesbrough take on Cardiff City at the weekend. The bottom of the Championship table remains exceptionally tight with eight teams still potentially at risk of relegation. Getting a win on Tuesday was a massive boost for Boro and victory on Saturday would be enough to keep Neil Warnock's side in the league for next season. The campaign ends with a game at Sheffield Wednesday next week and I'm very confident Boro can get over the line safely.