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Monday morning started with my regular meeting with Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Jim Beall and the Council’s Managing Director, Julie Danks. It’s a good way to start the week getting ahead of any emerging issues and setting the scene for the coming week.
Following this I met with Tees Valley Combined Authority for an update briefing on my education, employment and skills portfolio before I joined colleagues at a series of meetings.
At the end of the day I joined members of the Cabinet and senior officers in a special meeting to review the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) as it makes its way through the process towards Cabinet on 20 February and Council on 27 February.
On Tuesday morning I joined Julie Danks and Garry Cummings, the Council’s Director of Finance and Business Services to brief the political group leaders about the next steps in Stockton town centre alongside a bid to the Government’s Future High Street Fund. The report will go to Cabinet on 20 February. We have also been working on a separate report about the council’s office accommodation – this follows last year’s Scrutiny Review by the People Select Committee.
Later that day I met with officers from Democratic Services and members from across the council for a forward planning meeting to take a look at items coming through for future Cabinet and Council meetings.
I spent Wednesday morning catching up with paperwork in the office before Cabinet members again came together for an informal meeting to talk over emerging issues. Immediately after this I attended a MTFP briefing session for members.
Thursday morning saw me join Julie Danks, Paul Dobson, the Council’s Globe Project Director and Reuben Kench, the Council’s Director of Culture, Leisure and Events in a meeting with Brendan Foster, Chairman of the Great Run Company. Last year we worked in partnership with the company and Tees Valley Combined Authority to bring the brilliant Great North CityGames to Stockton town centre. The meeting was a good chance to both look back at the event and ahead to future opportunities.
The Local Government Boundary Commission is starting the process of coming up with proposals for recommendations to review ward boundaries within the Borough. Staff from the Commission, including the lead Commissioner, Peter Maddison, came to meet members and brief them about the timescales for this review.
Today I joined Councillor Beall to have our regular meetings with Councillor Ted Strike and also with Councillor Sylvia Walmsley.
Over the weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my family.
Middlesbrough welcome basement side Luton Town to the Riverside for a very important clash that Jonathan Woodgate will be hoping can give his team more breathing space at the bottom end of the Championship. It is the middle fixture of a vital trilogy of games which could decide whether the rest of the season can play out quite comfortably or if Boro will have to be nervously looking over their shoulder at the drop zone. It’s a key moment in the new manager’s first season at the helm.