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Two and a half weeks to nominate new RCN council members

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The Royal College of Nursing has issued details of the timetable and procedure for elections to its governing council, in the wake of the vote of no confidence in the present incumbents.

Nominations for the 12 posts open today and close on 25 October for terms of office lasting until 31 December 2019.

Last Thursday, the college announced that 12 council members out of 17 would be standing down at the end of December.

The departure of most of the current council follows the no confidence vote passed at an extraordinary general meeting of members, which was held in Birmingham on 28 September.

A significant 78% of RCN members who took part in the ballot voted in favour of the motion. However, just 3% of the RCN membership voted, either by proxy or in person at the EGM.

The EGM was called following a petition by more than 1,000 RCN members to discuss the college’s communications and processes surrounding the pay deal, which the majority voted to accept earlier this year.

As previously reported, angry members felt “misled” after many received much less in their pay packets than they were expecting.

The RCN said today that the names of candidates nominated to join the council would be published on 30 October.

The voting period would then run from 21 November and 11 December 2018, with the new council taking up office on 1 January 2019.

Under Trade Union legislation, the elections must be conducted by postal ballot. The posts are technically termed “casual vacancies” as they have resulted from council members stepping down part-way through their periods of office.

The 12 council posts to be elected comprise one each from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, eight from the English regions – East Midlands, London, Northern, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber – and the health practitioner representative.

However, five members of the 17-strong council will not be included in the process, either due to their terms ending before the end of the year or due to special circumstances around their position.

For example, the terms of office for the president, deputy president and student council member all come to an end on 21 December 2018.

Also not included is the newly-elected council member for the Eastern region, who is yet to take up office, and the chair of congress – a non-voting position – who joined council in August 2018.

Members wishing to stand for election to the country and regional seats need to be nominated by two members in the nurse category of RCN membership, said the college.

In addition, it highlighted that those wishing to stand for the health practitioner post must be nominated by two members in the health practitioner category of membership.

Candidates for election are asked to provide statements on their skills and experience relevant to the role, and on why members should elect them.

All members in the nurse category of RCN membership are eligible to vote for the country and regional seats, and all members in the health practitioner category of membership can vote for the health practitioner seat.

As previously reported, the college also commissioned an independent review into its handling of the pay 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.


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