Jo Williams

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Jo Williams
Chief executive of Mencap

Dame Josephine Williams, DBE, DL (born 8 July 1948) is a British administrator and social worker who was the chief executive of Mencap until 1 November 2008. She was chairman of the Care Quality Commission between 2010 and 2012.[1]


Jo Dillon was born in Fishpool, Bury, Lancashire. She studied Sociology and Social Studies at Keele University.[2] She changed her name to Williams (the name of her partner) whilst working as principal officer for Cheshire Social Services Department in the 1980s. She progressed in seniority to become second in command before being promoted to Director of Social Services in Wigan. She later returned to Cheshire as Director of Social Services.[3] She was appointed as chief executive of Mencap in 2005 and remained in post until 2008.[2][4]

Williams was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2007 New Year Honours for "services to people with learning disabilities".[2][5]

An article in The Independent accused Williams of using her authority as head of the CQC to carry out a campaign to smear fellow board member and whistle-blower Kay Sheldon, including commissioning a taxpayer funded psychiatric evaluation of Sheldon.[6]

On 7 September 2012, Dame Jo Williams announced her resignation as Chair of CQC.[7]

The CQC chair was forced to apologise to MPs after she reiterated her allegations about Sheldon before a Health Select Committee reviewing CQC accountability.[8]

In May 2014 it was announced that Williams had been appointed as Independent Chair of the East Cheshire Caring Together Executive Board. However, the move was criticised by local councillors at the Cheshire East Council meeting on 14 May after they learned that the council's Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee had not been notified of the appointment.[9] On 15 May, Caring Together announced that Dame Williams and the Caring Together Executive Board had jointly decided that she would not be taking up the role.[10]

Williams became Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council at Keele University in 2018.[2] She was appointed Chair of the Alder Hey Children's Hospital Trust Board in February 2019.[11]


  1. ^ Care Quality Commission - About us - Our people - Commissioners Archived 3 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d "New Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council". Keele University. 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  3. ^ "House of Commons - Appointment of the Chair of the Care Quality Commission - Health Committee".
  4. ^ "Mencap's Jo Williams tops list of social care's most influential people". Community Care. 3 February 2005. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  5. ^ "New Year honours in the voluntary and public sectors". The Guardian. 30 December 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  6. ^ "NHS watchdog claimed that whistleblower Kay Sheldon was 'mentally ill'". The Independent. 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Dame Jo Williams announces her resignation as Chair of CQC". Care Quality Commission. 7 September 2012. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Former care chief 'sorry' for attack on whistleblower". The Independent. 12 September 2012. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  9. ^ Cara Cunningham, "Controversial U turn made on appointment of Dame Jo Williams" Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Knutsford Guardian, 22 May 2014
  10. ^ "Board Stiffs", Private Eye No. 1367, 30 May – 12 June 2014, p. 31
  11. ^ "Disgraced CQC chief Dame Jo Williams given top job at children's hospital". Times. 2 February 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.