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20 January 2023

At the start of this week, myself and other Cabinet members had a meeting with members of the Council's Corporate Management Team ahead of the Cabinet meeting on Thursday to talk about what's on the agenda and get an update from each of the relevant services.

On Tuesday, I met with my fellow ward Councillors to discuss ward matters. Our new Chief Executive joined us in a walk around the ward.

Mid-week I had a quiet diary and took the opportunity to catch up on important paperwork.

Thursday was Cabinet, where a busy agenda included discussions and updates on a scrutiny review of our care homes, and our strategy for playing pitches and outdoor sports in Stockton-on-Tees. We also agreed the programme of events for 2023, and approved which days we are going to mark and support with our feature lighting across the Borough.

Today I am attending the full meeting of SIGOMA (Special Interest Groups of Municipal Authorities). SIGOMA is the collective voice of 47 urban authorities in England on local government finance and funding issues, which ensures member authorities remain well-informed on Central Government policy. At the meeting we will be reviewing our budget and setting our activities for the year, and look at updating our mission statement and manifesto.

Immediately after was a meeting of the Association of North East Councils (ANEC) which was held remotely. ANEC allows local authorities in the North East to come together and collectively have a stronger political voice. Another busy agenda saw updated from the LGA, and a discussion around Asylum Seeker Dispersal in the North East.

This weekend I look forward to spending some time with my family. Middlesbrough are continuing their fantastic run in the Championships, sitting at fourth in the league. This weekend is a local derby, where we will be facing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It's a difficult stadium to play as the away team, but I hope a strong away following for Middlesbrough will help the team perform. I will be watching how we fare against Sunderland and hope that we will extend our unbeaten league run to five games.