Council Hustings Graeme Stokes

 Graeme Stokes 20 Nov 2018

South East Council hustings - candidate statement from Graeme Stokes

Colleagues, as I am currently in the middle of a few night shifts I was unable to attend the South East hustings event at HQ yesterday. I have not watched it as yet as I believe it is only fair I answer the questions in my own way. I have also included some questions that were given to me via social media.
I would like to also take this opportunity to wish my colleagues that are also in the election the best of luck.
What top two changes will you prioritise to improve each of the following areas:

Transparency to members
Listening to members
Regarding transparency and listening to members it is my intention to build better communication standards between councillors and branches. Having been the Chair of Brighton and Hove branch for 14 months it is apparent I have received no communication whatsoever from our regional representative and that is unacceptable. I have a plan in place ready to be implemented if I am elected, I will contact every branch monthly and also provide my personal contact details to every branch so that they can contact me, each receiving an answer within five business days.
From a transparency point of view I’m simply of the opinion that if there is nothing to hide then there are no reasons why all members cannot be made aware of what is happening at council level.
What (if anything) will you change about the number of council members, the terms they serve and their re-election timings to address the problems introduced in the 2018 council restructure?
With regards to the structure of the council, it is such a vitally important position that regional council representatives should have a deputy to enable them to have a representative at all meetings.
What are your aims regarding an elected general secretary?
My aims regarding an elected general secretary are that they have to have the ability to listen and be aware of what is happening on the frontline, they have to be prepared to be accountable for the actions of council. They also have to be more accessible to the members and provide clear, concise and honest communications.
How are you going to encourage more nurses to engage in the RCN, both at branch level and overall?
We need to look at where member’s money is being allocated. In my opinion there is far too much money wasted on fancy stationary and unnecessary communications. Money needs allocating to a new set up for branch activists to be assisted in getting more inactive members involved.
The Electoral Reform Service reports that inaccurate information was presented to RCN members during the communication campaign of the recent NHS pay deal; a vote of no confidence in the current Council’s leadership during negotiations has been passed. Do you support or reject a re-opening of the NHS Pay deal to achieve a better outcome for rank-and-file membership and why?
I am in total support in the reopening of the pay deal. The whole situation has reminded me of the failed bursary or bust campaign. There was no business plan in place. We unfortunately for both campaigns did not have the right business acumen to broker a satisfactory outcome for all parties. The unions did not come together for the pay deal, they did not use their membership power and literally rolled over and had their tummy tickled by the government.

As a South East Region Council candidate will you be solely representative of the South East Region or are you aligned to other candidates from other Regions and Countries?

My position would be to represent the South East and take to the table the requests, ideas and thoughts to the table. I would gladly work with colleagues from any region but the best interests of the South East would come first as that who I will be representing. One thing I would definitely do is if I see or hear of something that is working well in another region that would be beneficial to the South East then I would propose it and if successful have it implemented.

Are you associated to any another candidates who have applied to be on council (either within this region or from another Region/country)?
It depends what you mean by associated, I’ve met many people at congress over the years. However, I’m my own person and don’t take influence from others that may end up clouding my own judgement. I am apolitical and have no affiliation with any political party.
Communication will be key to moving forward within The RCN. The Member Communication Centre has been up and running for nearly two years, giving Branch Execs access to their membership details. Communication to members is still one way. How will you as the South East Council member work with members and staff to enhance the existing system to improve this?
First of all every South East member will be given my own personal email address. Secondly as I mentioned previously the branches will receive a monthly email/letter from myself and I would make more use of social media. Such things as facebook live video discuss.

When were you last active (rep,branch,board,council, forums etc) in the RCN?
Since starting my nurse training I have been active. I was the South East student representative, then an SIO and I’m currently in my second year as Chair of Brighton and Hove branch.
What do you see the benefits to be of the RCN being both a trade union and professional body?
It is what makes us unique; I believe it is now the identity of the RCN. However, I also believe that there is so much more that could be done as a professional body.
How will you encourage the members to become our much needed Reps, particularly Stewards?

It needs to be made more attractive, for starters I would recommend all reps are given free membership whilst in the position.
How do they see the RCN engaging better with members in the private sector?
Members in the private sector such as nursing homes need to be made to feel more involved. A direct letter inviting them to branch meetings may be beneficial, encouraging them to attend.
How do you plan to communicate and engage more effectively with the members, {communicating also means listening}?

I’m an open book and apart from when I am working I am fortunate enough to have a lot of spare time. I want to engage with colleagues not only with what I would have to tell them but also to listen to members as this is my opportunity to be their voice.
Do they believe that Branches have a role to play and how will they support our Branches?
Branches have a massive part to play, they are integral in the communication from the frontline of healthcare right up to the General Secretary and President. However, currently they are not being utilised to maximum effectiveness and it is my intention to change this.
What are my goals as a council member?

·         Communication Standards
·         Recruitment of activists
·         Student bursaries
·         A fair pay deal for all
What will you do to ensure you, the council and the RCN listen to members and demonstrate this is occurring?
·         Again a change in communication.
·         TOTAL transparency will demonstrate what is occurring.
How to make a meeting transparent?
·         Minutes of all meetings to be distributed electronically.
·         Recorded meetings to be made available to members on the RCN website, as mentioned a councillor should not hear something that a member cannot.

To vote for me will give you a representative that is honest, open and transparent and will battle for what you the member wants.
Thank you
Graeme Stokes

Graeme Stokes

Graeme Stokes

South East Council Candidate

Graeme is standing for the South East Council seat in the current round of elections,

Page last updated - 03/12/2018