Sheffield Council says investigation into chief executive's lockdown breaking will be private

Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs
Kate Josephs admitted to breaking lockdown rules when she attended a party in Whitehall.
  • Words by ITV Calendar's Political Correspondent Harry Horton

A committee of Sheffield Councillors are reviewing the results of an “independent investigation” into the future of council chief executive Kate Josephs.

There are lots of questions, but not many that Sheffield Council are prepared to answer.

Here's what we know:

In January, Kate Josephs apologised after admitting to attending a lockdown leaving drinks party for her previous job in the cabinet office in December 2020.

Ms Josephs - whose salary is just under £200,000 - has been on paid leave since mid-January.

Sheffield Council says the investigation, the person who carried it out and details of it will be carried out in private.

But ITV Calendar understands the investigation is focused on what Kate Josephs told council officials about the lockdown party, and when she told them.

It is thought to be independent of the civil servant Sue Gray’s investigation into lockdown parties in Whitehall and Downing Street.

A Sheffield Council spokesperson said: “It was announced in February that an independent investigator would be brought in.”

Following Thursday's meeting, the committee of councillors “will need to meet again once they have had time to properly consider the contents.”

Also this week - the London met police began handing out fixed penalty notice fines to individuals who attended lockdown parties in Whitehall and Downing Street. The council won’t say whether Kate Josephs has received a fine.

Almost three months after Ms Josephs was placed on paid leave - there will be questions about why this is all happening in private, and why it’s taking so long.