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Friday 7 January

First I'd like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2022.

After an enjoyable festive break with my family it was back to work on Tuesday, with Covid still the dominant issue facing both the Borough and the country at the start of this new year.

My working week began with an online meeting of the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) Collaborative Procurement Sub-committee (CPSC). NEPO works in partnership with the twelve North East Local Authorities to secure quality services and goods which are good value for money. With an increasingly complex local government landscape across the North East, member authorities continue to evolve the way we deliver services and the way we respond to post-pandemic, post-Brexit Britain.

I was then joined, again online, by Deputy Leader Councillor Jim Beall for a Cabinet briefing with Managing Director Julie Danks. We also took this opportunity to discuss the escalating Covid situation, what impact it is having on Council services and what we can do as an Authority to mitigate that impact.  

On Wednesday I had my monthly business and regeneration update with Garry Cummings, the Council's Director of Finance, Development and Business Services, and Chris Renahan, Assistant Director, Inclusive Growth and Development.

A free diary on Thursday gave me the welcome opportunity to catch-up on some office work following the festive break.

A busy day today began with a briefing from Beccy Brown, the Council's Director of HR, Legal and Communications, on a report going to Cabinet about Investors in People (IIP). We are proud to announce that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has been reaccredited with the Investors in People award - the UK's leading accreditation for people management, which we have held since 2003.  

This was followed by a Microsoft Teams meeting with Managing Director Julie Danks for an update on Billingham Town Centre and our town centres in general. Although Billingham was not selected for the Government's Towns Fund, we remain committed to investing in the town centre and securing its long-term future, alongside pursuing other funding opportunities.

This afternoon I will again join the Deputy Leader and the Managing Director for another online catch-up on the fast-changing Covid situation. I will then chair the Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG) meeting, where we'll be discussing the latest Coronavirus infection rate figures in Stockton-on-Tees.

As always we are urging everyone to follow the national rules and work together to protect each other. You can find out about the current rules as well as some advice about what we can all do to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across Stockton-on-Tees on our COVID advice pages.

At the weekend I am looking forward to seeing how Middlesbrough fare in their FA Cup third-round tie at Mansfield Town. Hopefully Boro will be back on top form after December's great run of results came to a halt with the team's Covid outbreak last week.