Kate Josephs Sheffield: Chief executive 'is not suspended' says Council

Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs remained in post today following revelations she hosted a drinks party at the height of Covid restrictions.

Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:21 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:44 pm

There was silence from Sheffield Council but confirmation that Ms Josephs has not been suspended from her £190,000 role.

She hosted leaving drinks at the Cabinet Office on December 17, 2020 where she was working as director general of the Covid Taskforce and London was in Tier 3 restrictions.

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Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs remains in post despite admitting she hosted a drinks party at the height of Covid restrictions.

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

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.

A council spokesman would not be drawn on whether Ms Josephs was in discussions with Council Leader Terry Fox but said a series of meetings were taking place and she was in attendance.

A picture of Kate Josephs outside 10 Downing Street that she posted on Twitter on December 18, 2020, after leaving her former Government role.

Politicians were also keeping tight lipped. Coun Fox issued an initial statement saying he was ‘deeply disappointed’ but has been unavailable for comment since.

Liberal Democrat Leader Shaffaq Mohammed and Green Party Leader Douglas Johnson both declined to comment but Lord Paul Scriven, a Lib Dem peer, was robust in his criticism.

He has called for Ms Josephs to resign, saying: “She broke the rules she helped set, she attended a pre rganised drinks party on the day 567 people died and then only apologised because she got found out.

“These are not the ethical requirements of a council chief executive. She has undermined the name of the city.

“I was on my way to the train station and nine people stopped me and said they agree that Kate Josephs should resign .

“One said ‘she’s lost the trust of the city, you won’t be able to believe a word she says in the future, this city has integrity, unlike her”

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is currently carrying out an investigation into alleged Covid rule breaking in Downing Street, government departments and ‘credible allegations relating to other gatherings’.