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Dame Jo Williams was Mencap’s chief executive from 2003 to 2008 – her first role in the voluntary sector.
She has spent her career until then in the public sector, becoming a social worker at Shropshire County Council in 1971. She moved to Cheshire County Council in 1973 and spent the next 19 years in a variety of operational roles, before leaving to join Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council as director of social services in 1992. Five years later, she took up the equivalent role back at Cheshire County Council and remained there until joining Mencap in March 2003.
Williams was president of the Association of Directors of Social Services during 1999 and 2000, and a major contributor to the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services.
As an advocate for partnership working across different agencies and someone who is passionate about involving service users, she has served on several government taskforces. She is a trustee of the EveryChild Board, and chair of the Research in Practice Partnership Board.
She is currently a member of the National Learning Disability Taskforce and co-chaired the Third Sector Taskforce with health minister Ivan Lewis.
She received a Damehood in the 2007 New Year Honours for services to learning disability. She was a Charity Awards judge from 2007 to 2009.
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