There are almost 200 RCM branches across all four countries of the UK, which undertake a broad range of activities in their local workplaces.
These activities include representing members individually, addressing workplace issues, hosting branch learning events, supporting members to attend RCM conferences and events, celebrating midwifery locally and reimbursing expenses incurred by workplace representatives while supporting members.
View the latest news and updates for our increasingly active branches here in our Branch Updates
RCM Activists can access our Branch resource pack of information, guides and templates to support branch organising and events on our new website here
The role of an RCM branch is to promote and advance excellence in midwifery practice and policy by enabling members to meet together locally for trade union, professional, educational and social purposes.
Branches encourage, facilitate and support the building of a strong workplace organisation through the recruitment, retention and development of members, workplace representatives and MSW advocates, who support the RCM in the delivery of its strategic objectives.
Resources for RCM branches
The RCM produces a range of resources, including the RCM Branch Governance Handbook, intended as a user-friendly guide to support branch officers, workplace representatives and MSW advocates with the smooth running of their local branch.
We also have a broad range of downloadable resources available for RCM branches, such as logos, template newsletters, guidance documents and campaign materials, which are available on our Branch Resources page. Here you will find a full, regularly updated index of resources. Please note: only logged-in users who are RCM branch officers, workplace representatives or MSW advocates will have access to these files. For any questions, please contact the RCM.
Role of RCM branches
The branch is the basic unit of RCM organisation and all members can belong to one. RCM branches undertake the following activities:
- engage with their members, hold branch meetings and maintain a local profile by reaching out to members on social media and workplace notice boards
- aim to encourage, facilitate and support the building of a strong workplace organisation
- support their members in relation to professional and employment issues, workplace health, safety and wellbeing, including Caring For You as well as professional and lifelong learning
- provide a means for members to participate in the wider union and professional organisation
- hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year to re-elect branch officers, workplace representatives and MSW advocates, as well as return the Annual Statement of Accounts, Branch Annual Review and Branch Information Form
One of the objectives of the RCM Organising and Engagement Strategy is to move towards employer-based branches. This means that the branch should be co-terminus with the trust/board or other employer. This is important as it allows branches to organise around organisation-wide issues, and if necessary, is easier to ballot branch members for strike action.
An employer-based branch:
- has localised links with issues and their members
- maintains the same level of support across trust/boards with multiple sites
- can ballot local members to take industrial action, if called by the RCM Board
If you want to highlight your branch successes, activities and events, please submit a short summary with a high-resolution photo (gaining permission from those pictured for publication) to your organiser or regional/national officer, so we can publish it on our Branch Updates page and share via social media.
It is recommended that a branch has at least one of each of the following:
- a branch secretary
- a branch chairperson
- a branch treasurer
- a steward
- a health and safety representative
- a learning representative; and
- an MSW advocate
Find out more information about branch roles below.
The branch chair presides over meetings and is the key person controlling the meetings, maintaining good order, ensuring that all members have an opportunity to express their views and deciding when a subject needs to be put to a vote. It is the chair’s responsibility along with the secretary to draw up an agenda.
The branch secretary is responsible for the smooth running of the branch, arranging meetings and keeping members informed of branch/headquarter activities. Besides doing this, and compiling minutes of the meetings, the secretary is the official correspondent of the branch with the RCM, trusts/boards and other organisations. In this respect, headquarters will send information of RCM matters and policy to the secretary and will receive details of branch activities from their members.
The treasurer’s duties include paying bills, scrutinising expenditure, informing the branch of its financial position, advising on the necessity to raise funds and preparing statements of receipts. The treasurer is responsible for the proper recording of all financial transactions. It is not the responsibility of the treasurer to raise money; the treasurer is acting for the branch and RCM headquarters.
Stewards carry out a number of responsibilities including representing midwives and MSWs in their workplace/trust/board when necessary, in addition to recruiting midwives, MSWs and student midwives into the RCM.
Health and safety representatives are workplace representatives who assist and advise other members on health and safety policy and procedures which may have an impact on their working environment.
Responsibilities include: investigating potential hazards and the causes of accidents and making representations to employers on health, safety and welfare matters.
RCM learning representatives (LRs) are workplace representatives who assist and advise other members on their training and development needs, lead on organising learning activities and promote opportunities to access learning.
The MSW Advocate role acts as a spokesperson for MSWs and encourages MSWs to join the RCM. It is not a formally accredited representative role and we encourage any MSW member or Advocate to stand as an RCM Workplace Representative should they wish to. Both Midwife and MSW RCM members can be elected into the role of MSW Advocate and this can compliment any other representative role that a member wishes to fulfil.
We have i-learn modules available for the above roles which outline the key activities for each activist role. Our RCM activists' annual training programme for branch officers, workplace representatives and MSW advocates is available in our Events section.
Support for your Branch and getting more involved
If you want to get involved with your RCM branch, speak to your branch officers or workplace reps. If you are not sure who to speak to, you can call RCM Connect on 0300 303 0444.
If you require support with your branch, please contact your RCM regional/national officer or organiser.
Setting up a Branch
If you do not have an active branch or would like to set up an employer-based branch, please contact [email protected].
If the branch is setting up a Unity Bank account, an application form needs to be completed online. For guidance documents, branch treasurers can visit our Branch Resources page.
RCM promotional resources for your branch
If you are an RCM activist and holding an event such as a learning event, recruitment event or any other activity, you can log onto the storefront to order recruitment forms, RCM promotional items and guidance leaflets to promote your local branch and maintain your workplace RCM notice board.
Please note that the storefront is only available to RCM branch officers, workplace representatives and MSW advocates.
Members who require materials need to contact the RCM directly.
To order, please follow the instructions below.
You can set up your own account via the Storefront website here. Login details will be sent to you up to five working days later.
- Click to visit the storefront.
- Enter your username (your work email address).
- Followed by your password (rcm followed by your name e.g. rcmbob).
- Once onto the storefront, please add material to your shopping cart as you would do on a traditional online shopping sites.
- Once you have confirmed your order, confirmation will be sent to your email.
If you have any problems, please contact RCM Connect at 0300 303 0444.