The Care Quality Commission has appointed John Harwood as its sixth non-executive board member.

Former civil servant Mr Harwood took up his four year post on 4 March, completing the line up of non-executive board members.

He joins acting chair Dame Jo Williams, Kay Sheldon, Olu Olasode, Professor Deidre Kelly and Martin Marshall.

Mr Harwood spent almost 20 years as chief executive of Lewisham council and Oxfordshire council before moving to central government in 2000 to be the founding chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council.

He has also held the post of interim chief executive of Cumbria council, and spent four years as chief executive of the Food Standards Agency before retiring in 2008.

CQC acting chair Dame Jo Williams said: “I welcome the appointment of John to our six-strong board. He will bring a great deal of knowledge and experience of local government and regulation to this important role and help us to push ahead with the commission’s ambitious programme of work to improve health and social care services.”

Mr Harwood said: “The commission has a vital role to play in improving and maintaining the quality of health and social care across the country.

“I look forward to working with colleagues on the board and in the executive team in facing the challenges ahead over the next few years.”

Mr Harwood’s post runs from 4 March 2010 to 3 March 2014