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Friday 1 April

A busy day on Monday began with an update on the Energy From Waste facility at Haverton Hill from Gary Cummings, the Council's Director of Finance and Business Service.

I was then joined online by Deputy Leader Jim Beall for our early in the week catch up with Managing Director Julie Danks to discuss any ongoing issues and the week ahead.

In the afternoon I gave a presentation on the Council's town centres regeneration to a group of residents at the Glebe Community Centre. The event was organised by Norton Baptist Church.

This was followed by a meeting of the Fairer Stockton-on-Tees (FSOT) Multiagency Steering Group. A Fairer Stockton-on-Tees is our ambitious ten-year vision to tackle inequality and deprivation in the Borough. The agenda included a progress update and priorities for 2022/23 from Martin Gray,  Director of Children's Services.

Tuesday began with a briefing on the Council's House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Policy. HMOs in Stockton-on-Tees provide a useful and essential source of housing within the private rented sector. However, poor standards of management within HMOs can seriously impact on the health and well-being of occupants. The role of the local authority is to ensure appropriate inspections of HMOs are undertaken to ensure proper standards are maintained and any disrepair issues are identified and resolved quickly.

I was then joined by the Deputy Leader for the first of two regular catch ups this week with ward councillors.

Later I joined the panel considering the nominations for this year's Mayor's Civic Awards. There are seven categories - Young Person Award, Service to Community Award for individuals, Service to Community Award for groups and organisations, Service to Community Award for businesses, Health and Well-being Award, Green Award and Carer/Foster Carer Award.  With over 100 nominations this year it was a really difficult job because each and every one of them has made a valuable contribution towards helping others or making the Borough a better place. The worthy winners will be announced at the Annual General Meeting on 25 May.

A busy day ended with a Member briefing session, which was held remotely. The agenda included updates on the Hampton by Hilton and the Council's ongoing town centre plans.

On Wednesday I received a useful briefing on business rate relief from Gary Cummings, Director of Finance and Business Service. This was followed by the second of this week's ward councillor catch ups, where I was again joined by the Deputy Leader.

A lighter diary towards the end of the week allowed me to catch up on some important paperwork in my office.

This weekend I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family and seeing if Middlesbrough can secure another three points in their push for the play-offs when they travel to second-bottom Peterborough.