Advance notice of the decisions Council will be making on 22 October

20 October, 2020
Advance notice of the decisions Council will be making on 22 October

Although we have seen a reopening of dental services since June, which we all welcome, it’s obvious that with much of the UK population moving back into tighter restrictions, any recovery to the ‘new normal’ will take longer than we would all like,  and as the timescale for this recovery remains unclear, I recognise that many of you will continue to face further hardship and uncertainty in the months ahead.

With this continuing uncertainty around the future shape of dentistry comes new challenges and the GDC, like many of you, are responding to these where we can, although we do know that there will be many important decisions that will need to be made about the year ahead.

That said, our work at the GDC continues, because it must. And as we enter the final quarter of the year, we need to start making decisions about our work and activities for 2021 and beyond.

As the regulator our Statutory purpose is to protect patient safety and maintain public confidence in dental services. We work on behalf of the public to support a system in which dental professionals provide good quality care and practise to the highest possible standard, and these are the principles that will underpin the thinking as we agree the budget and plan for next year.

As part of the GDC’s annual planning cycle, Council have a number of key decisions to approve at our next meeting, which will be held on Thursday 22 October. These include:

There is an important process we follow. We start by agreeing what the GDC needs to do to achieve our statutory duties, which is our strategy; work out how we can do that as effectively and efficiently as possible, which is what creates the CCP; and then determine what resources that will need and what that will cost, which gives us our budget. This in turn leads to the income necessary for our statutory duties; we then derive the ARF that we need to collect from that.

This year these decisions will be further complicated by the impact of Coronavirus and what that means for the GDC and the wider profession. Due to the pandemic we have already had to make changes to our original CCP for 2020, with some activities being changed, delayed, or even stopped, and others being accelerated to meet the unique challenges we have faced.

Throughout this period, we have identified and made savings where we can and will continue to look for new ways to increase our efficiency, and I am confident that this will result in a reduced budget for 2021, compared to 2020. However, now that the threat of a second wave from COVID-19 has materialised, we need to consider not only the income and expenditure risks we will face, but also the effect this will have on the dental sector, and consequently the impact this may have on renewal rates, and this will be something we will consider very carefully in the final decisions we make. 

Over the last few months we have been asked about our reserves levels. Unfortunately, the way in which we are obliged to report reserves in our Annual Report and Accounts is not particularly helpful to the financial layperson, so to help explain this we have recently published information on our reserves policy which I hope helps describe what our reserves are and how we are able to access them. We don’t have significant levels of free reserves that we can access, and we need to maintain these at a certain level to ensure we are able to meet our statutory obligations going forward. 

Finally, this month’s meeting will see our three new Council members Laura Simons, Donald Burden and Mike Lewis attend their first meeting. They have replaced Kirstie Moons, Margaret Kellett and Geraldine Campbell, who have contributed greatly to the work of the GDC since their appointments in 2013, and to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks.

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