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Friday 3 September

I enjoyed some time away last week and it's been very busy upon my return following on from the Bank Holiday weekend.

My first day back was on Tuesday and it was useful to be given a briefing from the Council's Director of Town Centre Investments, Richard McGuckin, for an update on our work to improve the six town centres in the Borough. I was also joined by Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, and the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks.

This was followed by a catch-up with Councillor Beall and Julie alongside Housing Service Manager, Jane Edmends. This was to discuss welcoming refugees from Afghanistan and you may have seen that we have pledged to welcome five families to the Borough.

A busy day on Tuesday ended with a Cabinet Briefing for Councillor Beall and I from Julie Danks. This was in preparation of the Cabinet meeting being held on Thursday, September 16.

On Wednesday I had my usual update on business and regeneration. As the Council's Director of Finance, Development and Business Services, Garry Cummings, is away on leave, this was given by Assistant Director of Inclusive Growth and Development, Chris Renahan.

This was followed by a meeting with other Leaders and Mayors across the Tees Valley to discuss a logo for the Stockton and Darlington Railway bicentenary year in 2025.

On Wednesday I also had a briefing on the Medium Term Financial Plan from Assistant Director of Finance, Tony Montague.

On Thursday I caught up with the Council's Director of HR, Legal and Communications, Beccy Brown, to discuss a report from market research specialist, Ipsos MORI.

This was followed by a briefing for Members from the Association for Public Service Excellence on the Local Government Commission 2030 Final Report.

A busy day on Thursday ended with a Cabinet Briefing from the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott. There were a few items to discuss, including workforce profile and the Council's new website.

Today I have caught up with Councillor Beall and Julie Danks to discuss the latest coronavirus developments in the Borough. This will be followed by a Local Outbreak Engagement Group meeting, which I will chair. This will take a look at the current Covid-19 picture in more detail.

At the weekend there is no Middlesbrough game as it is an international break. I'll be keeping an eye on England's World Cup qualifier against Andorra on Sunday, which should be a very routine victory.