GDC approves three-year strategy and confirms 2023 ARF

21 October, 2022

Following a public consultation earlier this year, Council has today approved our strategy for the next three years. In so doing, we have set the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) level for 2023 amidst considerable economic uncertainty. The ARF will be £690 for dentists (an increase of 1.5%) and £114 for dental care professionals (no increase).

The rise for dentists is far below the 10.1% rate of inflation (CPI, 12 months to September 2022) and the ARF level for both dentists and dental care professionals is lower than we indicated when we consulted in the summer. We were able to achieve the lower-than-expected rates by tightly managing our costs and absorbing, where possible, the impacts of inflation, as we committed to doing when we set out our expenditure plans.

In the context of such uncertainty, Council has set fees at a level that ensures we can continue to fulfil our statutory role of maintaining patient safety and public confidence, while sensibly managing the financial risks caused by high and volatile inflationary pressures.

GDC Chair, Lord Toby Harris, said:

“I’d like to thank everyone who shared their views with us on our plans for the next three years. We have listened to that feedback and look forward to publishing our final strategy in the coming months. Some of that feedback related to the fees we charge, and we’re really pleased to have been able to further challenge our own costs and deliver a lower ARF for dental professionals in 2023 than we initially forecast.

“We have statutory duties and so, to ensure these are fulfilled, we must be financially viable. But that is not the only reason we must continue to operate - I believe dental professionals gain great benefit from regulation as it is one of the things that underpins the reputation of the professions as a whole.”

In our consultation on the strategy, we warned that due to high and sustained inflation we may need to increase the ARF in 2024 and 2025. While this does mean less certainty over the coming years in relation to the level of the fee, this approach enabled us to make a prudent provision for inflation whilst keeping 2023 costs as low as possible for dental professionals. If further rises due to inflation are necessary, we are committed to limiting these to the rate of inflation at most, while continuing to challenge our own costs.

GDC Chief Executive and Registrar, Ian Brack, said:

“In the current uncertain and volatile economic climate, it’s essential that we manage financial risks – particularly those relating to inflation. We’re confident that our expenditure plans will ensure we are able to fulfil our primary role of maintaining patient safety and public confidence.

“While we will continue to aggressively manage costs, as we have said, we may need to increase the level of the fee in the future. Any such increase will, at most, be in line with the rate of inflation at the time, or as a result of other exceptional and unanticipated circumstances.”

We look forward to publishing the consultation outcome and final strategy in the coming months.