RCN accused of trying to “manipulate” impending vote of no confidence

A letter has led to accusations that the college is attempting to “manipulate” or “subvert” the impending vote of no confidence.

Ian Snug
12 September 2018
Voting hand detail

Royal College of Nursing members have expressed further anger over a letter calling for support in the unions’ leadership.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members have today expressed further anger at the union following an email, penned by a senior RCN official and sent to a select number of members, calls on them to “come out in support of the RCN’s leadership”.


The letter has led to accusations that the college is attempting to “manipulate” or “subvert” the impending vote of no confidence.

The Letter.

The letter reads; “The College has admitted, and it has been confirmed by an independent external review, that it made some mistakes in its processes around the 2018 Pay Deal and its communications.

As soon as these errors were discovered, the RCN Council quickly took all proper steps to investigate and rectify the situation: by issuing an apology, commissioning an independent external review, and by Janet Davies agreeing to leave her post as Chief Executive & General Secretary.

We need to have an informed discussion and response, which we hope to take place at the upcoming EGM. We want your support to change the college for the better – and we have taken, and are taking steps to achieve this.


Some divisions within the membership want to effect more radical change without this measured process. And have petitioned a vote of no confidence in the current Council.

This is a potentially dangerous time for the College with this small group of members putting at risk what has always been a proudly non-party-political organisation, acting on behalf of, and representing members whatever their opinions or background.

If the Council does not deliver the required change that it has signalled, they can and will be replaced by Council Members who can deliver that change at the regular leadership elections that exist for this very purpose.

I am asking that you come out in support of the RCN’s leadership, which in my view has taken all the correct actions.”


Extraordinary General Meeting.

A vote of confidence vote in the Royal College of Nursing leadership is set to be held during an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 28 September, at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The EGM was triggered following a petition by 1000 members following accusations the union “mislead” it’s members over the NHS pay deal.

Members who are unable to attend can vote via proxy.

Fresh leadership is needed.

Grant Byrne, a student nurse, told the NursingTimes; “Any attempt by the leadership of the RCN to manipulate the EGM vote must be fought.

“[The] irony of this being that a big factor in the EGM was the leadership telling people how to vote the last time,” he said. Adding; “[It] highlights why fresh leadership is needed – lessons clearly haven’t been learned.”


The Royal College of Nursing confirmed the letter had been ‘publicly sent to the relevant members’.

Maria Trewern, RCN Chair of Council, said: “The debate about the direction of the College needs to be full and frank, and nobody should fear that. Council members are elected by the members in their constituencies to represent them, and it is absolutely right that they should hear from us regarding what we firmly believe to be in their best interests. We will be putting our case forward over the next two weeks and showing the clear and decisive action the College has taken and is taking.”

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