Sue Gray report latest: Sheffield Council 'first' as CEO Kate Josephs under Metropolitan Police investigation

The CEO is believed to be the first Sheffield Council chief executive to be the subject of a police investigation.

Monday, 31st January 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 4:08 pm

Ms Josephs was working as director general of the Covid Taskforce and held leaving drinks before starting her new role at Sheffield Council. She is currently on paid leave from her £190,000 job.

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Sue Gray report: Kate Josephs leaving drinks under police investigation, initial...
A picture of Kate Josephs outside 10 Downing Street that she posted on Twitter on December 18, 2020, after leaving her former Government role.

What does the Sue Gray report say?

The report outlines 16 parties including: "17 December 2020: a gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official. Restrictions on gatherings of two or more people applied in London through December 2020."

The report goes on to say four parties will not be subject to a police investigation - but the one on December 17 will.

It says: "The Metropolitan Police has now confirmed that as a result of information provided by the Cabinet Office investigation team, as well as assessments made by Metropolitan Police officers, they are investigating the events on the dates set out above with the exception of the gatherings on 15 May 2020, 27 November 2020, 10 December 2020 and 15 December 2020.

"No conclusions should be drawn, or inferences made from this other than it is now for the police to consider the relevant material in relation to those incidents.

"The police have also said this does not in itself mean that they will decide to take further action or that there has necessarily been a breach of the regulations."

Ms Josephs released a statement and apologised just minutes before a national newspaper published the story on January 14.

She had repeatedly denied to local journalists that she had been involved in any Downing Street parties.

Her statement said she had gathered with colleagues that were at work that day but it was later revealed an email was sent to 40 guests.

"Gatherings difficult to justify"

The report adds: "When the Government was asking citizens to accept far reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify.

"At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.

"At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public.

"There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did."

Sheffield Council has been approached for comment.