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December 2019

Friday 20 December

This week began with a visit to the Civic Centre in Gateshead for an executive committee meeting of the North East Regional Employers’ Organisation. There was a busy agenda including items on the organisation’s budget for the forthcoming year, an update on GDPR considerations and a data-led insight into local government workforces.

On Monday afternoon I travelled back to the patch for a meeting of the Education, Employment and Skills Partnership Board (EESPB) at the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA)’s headquarters at Cavendish House in Teesdale.

The meeting focussed on workstream updates from each area of the group’s work remit. It was a good opportunity to bring each other up to speed on our progress and look ahead to the next steps we each need to take before the group meets again in March.

I met with Jamie McCann, Director of Community Services, on Tuesday to be briefed on some important changes to public service vehicle access regulations. There are national legislative changes which mean that from 1 January 2020 any bus or coach with more than 22 seats that takes fare-paying passengers must be wheelchair-accessible. We’re already making the necessary changes in light of this legal position being clarified so it was important to meet with Jamie to hear how we are managing this.

Following this, I met with a student from Newcastle University who is preparing their dissertation on local government policy implementation in Stockton High Street. It was great to help them out and discuss all of the things we’ve been working to achieve in the area in recent years and how we have gone about it.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I took the much-needed opportunity to catch up on important Council paperwork in my office following a very busy election period.

I was back at Cavendish House in Teesdale on Friday for a meeting of the TVCA Cabinet where we primarily gave our attention to the authority’s budget for 2020-21 and its Medium Term Financial Plan.

Over the weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my family and continuing our preparations for Christmas, as I am sure many of you are too!

Middlesbrough host Stoke City in a televised match on Friday night under the lights at the Riverside Stadium. It was really disappointing to see the side not be able to hold on for a point last Saturday against Swansea and the team’s discipline must improve in order to be more solid. Fingers crossed for a positive result before Christmas!

This is the last Leader’s Blog of the year so I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2020. Thank you to everyone for your hard work and dedication throughout the year and I look forward to working with you all again in the new year.

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