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Friday 17 September

This week began with a meeting involving officers from the Council's planning team to get an update on several schemes and developments from across our area.

I was then straight into another call to join the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, and Managing Director, Julie Danks, for our regular catch-up at the start of the week to discuss our ongoing response to the changing circumstances put upon us due to the pandemic and numerous aspects of service delivery.

On Monday afternoon I travelled to a meeting of the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Board's Cabinet at Cavendish House in Teesdale. It was an informal session looking ahead to the full meeting on Friday 24 September, where an update on the area's freeport, airport and Medium-Term Financial Plan are expected.

On Tuesday I met with some fellow political group leaders to catch up on their latest developments and issues affecting their areas of interest.

Wednesday brought around the monthly meeting of local Mayors, Leaders, Chief Executives and Managing Directors to review the Tees Valley's situation in regard to COVID-19. On the agenda were items about community testing, vaccination and the effects of 'long-COVID'.

Later that day I attended a meeting of the Stockton Northern Education Trust Combined Academy. It was the first gathering of the new academic year so it was a good opportunity to look ahead to the issues facing some of our schools and the opportunities available for them to continue their growth and success.

On Thursday I caught up with the Council's Assistant Director for Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott, to be briefed on the latest work of her directorate.

Full Cabinet met with a very busy agenda including items such as an update on the Council's Medium-Term Financial Plan, the results of our latest residents' survey, a review of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Complaints Report, a private landlord accreditation scheme and a new strategy focussed on improving pregnancy and early childhood outcomes.

Today has largely revolved around our regular Local Outbreak Engagement Group meeting where we review the latest context of the pandemic in our Borough and to consider any decisions that need to be taken.

This weekend I am looking forward to being with my family.

There was no upturn in results for Middlesbrough FC as hoped for in my last blog but there's always hope. We managed to turn over Nottingham Forest midweek and play Blackpool at the Riverside on Saturday afternoon and there's a real feeling that the manager and the team need to secure a consecutive convincing win to give our season the kickstart it needs.