Our structure

Legal structure

The Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom was established in 1916 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1928. Since 1977 the RCN has also been registered as a trade union under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Visit the constitutional documents page to read the RCN's Royal Charter and standing orders.

The RCN has one subsidiary company:

From 1 April 2010 the RCN ceased to be a charity and the independent RCN Foundation charity was established.

Governance structure

RCN Council is responsible for the overall governance of the RCN and policy making on behalf of members. This representative body of elected members works with a number of other committees in order to:

Visit the Council, committees and boards page for more information on these groups, how they work and their current priorities.

The Legal & Governance Review is an on-going project looking at the governance and legal structure of the RCN.

Executive team and departments

Like all organisations, the RCN has many departments to carry out our work to support members and to make sure that work is carried out efficiently and correctly. Find out more about the departments that work most closely with members by clicking on their names below:

The RCN around the UK

The RCN has offices in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and nine England regions. These offices support the activities of local RCN branches, as well as learning representatives, stewards and safety representatives in their area:

RCN headquarters

The RCN is based in 20 Cavendish Square in London. Find out how to get to headquarters.

A project to redesign the headquarters building, including transforming the library, began in 2011. Find out more on the HQ replan page.