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March 2018

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

I’ve got a meeting of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet this afternoon. There’s a busy agenda featuring reports on a broad range of Combined Authority business including transport, investment, advanced manufacturing, culture, tourism and events.

It’s also worth noting that the Combined Authority launched its Enjoy Tees Valley brand last week with the aim of attracting more visitors, and spend, into the local economy. You might be surprised to hear that Tees Valley attracts as many day visitors as Newcastle and Gateshead, but it lags behind in overnight stays and national profile, and has been without a destination tourism service for a number of years.

Enjoy Tees Valley aims to attract more than 20million people and add £1billion to the local economy per year by 2021 – creating 3,000 new jobs. There’s a new website too – – which is packed with things to see and do. Please take a look.

I’m meeting our Director of Finance and Business Services, Garry Cummings, and Strategic Procurement and Governance Manager, Martin Skipsey, in the morning as part of my preparation for a meeting of the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) next month.

I will then join the Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, to review the items coming forward for the Cabinet meeting in April, before a special members’ briefing session all about our bid for the Local Government Chronicle’s ‘Council of the Year’ award. We may not have won it but I’m very proud that we came so close and the session will be a great opportunity to reflect on all of the positive things that took us so far.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my family over the Easter weekend and will also keeping an eye on Middlesbrough’s fixtures, as Easter weekend is always a crunch time in the football calendar. Boro have two fixtures in which they’ll take on opponents from both ends of the table and hopefully tighten our grasp on a play-off spot. First up is a home clash with pacesetters Wolverhampton Wanderers before a trip to second bottom Burton Albion.

It’s back to business on Tuesday morning, when I’ve got my regular briefing with Martin Waters, the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Head of Homes and Communities, followed by a briefing with our Economic Growth Manager, Chris Renahan, and Business Relationship Specialist, Jo Fryett. Then, in the afternoon, I’m seeing the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Managing Director, Andrew Lewis, to discuss the work of the Combined Authority.

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