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A collage of three members of nursing staff with the text 'lead govern inspire' and the RCN HQ building in the background

RCN Council

The role and function of our highest governing body

As the world’s largest nursing union and professional body, we must be at the top of our game in decision-making. 

Achieving that requires dynamic, experienced nursing leaders who ask the right questions and represent every one of our members, at every career stage.

That's the role of RCN Council, a group of 17 elected members from across the UK.

12 members of RCN Council standing on a staircase

What does Council do?

  • Council represents over half a million members 

    Our Council members work on behalf of every one of our members to guide the world’s largest nursing union and professional body. 

  • Council makes bold, transparent decisions

    Our Council members must be thorough and diligent decision-makers. They're not afraid to get under the skin of the complex political, financial and sectoral issues affecting our College, members and profession. They should be extraordinary nursing professionals who can work as a collective to help us make bold, transparent decisions on behalf of all our members.

  • Council seeks assurances that we'll do what we say we'll do for our members

    Council members should be experienced, dynamic and insightful people who care deeply about our profession, ask robust, thoughtful questions and seek assurances that we’re representing every member at every career stage. They provide rigorous oversight to make sure we operate effectively and meet our legal and statutory requirements.

Who sits on Council?

Our Council is made up of 17 elected members. 14 of these members are elected directly to the role:

1 nurse member is chosen from each of our countries and regions. These Council members collaborate to provide guidance and direction on our vision and strategic aims.  

This Council member is elected by our nursing support worker members. They have a particular focus on ensuring that these members are considered in decision-making, while also working on behalf of all our members. 

This Council member is elected by our student members. They have a particular focus on ensuring that these members are considered in decision-making, while also working on behalf of all our members. 

These 14 members choose 3 Council officers from among themselves. The officer roles are:

The Chair of Council is responsible for leading Council and ensuring that our College and our Executive Team have a clear strategic vision for achieving our objectives and supporting our members.

The Vice Chair of Council supports the Chair in leading Council and deputises for them when appropriate.

The Honorary Treasurer keeps Council updated on all financial matters relating to our College and ensures that Council members are informed about their financial duties. 

The remaining 3 Council members are ex-officio members, meaning they automatically have a place on Council as a result of being elected to another role within our College. These 3 roles are:

Our President embodies the vision and ambition of our College, working closely with our General Secretary and Chief Executive and Chair of Council to lead change.

The Deputy President works with and supports the roles of the President, General Secretary and Chief Executive, as well as the Chair of Council. 

The Chair of Congress convenes our largest and most important agenda-setting event of the year, RCN Congress. They are a non-voting member of Council.

Council elections open soon

RCN governance is evolving. We’re working in new ways to create the modern, respected and respectful Council our members and profession deserve.

We'll soon be inviting extraordinary members to put themselves forward for a seat on Council.

How are Council members elected?

Illustration of two raised hands
Step 1:

Eligible members nominate themselves 

 Members nominate themselves online. Each nominating member needs the support of two other members.

Illustration of a group of people
Step 2:

Candidates are announced

We publish candidates online, so you can learn more about them and decide who to vote for.

Illustration of a voting box
Step 3:

Voting opens

You’ll have around a month to vote for your preferred candidate or candidates. Voting takes place by post.

illustration of a person in a circle with a check mark
Step 4:

Council members are announced 

After voting closes, we inform candidates of the outcome. We then announce the results on our website and in an email to all our members.

Council meetings: Get the inside track

Access the minutes from Council's monthly meetings to see how our Council members make decisions. 

Join the discussion

Our members are invited to submit proposals for discussion at Council's monthly meetings.
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