Change of policy on Interim Orders Committee outcomes

02 July, 2024

We have today announced a change to what will be published following decisions by the Interim Orders Committee after a review of our policy.  

We know fitness to practise investigations can be intrusive and we recognise that stress can be caused not just by the experience but also by the information publicly available. 

From today, the Dental Professionals Hearings Service will no longer publish determinations made by the Interim Orders Committee. Instead, the outcome will be published on its website after a hearing or review has taken place, including any action taken to protect the public, patients, or dental professionals. Any restrictions on registration will continue to be added to the online register. 

The change is part of our ongoing commitment to reduce the negative impacts of the fitness to practise process on dental professionals’ health and wellbeing.  

The Interim Orders Committee’s role is to assess serious and immediate risks to public safety and confidence in the profession. It is made up of independent panellists who will make that assessment and can impose restrictions on a dental professional’s registration to protect the public while an investigation takes place. 

Theresa Thorp, Executive Director, Regulation, at the GDC, said: “By limiting publication to the outcomes and any restrictions on a dental professional’s registration, we aim to maintain public safety and confidence while minimising negative effects on dental professionals while fitness to practise matters are investigated. This change in policy recognises that allegations are untested at an Interim Orders Committee hearing or review because its role is to assess risk and not to determine the facts of a case.” 

All previously published Interim Orders Committee determinations have now been removed from the Dental Professionals Hearings Service website and replaced with the outcome of any hearing or review. Where no order is imposed by the Interim Order Committee the outcome will be published for one month and then removed. 

There may be instances where it is necessary in the public interest or in the interests of the dental professional or other parties concerned for the Registrar to apply discretion to this policy. We expect these circumstances to be limited, and the need to apply discretion rare.  

The Disclosure and Publications Policy has been updated to reflect the change.