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CQC chair steps down

CQC chair Dame Jo Williams has announced she is stepping down from her role as head of the regulator. 

Dame Jo, who was due to appear before the House of Commons health select committee as part of the CQC's annual accountability hearing on Tuesday, said she believed it was time to ‘step aside'.

In a statement released today, Dame Jo said: ‘It has been a privilege to hold this important role but I now believe it is time to step aside and for a new chair to lead CQC into the next stage.

‘Having served on the Board of the CQC for almost four years and as chair for nearly three, I am proud of the progress we have made.

‘I am delighted that that I have been able to appoint David Behan as CQC's new Chief Executive - I am confident that he will continue to build on the progress that we have made in promoting and protecting the health and safety of people who use services.'

The former chief executive of Mencap had been under pressure in the role since it emerged last month that she asked the then health secretary Andrew Lansley to remove non-executive director and ‘whistleblower' Kay Sheldon from the CQC board.

This came after Ms Sheldon had told an inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital in November of a 'bullying culture' at the CQC, including claims that the board had been 'sidelined' after she had raised concerns about the commission's leadership. 

The CQC said Dame Jo would remain in the post until a successor is appointed.