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Candidates announced for 2021 RCN presidential election

Voting to take place via postal ballot and greater social media use permitted in campaigning

Amended campaigning guidelines allow for greater use of social media following independent review into 2020 election

Candidates for the RCN presidential election have been announced, with voting due to take place via postal ballot between 13 May and 14 June.

The three candidates for president are Denise Chaffer, Rod Thomson and Maria Trewern. An online hustings will take place on Thursday 13 May and the successful candidate will be announced on 15 June and take up their post on 1 July.

Presidential role more important than ever, says RCN

RCN chair of council Dave Dawes urged members to vote for their preferred candidate, saying the election

Amended campaigning guidelines allow for greater use of social media following independent review into 2020 election

RCN 2021 presidential candidates (from left to right): Maria Trewern, Rod Thomson and Denise Chaffer
2021 RCN presidential candidates (from left to right): Maria Trewern, Rod Thomson and Denise Chaffer

Candidates for the RCN presidential election have been announced, with voting due to take place via postal ballot between 13 May and 14 June.

The three candidates for president are Denise Chaffer, Rod Thomson and Maria Trewern. An online hustings will take place on Thursday 13 May and the successful candidate will be announced on 15 June and take up their post on 1 July.

Presidential role ‘more important than ever’, says RCN

RCN chair of council Dave Dawes urged members to vote for their preferred candidate, saying the election comes at a crucial time for the college.

‘They are ambassadors not just for the RCN, but for the whole nursing profession in the UK and around the world. As we continue to push for safe staffing and improved pay while supporting members throughout the pandemic, this role is more important than ever,’ he said.

Voting for the election was suspended in August 2020 after two candidates were disqualified from running.

The RCN’s then returning officer, who was responsible for managing elections, said the pair had broken a rule prohibiting the use of RCN resources – namely its social media platforms.

Independent review found no candidate sought unfair advantage

But an independent review by barrister Simon Cheetham QC, commissioned by the RCN’s ruling council, found no candidate had sought unfair advantage. It also found the returning officer had acted within the rules.

The college has since adopted many of the recommendations of the independent review into the 2020 election, including allowing greater use of social media and delegating the returning officer’s responsibilities to an independent scrutineer.

None of the candidates in the 2020 presidential election have returned to the ballot.


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