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An update from the NMC Chair on recent Council member recruitment

An update from Philip Graf, the NMC Chair, on recent Council member recruitment.

Philip Graf, Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said:

“As I set out in my statement last week, maintaining midwifery expertise on our Council is hugely important. I would again like to reiterate my disappointment that we were not able to identify someone with midwifery expertise who was suitable to recommend for appointment as a registrant member of Council in our last round of recruitment.

“I very much recognise the importance of ensuring that we have the right expertise and voices around the table to enable Council to fulfil its role effectively. I also recognise the value someone with midwifery expertise brings to the Council’s vital governance and oversight responsibilities. With this in mind, there are a number of actions we are taking:

  1. The upcoming recruitment for a new registrant Council member for Scotland will be specifically focused on finding someone with midwifery expertise who is suitable to recommend for appointment to Council, and we will work closely with the midwifery community to identify and encourage high quality candidates

  2. We will bring forward the timing of the recruitment process for this role, with a view to an appointment being made in October/November 2020. The successful candidate would then work closely with the Council until they take up their role in May 2021.

  3. We have amended our Council Standing Orders to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining midwifery expertise on our Council. This means that in the setting of any selection criteria for new Council members, the Council will seek to ensure that at any given time:
    • The membership of the Council reflects a mix of background, knowledge and skills
    • The membership of the Council reflects the diversity of the public that it serves
    • Registrant membership of the Council includes both people with nursing expertise and midwifery expertise

“I would like to express my thanks to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), together with other midwifery leaders, for their recent constructive engagement on this matter. I look forward to continuing to work with them in our search for a new Council member and I am confident the measures we have set out today will ensure we find the right person, with midwifery expertise, who is suitable to recommend for appointment to our Council.”

ENDS

Answering your questions

Will there be a midwife on council between September 2020 and May 2021?

No. But we are bringing forward the timing of the recruitment process for a new registrant Council member for Scotland, with a view to an appointment being made in October/November 2020. We will be specifically focused on finding someone with midwifery expertise who is suitable to recommend for appointment. We are unable to have more than 12 Council members at any one time but the successful candidate would work very closely with the Council until they take up their role in May 2021.

How can you represent midwives, without a midwife on Council?

The role of Council is not to represent the professions it regulates, but to provide governance and oversight of the NMC. That means overseeing an organisation regulating over 700,000 people, with hundreds of staff and a significant budget. We absolutely recognise the value registrants with midwifery expertise and nursing expertise bring to the Council’s vital governance and oversight responsibilities and this is reflected in our standing orders and will be reflected in any future selection criteria for Council members.

Why are you saying you want ‘midwifery expertise’ rather than a registered midwife?

We recognise that it’s hugely important to have registrant members with midwifery expertise and with nursing expertise and we recognise the value they bring to the Council’s vital governance and oversight responsibilities. We say ‘expertise’ because this is about having knowledge, skills and expertise – rather than ‘representing’ any particular professional group.

On a practical level, there may also be a scenario whereby someone is appointed to Council who holds dual nursing and midwifery registration, but for some reason lapses one of their registrations during their term of office. We don’t think it would be appropriate to remove them from Council as they would clearly still have the expertise required.

We do not envisage someone being able to demonstrate ‘midwifery expertise’ without being a current or very recently registered midwife.


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