The council of the Royal College of Nursing will officially stand down at the end of this year following a vote of no confidence by members, it has been confirmed.
Formal election processes for new council members will start next week and will they take up office on 1 January 2019.
“The last two months have been some of the most challenging in the organisation’s history”
While the vote was described as “advisory” by the RCN, the college said it recognised the “moral weight” of the result and has agreed to honour it.
The current council will remain in position until 31 December to “provide and effective transition for the college”, the RCN added.
Dame Donna Kinnair, acting chief executive and general secretary of the college, said: “The last two months have been some of the most challenging in the organisation’s history.
“Our elected council members have taken a difficult decision and have shown great personal integrity,” she said.
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Dame Donna commended outgoing council chair Maria Trewern for her “loyal service”.
She added: “The college is already changing to ensure it engages the full breadth of its membership.
“A new elected council and a permanent chief executive and general secretary will bring that fresh perspective and energy,” she noted.
The RCN confirmed a detailed timetable for the election process would be announced next week.
Dame Donna Kinnair
Five of the 17 current council members will not be standing down, including the president, deputy president, and student council member, whose terms come to an end on 21 December 2018.
The newly elected council member for the eastern region will remain because they are yet to take up office.
The chair of congress, which is a non-voting position and who joined the council in August 2018, will also remain in post.
The no confidence motion was supported by 78% of members who voted. However, less than 4% of the RCN membership took part in the ballot.
The results were revealed during an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held in Birmingham last Friday.
The EGM was called following a petition by more than 1,000 RCN members to discuss the college’s communications and processes surrounding the 2018 NHS pay deal, which was accepted this summer.
The RCN faced backlash from members after they opened their July pay packets because many received much less than they were expecting.
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The college commissioned an independent review into its handling of the deal, which found leaders did not fully understand the offer and therefore issued incorrect information to members.
The RCN said the results of the review were also a factor in the council’s decision to stand down.
The controversy has also led to the resignation of college’s former chief executive and general secretary, Janet Davies, and director of member relations, Chris Cox.