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Sue Gray report: Details of Kate Joseph's lockdown party emerge Sue Gray report: Details of Kate Joseph's lockdown party emerge
(about 1 hour later)
Kate Josephs left the Cabinet Office to work for Sheffield City CouncilKate Josephs left the Cabinet Office to work for Sheffield City Council
More than 20 people attended a leaving party thrown in honour of a council boss during lockdown, it has emerged.More than 20 people attended a leaving party thrown in honour of a council boss during lockdown, it has emerged.
The December 2020 event in Whitehall was held to mark Kate Joseph's Cabinet Office departure before she become Sheffield City Council chief executive.The December 2020 event in Whitehall was held to mark Kate Joseph's Cabinet Office departure before she become Sheffield City Council chief executive.
Sue Gray's long-awaited report says efforts were made to encourage social distancing and Covid-secure conditions but these were not observed by guests.Sue Gray's long-awaited report says efforts were made to encourage social distancing and Covid-secure conditions but these were not observed by guests.
After its publication, Ms Josephs apologised again for attending.After its publication, Ms Josephs apologised again for attending.
The former Covid taskforce boss remains on paid leave from her £190,000-a-year council role, with a committee set up to decide on her future due to reconvene soon.The former Covid taskforce boss remains on paid leave from her £190,000-a-year council role, with a committee set up to decide on her future due to reconvene soon.
In her latest statement, published on Twitter, Ms Josephs reiterated her previous "sincere and unequivocal" apology.In her latest statement, published on Twitter, Ms Josephs reiterated her previous "sincere and unequivocal" apology.
She said she continued to co-operate fully with the council's investigation and would not comment further until it was completed.She said she continued to co-operate fully with the council's investigation and would not comment further until it was completed.
Ms Gray's report states that Ms Josephs and another official had wished to mark their departure from the civil service and had discussed it with Second Permanent Secretary James Bowler.Ms Gray's report states that Ms Josephs and another official had wished to mark their departure from the civil service and had discussed it with Second Permanent Secretary James Bowler.
He advised a party could take place - on the condition it was time-limited, socially distanced and that no-one should travel into the office for the event, according to the report.He advised a party could take place - on the condition it was time-limited, socially distanced and that no-one should travel into the office for the event, according to the report.
Partygate: What's in the Sue Gray report?Partygate: What's in the Sue Gray report?
Insiders tell of packed lockdown parties at No 10Insiders tell of packed lockdown parties at No 10
Council boss party probe report heard in privateCouncil boss party probe report heard in private
Ms Gray said an official sent an invitation to about 40 members of staff on Ms Joseph's behalf on 16 December, with the event scheduled for the next day.Ms Gray said an official sent an invitation to about 40 members of staff on Ms Joseph's behalf on 16 December, with the event scheduled for the next day.
It began between 19:00 and 20:00 GMT, with "more than 20 staff" in attendance, to whom Mr Bowler gave a speech thanking Ms Josephs before returning to his office.It began between 19:00 and 20:00 GMT, with "more than 20 staff" in attendance, to whom Mr Bowler gave a speech thanking Ms Josephs before returning to his office.
"The intention was to follow the social distancing guidance by observing a one-way system, social distancing and other precautionary measures," Ms Gray wrote."The intention was to follow the social distancing guidance by observing a one-way system, social distancing and other precautionary measures," Ms Gray wrote.
"This did not happen.""This did not happen."
Senior civil servant Sue Gray's report on parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown has been publishedSenior civil servant Sue Gray's report on parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown has been published
Ms Gray found people had gathered in small groups, had mingled with each other and food and alcoholic drinks were available.Ms Gray found people had gathered in small groups, had mingled with each other and food and alcoholic drinks were available.
The event began to wind down between 22.00 and 22.30, however, Ms Gray said at least one member of staff went to No 10 Downing Street to attend a separate event before returning.The event began to wind down between 22.00 and 22.30, however, Ms Gray said at least one member of staff went to No 10 Downing Street to attend a separate event before returning.
She said most people left between 23:00 and 23:30 after pizzas had been ordered.She said most people left between 23:00 and 23:30 after pizzas had been ordered.
"Some others, including Kate Josephs, left later at around 00.23 after tidying up," the report adds."Some others, including Kate Josephs, left later at around 00.23 after tidying up," the report adds.
Sheffield City Council's Labour leader Terry Fox said the report painted a picture which would "anger people across the country and in Sheffield".
He said the Cabinet Office event had been held while communities were making "massive sacrifices" but the cross-party committee would have to meet again before a decision could be made.
"We've all had to wait for the process to be followed properly and we must continue to let the committee do its work," he said.
"It's absolutely vital we get this right for Sheffield and all involved."
Neither Ms Josephs nor the council has confirmed if she was among those fined by Scotland Yard after its investigations into the Partygate scandal.Neither Ms Josephs nor the council has confirmed if she was among those fined by Scotland Yard after its investigations into the Partygate scandal.
If Sheffield City Council's committee decides Ms Josephs should be dismissed, its recommendation will be put to a full vote with all 84 councillors present.If Sheffield City Council's committee decides Ms Josephs should be dismissed, its recommendation will be put to a full vote with all 84 councillors present.
The investigation has been carried out in private and the council says there is a rigid process it must follow for any statutory officer.The investigation has been carried out in private and the council says there is a rigid process it must follow for any statutory officer.
AnalysisAnalysis
By Lucy Ashton, political reporter, BBC Radio SheffieldBy Lucy Ashton, political reporter, BBC Radio Sheffield
We now know the full details of Kate Josephs' leaving party after she was personally named in the Sue Gray report.We now know the full details of Kate Josephs' leaving party after she was personally named in the Sue Gray report.
What we don't know is whether she will remain as chief executive of Sheffield Council.What we don't know is whether she will remain as chief executive of Sheffield Council.
It's been four months since she admitted on Twitter that she had attended a Whitehall party during Covid restrictions.It's been four months since she admitted on Twitter that she had attended a Whitehall party during Covid restrictions.
Sheffield Council says it had to follow stringent guidelines which resulted in an independent investigator being called in.Sheffield Council says it had to follow stringent guidelines which resulted in an independent investigator being called in.
There is no information about when a decision will finally be made and the council has not said who the investigator is, what their remit is or what it is costing.There is no information about when a decision will finally be made and the council has not said who the investigator is, what their remit is or what it is costing.
The process has dragged on and with the Sue Gray report now published, Sheffield will be impatiently waiting for a decision one way or another.The process has dragged on and with the Sue Gray report now published, Sheffield will be impatiently waiting for a decision one way or another.
Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.