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Friday 11 March

On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting again with the Borough's own Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, in her current role as President of the Local Government Organisation (LGA). She met with myself and the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks, for a regular catch-up to discuss issues facing local government both nationally and here in Stockton-on-Tees.

In the afternoon I joined officers and members remotely at a Cabinet Pre-Agenda meeting where we discussed  a number of issues including  the Council's Environmental Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Strategy for the next few years.

Tuesday began with a virtual committee meeting with the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO). Through NEPO the 12 North East Local Authorities work together to get the best deal when procuring goods and services and I am one of the councillors who sit on their Procurement Sub Committee.

This was followed by a trip to the River Tees Watersports Centre for a strategy development workshop of the Tees Valley Combined Authority's Employment, Education and Skills Board (EES), which I chair.

My working day ended with a regular meeting of the Council's Scrutiny Liaison Forum, via Microsoft Teams.

A lighter diary on Wednesday gave me the opportunity to catch up on some important paperwork in my office.

On Thursday I gave another talk about my role as Leader of the Council to a meeting of the Council's adult social care managers. These talks are an excellent opportunity for officers in the authority to learn more about elected members' different roles.

Later in the morning I joined Cllr Nigel Cooke, the Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, for a follow-up site visit to the new two million square foot distribution centre being built at Wynyard Business Park, accompanied by Malcolm Peart, Project Director for ISG. It is hoped the new warehouse facility will create up to 1,500 new jobs when complete.

The day ended with an online meeting of Cabinet Members and the Corporate Management Team (CMT). We were briefed by the Council's Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott, on a range of issues including the Levelling Up agenda and the Council's Forward Plan.

This morning I joined other Tees Valley council leaders and the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen for a meeting of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) Cabinet, where we discussed a range of issues including finances and budgets for the coming year. 

This weekend I'm looking forward to seeing how Middlesbrough get on when they travel to Millwall, following their disappointing midweek defeat to Sheffield United. Hopefully Boro can get back to winning ways before we face Chelsea in the FA Cup Quarter Finals.