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Independent review into the culture of the RCN

As part of a commitment to change in the RCN, Council appointed Bruce Carr KC to carry out an independent review into the culture of the organisation.

Elected members on RCN Council, working with the staff team, were determined to confront the biggest challenges facing the College. 

Changing the culture of an organisation is key to long-lasting and meaningful transformation. Recommendations were sought from a wide-ranging and external review, which aimed to thoroughly scrutinise the College’s:

  • decision-making and accountability;
  • financial management;
  • equality and inclusion;
  • management of departure of staff and elected members;
  • allegations of sexual harassment;
  • roles and responsibilities of staff and elected members.

The RCN is determined to deliver fundamental change for its members and staff, to make them proud of the College that acts in their name. This work will make the RCN a safer and more inclusive place for many years to come.

Bruce Carr KC’s independent review into the culture of the Royal College of Nursing is now available to members.

On Tuesday 11 October 2022 at 6.30pm, RCN members were invited to a virtual Q&A session with General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen and Dr Denise Chaffer, then RCN President.

Pat and Denise talked through the findings of the report, explained how recommendations would be taken forward and took initial questions and reflections from members.

We will publish updates on the work being carried out to address the recommendations in the report. Members wishing to receive notifications via email of these updates can sign-up here.

RCN Council called an extraordinary General Meeting of members on Tuesday 29 November.

An independent and confidential help and support line is available to any members or staff who have been affected by issues related to the Carr Review:

Confidential help and support line: 0800 783 1157

The line is open every day of the week, 24 hours a day. This line is being managed by the Validium Group, which is highly regarded and experienced in support line provision, with strict policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality.

Should any member wish to report anything of concern they have experienced whilst engaged in RCN activities or events, they may still do so:

Reporting line: 0800 028 2511 

Calls are handled by Safecall which specialises in helping organisations establish safe and confidential reporting systems.

Our work as a College is focused on empowering and supporting our members. To act in their best interests, we must also ensure that our own house is in order. This review is part of our commitment to bring about a real shift in culture through confident, strong and modern leadership.

The review will scrutinise the College’s  

  • decision-making and accountability; 
  • financial management; 
  • equality and inclusion; 
  • management of departure of staff and elected members;
  • allegations of sexual harassment; 
  • roles and responsibilities of staff and elected members.  

The culture of this organisation must be open, safe and inclusive; and to ensure robust corporate governance, we must adhere to the highest standards. Now is the time to thoroughly examine how our structures can set us up for success in the future and match our ambitions for nursing, nationally and internationally.

Bruce Carr KC has a long career history and is highly respected in the field of employment law and expertise in relation to trade unions. He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2019. He has not conducted work previously with the College and was instructed directly and independently by the RCN’s Joint Head of Legal Services.

Under the terms listed above, the expert review will scrutinise the culture of the College. We welcome all contributions to ensure that the review is informed by the greatest amount of evidence and different perspectives, truly reflective of the membership.

Absolutely not. The fight for fair pay and safe staffing are the highest priorities of the College, and that work will continue with the same level of attention and resource as to date.

If necessary, and if a criminal act is identified, it may be reported to the police.

If necessary, and if a breach of the Code is identified, it may be reported to the NMC.

The reviews complement each other but are distinctly different. The governance review will mainly focus on the policies and rules that form part of the RCN’s governance framework within the context of the organisation’s Royal Charter. The Carr review will mainly focus on people, their practice, and how that has an impact on decision making within the organisation.