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Friday 19 November 2021

The week started with a regular online training session alongside fellow elected members, with an update on Local Government Association (LGA) guidance on disclosure and declaration of interests.

I then had a useful briefing from the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott.

On Tuesday I was joined by Deputy Leader Jim Beall for the first of two online catch-ups this week with ward councillors from the Borough. The second was on Wednesday. These regular updates are a useful way to share and understand any issues in councillors' patches and the wider Borough.

On Wednesday Cllr Beall also joined me for another virtual meeting, this time for our regular weekly catch-up with one of the Borough's two MPs.

A busy day on Thursday began with virtual meetings with two of our directors to discuss reports coming forward to Cabinet in the next two months.

It was then my pleasure to attend the Customer Service Awards at Arc, which this year was split into two sessions as a precaution to reduce the numbers attending. We are keen to not only celebrate and acknowledge the fabulous work staff do throughout the year but the enormous contribution staff have made through Covid. So this year we also introduced two new awards in recognition of this, as well as a new Star Apprentice award. Well done to all those who won.

I was then joined by the Council's Managing Director Julie Danks for a catch up with Leon Jones, who is Managing Director of Tees Active. It was good to hear how our leisure centres have been welcoming people through their doors following the lifting of restrictions, and especially Ingleby Barwick's new £14million facility for health and fitness, IB Leisure.

Thursday's packed schedule continued with a Full Cabinet meeting in the afternoon with a busy agenda which considered reports on a number of issues including the council tax reduction scheme and schooling.

This morning I was again joined by our Managing Director Julie Danks for a virtual catch up with  Jon Carling, Chief Executive, and Guru Naidoo, the Chair, of Catalyst, Stockton-on-Tees' umbrella body for the Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise sector.

This weekend I'll be watching with keen interest, alongside all Boro fans I'm sure, to see how Middlesbrough fare against Millwall in their first match under new manager Chris Wilder. Let's hope he starts his tenure with three points at home, that would be a great way to instantly inspire confidence among the team and the fans