The Council is the governing body of the NMC. It sets the strategic direction of the organisation, takes key decisions, and holds the Executive to account. The members of the Council are the charity trustees and are collectively responsible for ensuring that the NMC is solvent, well-run and delivers public benefit in line with its strategic and charitable objectives.
The Council is made up of twelve members: six lay people and six professionals on our register, all appointed by the Privy Council. We also have two Associates appointed by the Council through our scheme to provide development opportunities to those with future potential.
More about our current Council members and Associates can be found here. The Chair, Council members and Associates are expected to demonstrate our values and uphold the Council's Code of Conduct based on the Seven Principles of Public Life (the ‘Nolan principles’).
The Chief Executive and Registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe, is accountable to the Council. She is supported by an Executive team which is responsible for the day to day running of the organisation. More information about our Executive team can be found here.
Being a Council member
One of the biggest benefits and rewards of being on the Council is the learning that you gain from the colleagues you work alongside: fellow council members (registrant or lay), executive and governance colleagues all bring knowledge, skills and perspectives to the table which are insightful and valuable.
When I reflect back on my initial motivation to apply, it stemmed from my desire to be part of 'making a difference' to the profession that I am passionate about. How does being on the Council achieve this? By contributing to critical Council discussions and decisions on developing strategies for the future direction of the professions, including approval of the new Standards of Proficiency for the Future Nurse and Future Midwife. It is a true honour and source of pride to be a registrant Council member.
As a nurse working and living in Scotland it’s a privilege to be the member for Scotland and bring my perspective to the Council. It provides a unique opportunity to engage with professional issues at a UK wide level. I regularly share excellent practices we have in education, clinical practice and research in Scotland, as well as informing on national perspectives and health and social care policies. This contributes to shaping the strategic decision making of the NMC as a UK wide regulator.
My working life prior to joining the Council embraced senior roles in finance, higher education and retailing, followed by a few years in non-executive director and charity trustee/ governor roles. A colleague drew the position on the Council to my attention and it seemed a great opportunity to use my prior experience and skills to help make a difference in this field of major public importance.
So how has it been? First, it has been a massive but enjoyable learning experience. There has been so much new to absorb and understand about the roles and work context of nurses and midwives. This has meant reading and hearing about, discussing and approving proposals ranging from new standards for nursing and midwifery care, to quality assurance of nursing education and a major overhaul of fitness to practice. At the same time I have had the chance, alongside fellow Council members, to support and challenge the executive team about new information and communication systems and critical process and behavioural changes to make the NMC, more efficient, more open and kinder. I have also been able to use my financial experience to help introduce new investment policies to make better use of the NMC's cash holdings.
One of the great things about working at the NMC has been the collegiate and supportive team, both non-executive and executive. Everyone recognises and acknowledges the diverse array of skills and experience each of us brings to the table and we feel valued.
The NMC, like most organisations, has not always got things right, but it is pulling out the stops to be professional, efficient and effective and, above all, people focussed and kind. It is a very good place to help make a difference.
Sue Whelan Tracy
I am a new Council member, having joined in October 2020.
I was attracted to the work of the Council because of the paramount importance safe, effective and compassionate nursing and midwifery care carries for every member of our society's health and wellbeing.
My prior executive specialism, in financial services, was customer engagement. With this I hoped to contribute to the NMC's orientation towards person centred approaches to growing public trust and registrant confidence. The opportunity to work on progressive regulatory strategies and the governance of effective delivery is stimulating. The different backgrounds and experiences of highly experienced nursing and midwifery colleagues covering four nations, lay members and the Executive creates meaningful debate and broadens approaches.
From the outset, the Council appeared a vibrant courageous group with a strong partnership approach, chaired incisively and warmly. It was crucial to me that the team be committed to furthering diversity and inclusion and reducing inequalities. Since joining I am impressed with the speed and commitment on display to do better, including appointing to newly devised Council Associate roles.
Joining the Council during the pandemic, with nurses, midwives and students facing the professional challenge of their career, has been humbling. Never has their work been more important, or its safety as broadly scrutinised. It has been a privilege to join the Executive and staff for partner briefings to learn as the sector responds. Decisions to ensure public safety and evolve standards have been remotely and expeditiously considered as the emergency continues.
The Council actively works to the NMC values of fair, kind, collaborative and ambitious. The partnership approach runs deep. Council colleagues, the Executive and staff share their knowledge and listen carefully. I also find it energetic, open and decisive. I encourage anyone interested to come along to an Open Council meeting, currently held virtually, and see the team at work.