Kate Josephs Sheffield: petition calls for Sheffield Council chief executive to lose job over lockdown party

Sheffield Council’s chief executive is facing fresh pressure to stand down over an alleged lockdown-breaking party which is being investigated by police.

By Robert Cumber
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 3:49 pm

A petition has been launched calling for Kate Josephs to lose her £190,000-a-year role over the Cabinet Office gathering for which she has previously said she is ‘really sorry’.

Ms Josephs last month admitted gathering with colleagues on December 17, 2020 for drinks to mark her leaving her position as director general of the COVID Taskforce – which helped set the rules she is accused of breaking – to take the top job at Sheffield Council.

Having said on the day the story broke that she was ‘truly sorry’ for her actions, she has been placed on paid leave.

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A petition says the chief executive of Sheffield Council Kate Josephs 'must go' over the Cabinet Office leaving do which the Sue Gray report revealed is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police

What has happened to Sheffied Council chief executive Kate Josephs?

An initial report by Sue Gray, the senior civil servant tasked with investigating lockdown gatherings at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, revealed on Monday that the gathering Ms Josephs attended was one of 12 which would be investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

More than 150 people have already signed a petition saying that Ms Josephs ‘must go as Sheffield City Council chief executive’.

“At the same time she believed that she merited a party to say goodbye to staff, thousands of us could not say goodbye to our dying loved ones,” the petition states.

It continues: “Kate Josephs is still claiming that although she did indeed host a party counter to her own guidance, she can not comment on it due to the ongoing Sue Gray enquiry and Metropolitan Police fiasco.

Why are people calling for Kate Josephs to step down or be suspended?

“No one that shows such hypocrisy and contempt for those adhering to her own guidance should be chief executive of any city in this country.

“A shameful insult to all of us that lost loved ones without being able to say goodbye.”

He added: “This is costing taxpayers thousands of pounds in her salary while she is on leave, and in legal fees as the council tries to deal with such a serious offence.”

Although Ms Gray’s report confirmed which gatherings police were investigating, she said this did not mean police would decide to take further action or that there had necessarily been a breach of the regulations.