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RCN to launch review of how it is governed, after members’ vote

Two resolutions passed at extraordinary general meeting over disrupted presidential election

Two resolutions passed at extraordinary general meeting over disrupted presidential election

RCN members have voted in favour of an in-depth review of the way the college is governed, at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held online.

Members also passed a resolution at todays meeting that will enable current RCN president Anne Marie Rafferty s term in office to be extended by up to six months, due to exceptional circumstances.

Petition followed disqualification of two candidates

The EGM was convened by the RCNs ruling council following concerns about the disqualification of two candidates in the colleges presidential election campaign this year.

Two resolutions passed at extraordinary general meeting over disrupted presidential election

RCN headquarters in Cavendish Square, London
An independent review commissioned by the RCN concluded that the college’s election rules should be updated

RCN members have voted in favour of an in-depth review of the way the college is governed, at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held online.

Members also passed a resolution at today’s meeting that will enable current RCN president Anne Marie Rafferty’s term in office to be extended by up to six months, due to ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Petition followed disqualification of two candidates

The EGM was convened by the RCN’s ruling council following concerns about the disqualification of two candidates in the college’s presidential election campaign this year.

A petition backed by more than 1,000 RCN members called for a comprehensive review of governance after incumbent Professor Rafferty and mental health nurse Stuart McKenzie were barred from running for breaching election rules.

Of the RCN members who voted on a resolution calling for the review, just under 79% (508) voted in favour, while about 21% (136) voted against.

The result means the RCN will now embark on a review of its governance.

This will include an examination of the RCN charter and standing orders, the role and structure of the college’s council and committees, and the role of the general secretary.

It will be overseen by RCN council, but council chair Dave Dawes confirmed that an independent, external organisation would be commissioned to do the work.

RCN president Anne Marie Rafferty
Current president Anne Marie Rafferty Picture: RCN

A statement from the petitioners said the vote ‘gives council the mandate to address the issues that led to a failed presidential election this year’.

President’s term can be extended in exceptional circumstances

RCN members also voted to allow the usual two-year term of office for the RCN president to be extended by up to six months in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Of those who voted, just over 88% (576) were in favour.

This follows an independent review of the RCN presidential election by barrister Simon Cheetham QC, which concluded that the college’s election rules should be updated.

Professor Rafferty’s term in office was due to end on January 1, but will now continue into 2021.

Mr Dawes said the EGM was about ‘listening to, and hearing, members’.

‘What is clear is that ultimately everyone is on the same page. We all care about the RCN. We want it to be better,’ he said.


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