The Health Committee has given its seal of approval to the government’s proposal to appoint Dame Jo Williams as the new chair of the Care Quality Commission.
Dame Jo is currently interim chair of the regulator since Baroness Young's sudden exit in December last year, and in her evidence submitted for the candidate suitability process she outlined a number of priority challenges facing the Commission, which were in line with the Committee’s views.
A large portion of these issues relate to the seamless integration of the three pre-existing separate bodies - the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the Mental Health Act Commission - into a unified CQC, which also throws up a number of linked challenges, such as instilling a common ‘CQC culture’ across the different fields of responsibility, the Committee noted.
The challenging nature of the reorganisation process and the need to ensure continuity is a specific reason for the Committee’s support of Dame Jo’s candidacy, it explained.
Elsewhere, the Committee welcomed Dame Jo’s focus on improving the quality and accessibility of information from the CQC to both the public and commissioners and providers of care, on which a consultation is currently underway with a view to implementing a new system next year.
Stressing the importance of the CQC’s work and the breadth of its agenda, the Committee also announced that it is proposing to carry out an annual review of the Commission’s work, to ensure it remains on track in securing high standards of care.
Dame Jo also sits on the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support. From 2003 to 2008 she was Chief Executive of Mencap, in 2009 she was appointed as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire County Council, and she has also held/holds a number of other positions, including Chair of the Prison Reform Trust and Non-Executive Director of the Department of Communities and Local Government.