RCN council chair steps aside following complaints and pending independent investigation

The news comes amid a turbulent year for the College with numerous respected nursing leaders stepping away.

James McKay
13 July 2021
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The union has said it will commission an independent investigation.

The Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) chair of council is to step aside pending an independent investigation into conduct.


Several senior sources within the College confirmed the news to NursingNotes ahead of the formal announcement to members.

The announcement comes following the resignation of numerous respected nursing leaders from the College over the past twelve months.

Dame Donna Kinnair and Dr Joan Myers were the latest in the flurry of resignations earlier this month sparking suggestions of the “silencing of women” and “male fragility” from within the union.


An email sent to members today reads; “In the past week, the RCN has received complaints about the conduct of the Chair of Council.


“We take any such complaint extremely seriously and have a robust member resolution policy which allows for independent investigations to be carried out.

“An investigation will now take place and Dave Dawes has announced that he will voluntarily step down from his role as Chair of RCN Council.

“Our current Vice Chair, Carol Popplestone, who was elected last year, will act into the role with immediate effect. Dave Dawes will remain as Council member for the North West region.”

No information has been provided by the College on the topic of the complaints.


Fair and transparent.

Council member Dave Dawes told NursingNotes; “I am aware that a number of complaints have come in about me from staff and from external stakeholders.

“I feel that these complaints should be independently investigated in line with the member resolution policy and that I should step aside as Chair until the resolution process is complete. This will be with immediate effect. I am optimistic about the outcome of the investigation and as a longstanding advocate and representative of our members,

“I am committed to ensuring that the RCN’s own processes are seen to be both fair and transparent.

“Carol is a very steady pair of hands and her experience will be invaluable to Council and all members at this time. She is a straight-talking defender of members interests and she will hit the ground-running.”

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