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Strategic aim three: Risks affecting the public’s safety and wellbeing are dealt with by the right organisations

02 February, 2023

Objective: We protect the public because we are using our insight to highlight risks to their safety and wellbeing and encouraging the right parts of the sector to respond. 

Dentistry and its regulation are complex. There are many organisations performing different functions and the systems across each of the nations are different. We regulate the professionals who work in the dental team across the whole of the UK. However, we do not regulate the organisations providing dental care – or those activities performed by dental professionals that are not dentistry. 

There are important issues of widespread concern that do not fall within our regulatory remit. For example, we cannot control or influence the number of dental professionals who are trained in the UK, or the distribution of dental professionals across the UK. We will work with our stakeholders to ensure that our role is understood and to make appropriate contributions to issues of shared concern across dentistry. We also aim to improve the trust and respect that dental professionals have in the system of regulation through our communications and engagement activities.    

Our authority and powers are restricted to our regulatory functions and by concentrating on these we deliver better protection for the public and avoid expenditure on activity that is the responsibility of other organisations. We also need to guard against raising expectations that we can solve issues which require different parts of the sector, or the whole sector, to address.   

However, as we undertake our regulatory functions and work with our stakeholders we will allocate a relatively small part of our overall expenditure to do two things that have the potential to have a significant impact on addressing issues affecting the patients and the public: 

  • Where it is appropriate, we will share information and the evidence we collect as we do our work with the right organisations (such as other regulators, funding and commissioning bodies in the four nations, education providers, representative organisations for the dental professions, and indemnifiers) and encourage them to work collaboratively to address issues facing the public and dental professionals. 
  • Use our regulatory functions to influence the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the dental team to respond to risks to the public, for example by supporting use of the skills mix of the whole dental team, and engaging with existing members of the dental team as well as newly qualified dental professionals. 

In 2023-2025, we will: 

  • Work with our stakeholders to support their respect and trust of our role so that we can encourage openness and address risks to the public co-operatively with the sector.
  • Share insights with the agencies with the powers to respond, using our evidence about risks to the public.
  • Work with dental professionals to equip them to respond to current and emerging risks to the public, through appropriate skills, knowledge and behaviours assured and encouraged by our regulatory functions.