Jo Williams’ letter of 25 November 2011 to all CQC staff, about two CQC whistleblowers who were about to give evidence at the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry

Dr Minh Alexander NHS whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist 10 February 2019

On Monday 28 November 2011, two Care Quality Commission (CQC) whistleblowers Kay Sheldon Non Executive Director and Amanda Pollard Senior CQC Inspector gave evidence at the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry on serious concerns about the health and care regulator

These are their witness statements and exhibits, and a transcript of the Inquiry session on 28 November 2011:

Amanda Pollard witness statement and exhibits to Mid Staffs Public Inquiry

Kay Sheldon witness statement and exhibits o Mid Staffs Public Inquiry

Mid Staffs Public Inquiry session 28 November 2011 Transcript

There had been publicity in advance of the hearing:

CQC non-exec to blow the whistle at Mid Staffs inquiry

On the Friday before the two whistleblowers gave their evidence to the Inquiry, Jo Williams CQC Chair sent the following message to all CQC staff, about the damage that might be done to the CQC’s reputation. The letter stated:

“The kind of coverage we may get next week damages our reputation, damages our colleagues and weakens the future of the organisation, which we have all worked tirelessly to build over the last two and half years.

It is not in our interests, nor the public’s whom we seek to serve, to have damaging accusations and personal opinions voiced in the media, because a weaker CQC will find it harder to challenge poor care.”

Jo Williams letter to all CQC staff 25 November 2011

Jo Williams eventually announced her departure  from the CQC in autumn 2012.

She returned to the NHS in November 2016 when she was appointed as a trust Non Executive Director at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust:

Alder Hey Jo Williams biog

Williams was also for a period appointed as a Non Executive Director at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that she had been promoted to Chair of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust:

The Times 1 February 2019: “Disgraced CQC chief Dame Jo Williams given top job at children’s hospital”

The CQC twice inspected Alder Hey after Jo Williams was appointed as a trust NED. On the most recent occasion in 2018, CQC rated the trust as “Good” on the well led domain,  and it commented favourably on the trust’s compliance with Regulation 5, Fit and Proper Persons. This regulation requires that regulated bodies must appoint suitable directors:


Overall trust

Our rating of the trust stayed the same. We rated it as good because:

• We rated well-led as good because the trust had a vision for what it wanted to achieve with plans to turn it into action. Staff throughout the trust were aware of the vision and values. There was an experienced and stable leadership team who were committed to improving services, through learning research and innovation. The trust had made improvements to the fit and proper person process since the last inspection.”




Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation trust has disclosed details of how the great and the good gave references and helped to recycle Jo Williams back into an NHS board position:

Another turn of the Magic Roundabout: Jo Williams’ referees




Liverpool Echo 15 November 2010 “Alder Hey Children’s Hospital boss Richard Glenn quits over David Henshaw appointment”

The unfair sacking of Andrew Smith, NHS whistleblower and trade union representative. A heady cocktail of tainted ingredients. Or how CQC, NHS Improvement & Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust worked together on FPPR.

Sorry is the hardest word: CQC, Paula Vasco-Knight and Regulation 5 Fit and Proper Persons

What could a new whistleblowing law look like? A discussion document







One thought on “Jo Williams’ letter of 25 November 2011 to all CQC staff, about two CQC whistleblowers who were about to give evidence at the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry

  1. Why, particularly in public life, does nothing so succeed as failure?

    My personal observations and conclusions are that, “like attracts like.”

    Having witnessed new recruits arriving – intelligent, observant, full of integrity and determination to work hard – and seen the alarm and panic of the respective managers and then watched the keen recruits slowly but surely broken in order to fit in with their peers or resign, we begin to understand.

    I am sure there are plenty of candidates with outstanding qualities that could fulfil positions of authority and contribute magnificently to our institutions.

    But, they won’t get a snowflake’s chance in hell of doing so.

    My thanks for a sobering post.

    Liked by 1 person

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