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June 2020

Friday 26 June 2020

This week has been another busy one as we continue to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

On Monday I joined a teleconference with officers from Tees Valley Combined Authority who provided an update on what’s happening across the employment, education and skills portfolio. Our discussion focussed on how COVID-19 has impacted the skills and education sectors and the support available to those affected by the pandemic.

Tuesday began with an online pre-meeting of the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) Collaborative Sub-Committee. NEPO works in partnership with the twelve North East Local Authorities to secure quality services and goods which are good value for money. During the meeting we reviewed the organisation’s performance and discussed some emerging online procurement technologies.

Straight after that I dialled into a national webinar on health inequality and COVID-19, which was hosted by the Local Government Association.

On Tuesday I also had my weekly catch up with the Council’s Director of Finance, Garry Cummings and then later with our Managing Director, Julie Danks, and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall.

This year’s Annual Council meeting took place on Wednesday and in similar fashion to last week’s Cabinet meeting it was held remotely via Microsoft Teams. As well as the formal installation of the new Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Javed and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Kevin Faulks, the Council’s Cabinet Members and Assistant Cabinet Members for 2020-21 were also announced at the meeting. You can read more about the incoming Mayor on our news page here.

Yesterday the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall and I met virtually with Managing Director, Julie Danks, Director of Adults and Health, Ann Workman and Director of Public Health, Sarah Bowman-Abouna for a catch up on the Council’s work in adults and health services. Our work to support the Borough’s most vulnerable people is more important than ever so it was a useful opportunity to have a discussion about that.

In the afternoon I joined Leaders and Chief Executives from across the country in a webinar with ministers and civil servants from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to discuss our ongoing response to the outbreak and the services we deliver.

Today I have another scheduled update call with Julie Danks. I’ll then be joining regional MPs, Council Leaders and the Tees Valley Mayor for our weekly teleconference with Cleveland Police Chief Constable, Richard Lewis. It’s important to hear how the force is protecting people and enforcing social distancing guidelines during the pandemic.

Later on I will be holding a Teams call with Cabinet Members about the Council’s ongoing response to the virus and this evening I will be issuing my weekly press release which details the latest developments in our response to the coronavirus crisis – you can keep up to date via our news pages. Please keep an eye on the NHS page on coronavirus for official health information and remember to self-isolate and book a test if you have any symptoms.

I’m looking forward to watching Boro take on Stoke City this weekend. Neil Warnock takes charge of his first game as Middlesbrough’s new manager since his appointment on Tuesday - he’s got a great track record so it’ll be interesting to see how Saturday’s match and the rest of the season play out.

Stay safe and thank you to everyone for your support and hard work.