Partygate: Sheffield's biggest business organisations call for 'urgent' end to Kate Josephs probe

Three of Sheffield’s biggest business groups have urged the council to ‘urgently’ conclude the Kate Joseph’s investigation warning it is ‘damaging the city every day’.

Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 3:43 pm

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheffield Property Association and Sheffield Digital have issued an unprecedented joint statement saying that under the new chief executive the city had real momentum ‘for the first time in years’.

And ‘serious government investment’ was starting to flow into the city - including millions for Fargate, Castlegate and Attercliffe - which ‘did not arrive by accident’.

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Kate Josephs confessed to attending her own leaving do as director general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce in December 2020.

The three organisations represent about 1,000 businesses in the city.

Kate Josephs confessed on January 14 to attending her own leaving do as director general of the Government’s Covid Taskforce in December 2020 and has been on paid leave ever since.

The joint statement says: “It has been important for the Town Hall to follow due process, but the councillors now need to urgently reach a conclusion on the future of the council ’s chief executive. A city without a permanent chief executive is a city going backwards.

Boris Johnson has been accused of presiding over a ‘record’ 100 Covid fixed-penalty notices as part of the Partygate investigation. (Photo Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“It is not for us to tell councillors what to do but we encourage our political leaders to not forget the past.

“Real and positive change was, until January, underway. It may not have yet been obvious in public but behind the scenes it was clear that there were reasons to be confident in the future direction of the city.

“Work was accelerating in the council to make Sheffield a better place to start and grow a business. Businesses that create local jobs for local people.

“Serious government investment was starting to flow into the city. The millions Sheffield has won from government recently for Fargate, Castlegate and Attercliffe did not arrive by accident.

“The council ’s new chief executive was making a positive impact and driving change. For the first time in years, we had real momentum.

“The absence of a permanent chief executive damages the city every day. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting hard and increasing competition between cities to secure government funding and bounce back from Covid, we need bold and confident leadership, and we need it now.

“Let us move forward for positive reasons. Let us make sure the decision is made soon and is in the long-term interests of the city.”

Kate Josephs was reportedly fined £50 by the Metropolitan Police.

The council hired an investigator to look into the incident and her conduct in the year she was in the top job in Sheffield when she repeatedly denied any involvement. Once complete, a special panel of councillors will decide her fate.

On a salary of £201,292 - some £16,700-a-month - she has so far been paid more than £67,000 to stay at home.

The Prime Minister has been accused of presiding over a ‘record’ 100 Covid fixed-penalty notices – including one of his own – from the Partygate investigation.

Fresh photos this week have piled on further shame. He has resisted calls to go.

Sheffield employment lawyer Jay Bhayani, of Bhayani HR and Employment Law, has also urged a speedy end to the investigation.

She it was costing a fortune and harming the city’s reputation.

Sanctions could range from a ‘telling off’ to an official warning, to her being sacked, although a lesser penalty was ‘much more likely’.

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