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Update on the Kennedy governance recommendations

31 Aug 2022

A number of the Kennedy recommendations relate to governance of the College. The recommendations included:

  • Committing to a reinvigorated and representative Council with space for specialties and those at different points in their careers (including trainee representatives with voting rights).
  • Ensuring the mandate and expectations of all those sitting on Council is clear and that a charter or behavioural code is adopted that prioritises purpose, inclusion and belonging.
  • Reviewing the election mechanism for the President role. Council should elect a ‘slate’ of candidates (from the existing Council membership), which should then be put to the wider College membership for election of a President.
  • Setting the expectation that there will be at least one woman acting as Vice-President in the future.
  • Making the Chair of Women in Surgery a voting member of Council.

In May, as a start, a discussion and initial vote was held at Council, surrounding some of the recommendations and next steps.

Professor Neil Mortensen, RCS England President, said:

‘A lengthy and nuanced debate took place about the complexities of governance, and the multiple ways of achieving our aim of a diverse and representative College leadership.

An initial vote took place relating to the election mechanism for President and Vice-President and at this time Council voted narrowly not to make any changes.

Whilst there was no disagreement about our goal of a more diverse and representative College leadership, it was felt that we firstly need to give more consideration to some of the other issues highlighted by Kennedy about the wider composition of Council, including reviewing representation from the specialties, trainees and regions.

There is a great amount of work to do surrounding governance and the discussion in May was the first time Council had met to begin to talk through the issues.

RCS England is wholeheartedly committed to considering all of the Kennedy recommendations. We acknowledged when we set out on this journey that it was not going to be one without its challenges, and it is of the utmost importance that we remain open and honest along the way. Council will continue the discussions over the course of the autumn and we currently remain on track to make the changes within the timeline suggested. This is just the beginning of the debate, not the end of it.’

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