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4 November 2022

On Monday I attended a workshop run by the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board on North Tees & Hartlepool and South Tees Hospitals' NHS Foundation Trusts. The session is part of an independent review of the trusts to build on partnership working between the two trusts, which started during COVID-19, and to give recommendations on working collaboratively in the future.

On Tuesday the Deputy Leader of the Council, Lisa Evans, and I met with corporate and senior managers from the Finance, Development and Regeneration directorate for an update on our town centres. The demolition of Castlegate is on schedule and I'm sure many of you will have seen the progress.

Mid-week I met with colleagues from the Council's Public Health Team for an update on our domestic abuse strategy. With the football World Cup and Christmas around the corner, we know these are both triggers for increased domestic abuse incidents and we need to be as vigilant and supportive as ever.

Later, I had the pleasure of judging the Council's Star Employee Awards. These awards recognise staff who are shining examples of outstanding customer service. The nominations for the awards are made by staff who want to highlight the good work of their colleagues or other teams, so it's always great to see how many we receive and it's difficult to choose a winner.

In the afternoon I attended a Roundtable Debate at Durham University with their Business School to talk about Levelling Up. I was there to talk about how we are levelling up our Town Centres, joined by a number of other senior leaders and academics from across the North East.

On Thursday I met the Council's three unions to discuss the NJC pay award which was agreed on Tuesday. It's a pay award that equates to a 10.5% increase for the lowest paid workers as well as an extra day of annual leave.

Later in the day, the rest of the Cabinet and I had our regular briefing with the Council's Corporate Management Team where we discussed the Medium-Term Financial Plan.

This morning, other senior managers and I met with Catalyst, the Borough's voluntary development agency. They offer support and guidance to the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and work in partnership with us to run a number of projects across Stockton-on-Tees.

I'm looking forward to a nice weekend with my family. Middlesbrough had a great showing on Tuesday evening, winning 3-1 away against Hull City. It's the new manager Michael Carrick's first win in charge, and I hope that we take some momentum into our home match against Bristol City on Saturday to potentially leapfrog them in the Championship table.