Proposals to allow the Royal College of Nursing council to raise subscription fees by 2% above the consumer price index measure of inflation have failed to secure enough support from members.
The special resolution, proposed at the RCN’s annual general meeting yesterday, won 56.6% of the vote, short of the two-thirds majority needed for it to be carried.
It had been proposed that the RCN members would review the arrangement every five years if the measure had been adopted.
Outgoing chair Sandra James had argued that the resolution would enable the college to plan its finances over periods of several years, within the CPI plus 2% cap. She said: “It will allow us to continue to act as a financially sound organisation…. being able to plan finances with certainty is crucial for the stability of the RCN.”
The college’s annual report and accounts, also published yesterday, showed that income from subscriptions increased by £2.1m in 2010-11, due to an increase in subscription rates from January 2011 and growth in membership, up 1.3% during the year.
The report said the RCN Group’s net assets – which include those of the RCN Foundation – stood at £58.8m, including £25.3m of charitable funds.
The group’s pension deficit was down from £30.2m to £17.2m. The RCN also reported a net surplus before tax of £8m, compared with £2.6m the year before.
Last year a proposal to allow the council to raise subscription rates by up to 2% above the retail price index inflation measure – generally higher and more volatile than the CPI – failed after securing 66.1% of the membership vote.
At yesterday’s AGM, the RCN also approved a change to its constitution, adopting a “winding up clause” by 27,760 votes to 439. The resolution amends the college’s charter to ensure that “any surplus in the event of the RCN being wound up is distributed among the members of the college”.
The proposal will have to be approved by the Queen, advised by the Privy Council, before it can be adopted.