Committee to probe Sheffield Council chief Kate Josephs' 'partygate' admission

Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs
Kate Josephs apologised after a drinks party held in December 2020 Credit: Kate Josephs/Twitter

Sheffield City Council is to launch its own investigation into whether chief executive Kate Josephs should face action over so-called 'partygate' revelations.

Ms Josephs – former head of the government's Covid taskforce – last week said she was "truly sorry"  for attending a leaving party when she left her previous job at the Cabinet Office.

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.

Ms Josephs remains in her £190,000-a-year job, despite calls for her to stand down. The council said she is currently taking a short period of annual leave.

But today Sheffield Council leader Terry Fox said a cross-party committee would be set up "to consider what steps, if any, should be taken next".

He said: "I have heard strong and emotional views from across the city.

"I absolutely understand the reaction after all that Sheffield has been through these last couple of years.

"We now need to let the committee carry out this work, and we also continue to await the outcome of the Cabinet Offices wider report. There is nothing further to add at this time."

Ms Josephs issued her apology on Twitter on Friday, saying: "On the evening of 17 December, I gathered with colleagues that were at work that day, with drinks, in our office in the Cabinet Office, to mark my leaving the Civil Service.

"I am truly sorry that I did this and for the anger that people will feel as a result."

"I apologise unreservedly," she added.

On the same day the party was held, the government Twitter account tweeted, telling a follower "you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party".

The event will be looked into by top civil servant Sue Gray, who is running an investigation into at least eight other allegedly rule breaking parties attended by members of the government throughout the pandemic.

Sheffield Council said the committee would begin work in the next few days and would be informed by the findings of the Sue Gray report.