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Stakeholder perceptions

GDC stakeholder perceptions research

Date: 25 November, 2021
GDC stakeholder perceptions research

We commissioned work from DJS Research to identify and better understand the perceptions and communication preferences of our key stakeholders - dental professionals, students and organisation representatives. Here you will find the results of the research.  

A similar study was carried out in 2018. Some of the findings from that previous work are also included in this report, where relevant, providing a comparison to the 2020 results. Specific questions relating to our response to COVID-19 were also included in the research.

The results of this research are explored in more depth by Stefan Czerniawski, Executive Director, Strategy, who considers the drivers and the need to rebuild relationships in the sector, and John Cullinane, Executive Director, Fitness to Practise, who explains the recent pressures being experienced in fitness to practise and how we are responding to the performance challenge. 

Key findings from the research include:

  • In 2020, overall perceptions of us were more negative (58%) than positive (21%), with perceptions worsening since 2018 among dental professionals, largely driven by views about our response to COVID-19, ongoing dissatisfaction with fitness to practise processes and communications, and decisions about fees.
  • Overall perceptions of the GDC among students and stakeholder organisations had improved slightly over the period, something we have worked to improve.
  • Understanding of our remit varied, and responses were broadly similar to 2018 results. With lower awareness of our role in setting standards in education (49%) than other core GDC functions, such as maintaining the register (88%), investigating concerns about impaired fitness to practise (80%) and setting and promoting professional standards (75%).
  • There were some misconceptions about our role and remit, particularly around setting of clinical standards, representation of dental professionals, workforce planning, and inspecting premises.
  • People received most of their information from us by email or the GDC website and had a preference for these communications channels. Dental professionals (42%) and students (7%) were less likely to contact us than stakeholder organisation representatives (83%), and they used email to contact us more frequently than the phone in 2020 compared with 2018.
  • Respondents were broadly neutral or happy with the communications they received from us, although many stated that they would prefer more summaries of information on our website and a more welcoming tone of voice.
  • Dental professionals were more likely to be ‘not happy’ with the frequency of ‘COVID-19 communications’ (38%), compared to stakeholders (22%) and students (21%).

For the full findings, download the Stakeholder perceptions research report.


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