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Friday 8 April

The week began with a visit to Norton to see some of the ongoing investment and improvement works by Thirteen on the Albany estate.

I was then joined by Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, for an online Cabinet briefing with the Council's Managing Director, Julie Danks. This included an update on a Fairer Stockton-on-Tees (FSOT), our ambitious ten-year vision to tackle inequality and deprivation in the Borough.

Later I joined a virtual meeting of the Council's Cabinet and Corporate Management Team for an update on the Council's Forward Plan with Margaret Waggott, Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services.

On Tuesday I had a useful update from Julie Danks on the Council's Senior Management Restructure, including looking closely at how the proposed new Senior Management Team (SMT) will work.

Then on Wednesday I chaired 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 a progress update on the Local Skills Improvement Plan from the Chamber of Commerce.

This was followed by my monthly business and regeneration update with Gary Cummings, the Council's Director of Finance, Development & Business Services.

Yesterday I attended a one-to-one meeting online with Richard Penn of the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO).  NEPO works in partnership with the twelve North East Local Authorities to secure quality services and goods which are good value for money. We discussed a review of the governance arrangements for collaborative procurement to ensure they are efficient and effective for each of the member authorities and NEPO. 

Today I met with Sophie Haste, community engagement officer at the Council, and Katie Jenkins, of the Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF) Big Committee, to discuss the upcoming Local Ward Councillor  Shadowing Scheme. Katie will shadow myself as Leader as it mirrors her role as Chair of BMBF's Big Committee, and I am very much looking forward to showing her what my role involves.

This was followed by a meeting of the Council's Corporate Parenting Board. Stockton Council has the same goals for the children it looks after as those of every good parent. Despite the challenges we have all faced as a result of the pandemic, our teams have worked hard to ensure good outcomes for children in our care and care leavers, ensuring that corporate parenting is at the forefront of everyone's agenda.

This weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my family and seeing how Middlesbrough fare against Hull. Following the midweek defeat to top of the table Fulham I'm hoping a home win on Saturday will see us back in the playoff places.