Kate Josephs: Covid-19 partygate fines issued for Sheffield Council boss’ leaving do

The Metropolitan Police has dealt Covid-19 fines to people involved in Kate Josephs’ Cabinet Office leaving party, according to reports.

Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 10:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 11:41 am

The Telegraph reported that fixed penalty notices were issued to attendees of Ms Josephs’ farewell party when she left the Cabinet Office in December 2020 before taking up her current role as chief executive of Sheffield Council.

Dozens of officials were said to have attended and it is not yet clear whether Ms Josephs, who was head of the Covid Taskforce and responsible for writing the lockdown rules at the time, received a fine.

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Kate Josephs, chief executive of Sheffield Council

Just before the leaving do was exposed in the press, Ms Josephs posted a statement on social media saying she gathered with colleagues for drinks in the Cabinet Office and apologised.

At the time of the event, people in London were banned from socialising indoors away from their household or support bubble.

The chief executive is currently on paid leave from her £190,000 a year council role while Eugene Walker, a senior council officer who is normally paid around £150,000 a year, is covering for her on extra pay – the amount of which has not yet been confirmed.

Secrecy around Kate Josephs’ party

Ms Josephs has not responded to media inquiries about the fine. Those who do receive one are not obliged to inform their employer and their names will not be made public by police.

The Met Police and Sheffield Council have also refused to reveal any information.

The council brought in an external investigator, who has not been named, to report back to a cross party committee with findings to inform their decision on what should be done.

Who the investigator is, what their remit and other information is has been kept secret by the local authority.

The committee met in private last week to discuss the investigation but the council said it will not share any information.

The committee comprises councillors: Penny Baker, Douglas Johnson, Shaffaq Mohammed and Sioned-Mair Richards and it is chaired by Coun Julie Grocutt.

A Freedom of Information request confirmed Sheffield Council does hold correspondence with the Cabinet Office about the event but it is withholding it, arguing that keeping it secret is in the public interest.