'No obligation' for Kate Josephs to tell Sheffield Council if she receives Partygate fine

Sheffield Council is unaware whether or not chief executive Kate Josephs has been fined over her role in Partygate - with the official having no obligation to inform them.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that Covid fines have now been issued by police over the leaving do party held for Ms Josephs in December 2020 as she departed her role as the Cabinet Office's director-general of the Covid-19 taskforce.

The paper said it is not known whether Ms Josephs herself had been fined and she had declined to comment. Ms Josephs issued a public apology for her part in the event in January, saying she was "truly sorry" about her participation.

She has been on leave from her £190,000-a-year job since then and the council has launched its own investigation into the matter, but has refused to name the investigator carrying out the work.

Fines have reportedly been issued over a Partygate event involving Kate Josephs - but Sheffield Council says it doesn't know whether or not she has received one.

The Telegraph said two sources had confirmed some attendees have been informed in recent days they are being fined.

It has been reported that dozens of officials attended the "boozy" gathering at a time when people in London were banned from socialising indoors outside of their household or support bubble.

Sheffield Council is understood not to have been informed by either Ms Josephs or the Met Police about whether she has received a fine and in common with others who have received Partygate fines, she has no obligation to tell her employer about such an outcome.

The council refused to comment on whether Ms Josephs would be informing the investigation of any potential outcome and whether or not she has or will be interviewed as part of the internal investigation process.

A cross-party sub-committee received a report from the anonymous investigator on March 31 but the council has said they need "time to properly absorb the report" before making any decisions.

A council spokesperson said: “It was announced in February that an independent investigator would be brought in. The committee will need to meet again once they have had time to properly consider the contents of the investigator’s report. Until then, the committee needs to focus on its work.”

The reports about fines over Ms Josephs’ leaving do came after a former senior official became the first person to confirm they had received an FPN as a result of the Partygate investigation.

Former deputy cabinet secretary and Whitehall ethics chief Helen MacNamara said she was “sorry for the error of judgment I have shown”.

She was reported to have received the fine in connection with a leaving do held in the Cabinet Office on June 18, 2020.

Ms MacNamara, who now works for the Premier League, said: “I am sorry for the error of judgment I have shown. I have accepted and paid the fixed penalty notice.”

The Telegraph reported that Ms MacNamara, who was in charge of Whitehall propriety and ethics at the time, was given a £50 fine after police concluded she had broken Covid laws by attending a leaving party for Hannah Young, a Downing Street aide, who was moving to New York to take up a role with the British Consulate General.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that others had been fined for a gathering held on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.

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