Today (27 November), more than 500 RCN members joined the online General Meeting to discuss issues raised following the RCN presidential elections in August.
The meeting saw members vote on two resolutions.
The first, requiring a two-thirds majority, sought to enable RCN Council to make an addition to standing order 12.1 to extend the two-year term of office for the RCN president for up to six months. It was passed with 88.6% of members voting in favour, and RCN Council have approved this addition.
The second resolution called for a comprehensive review of the governance of the RCN, to be led by RCN Council, and was also passed with 78.9% of members voting in favour. This required a simple majority.
Members at the meeting heard the position of the petitioners who called for it, represented by Linda Bailey and Michael Brown.
At the meeting, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair, said: “Meetings like this force us all to take stock, reflect on the issues facing our nursing profession and assess how effectively we are rising to the many challenges we face together, as this is our union and professional body.”
A discussion about the 2020 RCN presidential elections and the issues related to it ensued, with members able to ask questions. More than 600 comments and questions were received.
The questions – unmoderated and taken in the order they were received – covered the powers of the returning officer, how much money has been spent on governance reviews previously and what has been done to revise the RCN’s election policy.
Chair of RCN Council Dave Dawes also apologised to all four of the candidates in the presidential election. He said: "I don’t think the candidates were treated well by the RCN's processes and I believe they suffered emotional upset and reputational damage as a result. We are sorry for this and I am deeply sorry for the hurt that these failings caused. The failings in this election process should not be seen as any stain on any of the four candidates.”
There were technical issues with the chairing of the questions but written responses to the main themes will be made available within the next few weeks. A recording of the meeting will be posted behind the member login of the RCN website shortly.
Reflecting on the meeting outcome, Dave added: “Today saw robust debate about how to improve the governance of our organisation. What is clear is that ultimately, everyone is on the same page. We all care about the RCN. We want it to be better. We want it to be stronger. We want it to be an organisation that we are proud of. Proud of what it does and proud of the way it does it. Today has been about listening to, and hearing, members.”
More information about the comprehensive review of governance, including timelines for delivery, will be discussed at the next meeting of Council in the new year.