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Former Covid taskforce head to stay as council chief despite lockdown gathering

Former Covid taskforce head to stay as council chief despite lockdown gathering

The former head of the Government’s Covid taskforce, who apologised over her lockdown leaving drinks, will stay in her job as chief executive of one of England biggest local authorities, the council has confirmed.

Kate Josephs has received a written warning over the event which was held to mark her leaving the Civil Service on December 17 2020, following a five-month investigation, Sheffield City Council said.

Ms Josephs has been on discretionary paid leave from her £190,000-a-year job with the council since the details emerged in January, when she first apologised.

The Sue Gray report outlined how the event was attended by 20 to 30 people, with six pizzas ordered for those still in the room more than two hours later. Mr Josephs left in the early hours after tidying up, the report said.

On Wednesday, the council’s cross-party committee, which has been considering the matter, said in a statement: “Kate Josephs has decided to publicly share that she received a written warning from the committee. Kate will now be resuming her full duties as chief executive.

“The decision was made based on the facts at hand and with very careful consideration. The committee acknowledges that Kate has apologised and believes that she feels genuine remorse.”

In a statement posted on Twitter, Ms Josephs apologised again and admitted she had received a fixed penalty notice from the police.

She said: “I am so very sorry that for too many people – including those I serve in Sheffield and the colleagues I am proud to work alongside – my actions brought back personal pain and suffering experienced during the Covid pandemic.

“Knowing this is something that will stay with me forever, I cannot and will not brush that hurt under the carpet; all I can offer is my sincere apology and my promise to work harder than ever for our city.

“I now see that it was a mistake to gather in the way we did; the event simply should not have happened. I received a Fixed Penalty Notice in respect of the event and paid it immediately.”

Leader of Sheffield City Council Terry Fox said: “It’s no secret that I’ve been deeply disappointed by Kate Josephs’ actions.

“Over the last few months I’ve repeatedly said that I share the anger and upset felt by some Sheffielders about the choices Kate has made. Those feelings don’t just go away overnight.

“But I am here to deliver for Sheffield, and that is what matters the most to me now. The chief executive’s work to rebuild trust across the city and organisation begins now.”

Content provided by Radio NewsHub. Originally published on 2022-06-29 15:55:00.

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