RCN needs to improve its ‘culture, accountability and member engagement’, finds review

The RCN has said it accepts all the recommendations “in principle.”

Matt Bodell
12 June 2020
RCN Voice of Nursing

The review was called after the College miscommunicated aspects of the 2018 NHS pay deal.

The Royal College of Nursing needs to improve its culture, accountability, and improve member engagement, finds an independent external review.


Undertaken by the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS), members called for a review of the unions’ processes review after the RCN was alledged to have miscommunicated aspects of the 2018 NHS pay deal.

Following its review, the CfPS produced a 22-page report which included a series of recommendations designed to “help the RCN to continue to further improve and develop its governance”.

Identified by the CfPS, areas requiring urgent improvement are accountability, being truly member-led alongside member participation, and the culture of the organisation.

The report concluded that “the most impact on the RCN’s governance will come from having a shared vision and goals, a change in culture and behaviours and clarity of accountability.”


Adding; “These are critical to supporting wider ownership of governance, empowerment of others and creating more trusted, open decision-making.”

Striving to improve.

The report reinforced a lack of member engagement with nearly half of members not knowing who their elected Council member was and two just under two-thirds admitting to never voting in elections.

The findings were due to be discussed with members at Congress this year, but the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the meeting taking place.

Dee Sissons, Chair of RCN Council, responding to the report, said: “The review makes an important and independent contribution to the debate on how the RCN will continuously strive to improve the way it works. Our governance structures, people and processes are only correct if they serve members effectively and give them confidence in the organisation. As your Council, we are committed to this work.


“The report identified three major themes: being member-led and member participation, accountability and culture.

“What this means is that this report will help us increase our accountability to you our members; help build trust between members and those who hold delegated authority in their name; and ensure our way of working befits the nursing profession and an organisation with a proud history.

She adds that the College’s ruling Council have “accepted all the recommendations in principle.”

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