Recycling up and round the spiral goes Dame Jo Williams. Why? Has somebody been sold ‘a pup’?

It seems that the financial cost (£1,500,00, I believe?) and the hard work of a very large number of volunteers and employees is about to be ‘brought to dust’, by the appointment of (‘charming’) Dame Jo Williams as ‘Independent Chair’ of Eastern Cheshire’s Caring Together programme, which is being announced in the press release below.

The question is: Who knew about Dame Jo Williams’, Care Quality Commission and Parliamentary Health Select Committee background, prior to this strange appointment?

Do read the Parliamentary Health Select Committee (corrected) Transcript of 11 September 2012.

From Question 83, this evidence brought out by the Committee becomes quite startling. And yet this is the woman who has been appointed as the ‘Independent Chair’ – and figurehead – of the whole Caring Together Programme? If there is a will to further remove the already shaky trust of people across Cheshire East, perhaps it will succeed?.

Dame Jo Williams was the Chair of CQC during the time when desperate friends and relatives were constantly asking for help from the CQC, which I believe was consistently refused. I believe that this refusal was seen to be so desperately wrong that CQC Lay Board Member, Kay Sheldon, felt forced to blow the whistle on her own organization and went to give evidence at the Mid Staffs Hospital enquiry, which has since stated that hundreds of old people died unnecessarily and in deep misery, during their dreadful treatment at the hands of Mid Staffs Hospital Trust.

It is reported that Dame Jo Williams wrote urgently to Andrew Lansley asking that Kay Sheldon be removed from the Board of CQC.. but this was eventually refused

You will see from the corrected parliamentary document, that the mental health of whistle-blowing CQC Board Lay Member, Kay Sheldon was deliberately – and very publicly – maligned by Dame Jo Williams, during the Parliamentary Health Select Committee hearing (11Sept2012)which is known to meet in public, posting its documents publicly online.

Also of course, Dame Jo Williams was the Chair at the time when relatives of those assaulted, learning disabled adults at Winterbourne View were begging for help, and the CQC seems to have had no procedure in place to help or investigate there either.. being ‘busy about its own affairs’… whatever they were.

And Dame Jo Williams was Chair of CQC when desperate parents were begging for help during the Morecambe Bay Hospitals ‘baby deaths’ scandal, when it is stated that 16 babies died quite unnecessarily.

This is all raised in the Parliamentary document.

Was Dame Jo Williams forced to resign from CQC? She was certainly forced to apologise during the Parliamentary Health Select Committee Hearing.. but not until after the reputational damage to her Board colleague was openly achieved.


“PRESS RELEASE – early May 2014
From: Portz, Michael (MAN-WSW) []
Subject: Caring Together appoints Dame Jo Williams as new Independent Chair
Caring Together appoints Dame Jo Williams as new Independent Chair

 Caring Together – a new programme aiming to improve the way health and social care is delivered in Eastern Cheshire – has today appointed Dame Jo Williams as its new Independent Chair.

The Independent Chair’s role is to provide impartial and objective advice to the programme, particularly as new health and social care models are created using feedback from people across Eastern Cheshire. The new models will  change the way care services are provided in the region and  the Chair will ensure that patients’ needs are properly taken into account at all times.

Following a thorough recruitment and assessment process, the Caring Together Board has appointed Dame Jo because of her exemplary record standing up for care users and partnership work. She replaces Dame Ruth Carnall who has served as interim Independent Chair since August 2013.

Dame Jo was previously chairman of the Care Quality Commission – the national watchdog set up to govern care services in the UK. Before that, she was the chief executive of the learning disability organisation Mencap.

She 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”.

Dame Jo will formally take up her post on 1st May 2014.

Dr Paul Bowen, GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The CCG is delighted that Dame Jo will chair the Caring Together Executive board. She brings with her significant experience of the health service, and has demonstrated commitment and leadership at many levels. In order to co-design a collaborative, high quality care system, her independence and overview will be vital. I very much look forward to working with her. 

“I would like to thank Dame Ruth Carnall for the outstanding work she has carried out as our interim Independent Chair and wish her all the best for the future.”

Dame Ruth Carnall, outgoing Independent Chair of Caring Together, said:

“The role of the Independent Chair is crucial to ensuring what matters, happens. This programme is about changing how health and social care services respond to the needs of patients and as the outgoing and interim chair I believe we have made a good start. I know that Dame Jo’s skills and experience will help make Caring Together the success patients deserve.”

Dame Jo Williams, Independent Chair, Caring Together, said:

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to serve the people of Eastern Cheshire.  I look forward to playing my part in the development of health and social care services”.

Bill Swann, Lay Member for Public & Patient Involvement on the NHS East Cheshire CCG Governing Body, and the Patient-Carer Representative on the Caring Together Board, said:

“Dame Jo’s appointment is a very welcome addition to the Caring Together programme. We need to ensure patients’ experiences are taken into account as we co-design new services and she will be a significant ally in this.”


Well.. that’s what it says. So how much did the Selection and Appointments Group know about the Parliamentary past of Dame Jo Williams, before feeling that she was ‘the ideal candidate’?

This begs the question: ‘The ideal candidate for what?

Paul Bowen states: “I know that Dame Jo’s skills and experience will help make Caring Together the success patients deserve.”

Another question might be: What is it thought that the patients of Eastern Cheshire CCG area deserve?


About officialaccountability

Seriously concerned that there is so little (if any?) corporate accountability within our publicly-funded bodies. Working for change - preferably for the better. That could include wholesale sackings to much applause?
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One Response to Recycling up and round the spiral goes Dame Jo Williams. Why? Has somebody been sold ‘a pup’?

  1. Sam Corcoran says:

    Cheshire East Labour Group Press Release

    15th May, 2014

    Controversial Appointment to Caring Together Board

    Caring Together is part of the wider NHS reorganisation of health and social care across eastern Cheshire. The aim is to encourage providers of care to work together with the people who receive care, their support networks, family, friends and carers.

    In response to a Labour question at the Cheshire East Council meeting on 14 May, it was revealed that the Council had not been involved in the decision to appoint Dame Jo Williams as Chair of the East Cheshire Caring Together Executive Board. Speaking at the Cheshire East Council meeting, the Health and Adult Social Care Portfolio Holder said that the Council were told after the event and that Dame Jo Williams has not yet accepted the post.

    Dame Jo Williams was the chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) until 2012. During her tenure there were well-publicised failings at the CQC. Dame Jo Williams was forced to step down after making public comments on the mental health of a fellow CQC board member who had blown the whistle over Mid Staffs Hospital. A Parliamentary enquiry found that the whistle-blowers allegations were substantially correct.

    Local care quality campaigners have expressed concern that Dame Jo’s appointment could undermine public confidence in the Caring Together programme and discourage future whistle blowers from coming forward.

    Councillor Laura Jeuda said, “I was dismayed to hear of the appointment of Dame Jo Williams. It seems that this appointment has been made without consultation with Cheshire East Council. The Caring Together programme is about working together with all providers of Health and Social Care. This appointment, made without even informing the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, suggests that working together is not happening in Cheshire East.”

    Councillor Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, “The appointment of the Chair of the East Cheshire Caring Together Executive Board has become a matter of concern. Apparently the quality of leadership of the person appointed can be sensibly questioned. It is vital that the Chair of the new board’s record is above reproach in relation to protecting the quality of care for vulnerable people in Cheshire East.”

    For further information please contact:
    Media Relations Officer: Sam Corcoran
    Direct line: 01270 753038
    Mobile: 07960 248553

    I understand that following the release of the above press release, Dame Jo Williams will not be taking up the appointment.

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