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How the RCN is governed

The Council, boards, committees and groups that make up the RCN governance structure

The RCN takes good governance and representing members in its governance processes seriously. Use this section to find information about how the RCN is governed.

Our Council, committees and boards:

  • set strategy and direction in line with our overall purpose
  • ensure accountability to our members by monitoring performance and ensuring effective compliance controls are in place
  • ensure that we adhere to our Royal Charter, Standing Orders, regulations and policies.

Our representative committees put forward the views of members and represent their interests. Council consults with and listens to the representative committees before taking decisions.

RCN Congress also plays an important role in representing the views of members and influencing the direction of Council.

This chart shows our decision-making structure and the accountability and reporting lines for the three organisations which make up the RCN Group.

The RCN Foundation is an independent registered charity and its board of trustees is legally accountable to the Charity Commission for the overall running of the organisation. RCNi is the brand name of RCN Publishing Company Ltd. It is a wholly owned, but independently run, subsidiary of the Royal College of Nursing. Its board of directors is legally accountable for ensuring that the company meets its statutory obligations and to the RCN Council for the management of the business.

The RCN is set up by Royal Charter and is both a Royal College and a Special Register Trade Union. This chart shows the decision-making structure of the RCN and how its members set the strategy and direction of the RCN, in line with our purpose.


Providing leadership and direction for the RCN. Read the latest report from Council here. 


Working with Council to ensure good governance of the RCN.



Ensuring good governance in the countries and regions.


Governance Review 2021/22

Find out more about the Governance Review 2021/22, including information on the next steps.

Presidential elections 2020 independent investigation

Find out more about the independent investigation in to the 2020 RCN presidential elections commissioned by RCN Council.

RCN Council key meeting dates 2023

Find out when RCN Council, Boards and Committees are meeting in 2023.

RCN elections and appointments

Put yourself forward as a candidate for RCN Council or an RCN committee or board.