• Dame Jo Williams to replace Sir David Henshaw at Alder Hey
  • She has been a non-executive director at the trust since 2016, having previously led the CQC
  • Sir Robert Francis QC was highly critical of the CQC under Dame Jo’s chairmanship

A former Care Quality Commission boss has been appointed as chair of Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust.

Dame Jo Williams, who has been a non-executive director at the specialist trust since 2016, will replace Sir David Henshaw, who is stepping down after eight years.

Prior to joining Alder Hey she held several senior roles, including chief executive of Mencap and chair of the CQC. 

She resigned as CQC chair in 2012 after unsuccessfully trying to have a non-executive director, Kay Sheldon, sacked after she gave evidence critical of the CQC’s leadership to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry. The then health secretary Andrew Lansley declined Dame Jo’s request.

She was then forced to apologise about comments she made about Ms Sheldon’s mental health while giving evidence in public to the health select committee. In his final report Sir Robert Francis QC was highly critical of the CQC under Dame Jo’s chairmanship.

In a statement, Louise Shepherd, the trust’s chief executive, said Dame Jo’s role as a non-executive director meant she is already familiar with the trust and its future ambition.

She added: “Dame Jo’s experience within social and mental health means she is the perfect person to steer us towards this ambition.”

Dame Jo said: “I am incredibly proud to take up my new position as chair of Alder Hey and I’m thrilled to join the trust at such an exciting time.”

Sir David said: “I joined the trust at a significant moment in its history as we moved forward with our plans to move to a new hospital, Alder Hey in the Park and establish ourselves as a key player in children’s health both nationally and on a global scale. I feel privileged to have been a part of this journey and I’m honoured to have led such an outstanding organisation for the past eight years.”