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Friday 20 August

Monday saw me join Julie Danks, the Managing Director of the Council and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall for our regular catch up. It's always a useful way to start the week, to discuss emerging issues and plan forthcoming business and the week ahead.

I also met with Margaret Waggott, Assistant Director of Admin, Democratic and Electoral Services for a meeting to hear about all the work going on across her teams.

On Wednesday I joined Leaders, senior officers and Directors of Public Health from across the other Tees Valley authorities for a regional update on Covid-19. It was good to get a local and national update from public health colleagues and also hear what the latest developments are on issues such as community testing and the vaccination programme.

Later that day I was pleased to meet with Siobhan McArdle, Director of The Strategy House, who has recently taken over from former Sabic chairman, Paul Booth, as the Tees Valley's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)'s chair. The LEP supports the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority by working with the wider business community and other partners to create growth, investment and jobs in the area. It was good to welcome her to the role, hear her ideas and plans for the LEP and I look forward to working with her in the future.

I joined Julie Danks and Councillor Beall again on Thursday for a meeting with Richard McGuckin, Director of Town Centres Development for an update briefing on our plans for our town centres.

This morning I met with Shona Duncan from Tees Valley Combined Authority for a catch up on the Education, Employment and Skills portfolio which I lead on for the authority.

This afternoon brought around the weekly meeting of the Council's Local Outbreak Engagement Group which I chair. Councillor Beall, Councillor Steve Nelson and I are joined by a number of officers to review the latest COVID-19 dashboard figures and plot out future communications activity to help us reduce the spread of the virus.

On Saturday, Middlesbrough head to the iPro Stadium to take on Derby County. Now managed by England's leading goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, the Rams are in a very difficult situation off the pitch and their results so far on it haven't inspired much confidence either. After a solid start I am hoping Boro can keep the momentum going and pick up a first away victory of the season.