Members pass a 'vote of no confidence' in the RCN

The motion called for the current RCN leadership and council to stand down.

Royal College of Nursing members have voted to pass a 'vote of no confidence' in the union.

During an Extraordinary General Meeting in Birmingham today, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members passed a vote of no confidence following accusations the union "misrepresented" the NHS pay deal to its members in England.

The EGM was called after a petition signed by more than 1,000 RCN members calling for a vote of no confidence was submitted to the council earlier this year.


The Results

The motion read; "We have no confidence in the current leadership of the RCN and call on council to stand down."

A total of 15,392 votes were cast. 11,156 voted to support the motion. 3,124 voted to reject the motion. 1,112 abstained.

The resolution passed with a majority of 78.1%. 

A change in leadership.

In July, Janet Davies has announced she would be resigning from her position as Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), effective at the end of August amid the concerns over the NHS pay deal.

An urgent council meeting has now been scheduled for next week and the College is will consider the steps to be taken as the Council enters a period of transition.

Leaders did not 'fully understand' the pay deal.

An external review was commissioned following complaints from members that they did not receive the deal that was advertised during the consultation period.

The full 13-page report published yesterday revealed significant failings within the union which led to key decision makers being unable to fully understand the proposed deal despite recommending its acceptance to members.

The report highlighted a significant 'pro-deal bias', that alternative options to simply recommending members accepted the pay deal were not adequately explored and the deal was presented in a way many could not understand.

Mistakes will never be repeated.

Maria Trewern, Chair of the RCN Council, said in her opening speech; "I am not here today to make excuses. Leadership for me is about taking responsibility, and that is what I, and we the council, have done."

"You, the members, are right to hold the College to account for the way it handled the communications around the pay deal in England and how your concerns were dealt with. I really hope by the time we have concluded our debate today we will be able to find some common understanding."

"When dealing with the pay deal, the organisation did make mistakes and did not listen well enough to the issues raised by members. For this you are owed an apology – and on behalf of the College, I am truely sorry for what happened. 

"Once the extent of the failings became clear. It was your elected Council that moved straight in to take action. It was Council who demanded the independent review that we now have." 

"let’s look at what that review tells us: the RCN failed to spot mistakes, failed to acknowledge initially that there had been mistakes made in communications, did not recognise the issues raised directly by the members during the consultation, and failed to deal with those genuine concerns adequately.

"This should not have happened - colleagues, you deserve better, and this Council will make sure they are never repeated."

The college will emerge stronger.

Commenting on the meeting and outcome of the vote, Maria Trewern added: “Today’s honest and open debate in Birmingham has cleared the air and the College will emerge stronger as a result. 

“This vote is clear and the Council and management of the RCN have received the message.  Council has already driven change within the organisation in recent weeks – to listen more closely to members and involve them thoroughly – and this will continue. 

“Following today’s vote, the Council now enters a period of transition.  An urgent Council meeting is convened for next week to plan the way forward and those next steps will be announced."