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Friday 10 December 2021

The week began with me chairing an online meeting of the Education, Employment and Skills Advisory Group (EESAG) of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). We worked through a busy agenda, with discussions on a number of issues including adult education, the state of the labour market and the local Skills Improvement Plan.

Immediately after I joined Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, on a call with the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks. It was one of our frequent briefing meetings where we ensure we're all up to speed on the latest developments in issues affecting residents and businesses across the Borough.

This was followed by a 'sounding board' meeting of the Local Government Association (LGA) via Microsoft Teams. These sessions are a good opportunity for colleagues in different authorities to share experiences and feed in ideas from our various portfolios.

On Tuesday I was joined by Managing Director, Julie Danks, Cabinet members and senior officers for an online meeting with Chief Inspector Chris Smiles of Cleveland Police. These regular partnership meetings allow us to discuss any emerging crime issues that might affect the borough.

Wednesday began with a visit by Mark Edgell from the Local Government Association (LGA) following the Council's adoption of its Model Councillor Code of Conduct. The code, which Mark was advising on, has been designed to protect our democratic role as councillors, encourage good conduct and safeguard the public's trust in local government.

On Thursday I had the pleasure of joining members of the Norton Community Partnership at St Michael's Church, Norton, to thank local people who have been nominated Champions of the Community. Children from local schools came along to sing carols and celebrate. It was a lovely occasion.

Thursday also saw a full Cabinet meeting with a range of items on the agenda, including an update on the Medium Term Financial Plan. There was also a report on our events in the borough this year, including the wonderful Stockton Sparkles which has been spreading Christmas cheer to residents and visitors alike over the past few weeks. It was great to hear that around 3,500 people enjoyed the Christmas Lights Switch on, one of our highest attendances ever. Don't miss the Christmas Singalong on Stockton High Street tomorrow from 10am to 3pm, with live music, community choirs and street theatre for all the family to enjoy!

This morning I attended a meeting of our Corporate Parenting Board, in the Jim Cooke Conference Suite, to discuss issues affecting our children and young people in care across the Borough.

At the weekend I am looking forward to spending some time with my family and seeing if Middlesbrough can add to their two-game winning streak when they travel to Stoke on Saturday. On Sunday evening I will also attend a special Candlelit Memorial Service at Stockton Parish Church to remember those we have lost during the pandemic.

Following this week's announcement of new Covid measures we're urging everyone to follow the national rules and work together to protect each other.