GDC consultation on guidance on agreeing undertakings and issuing warnings for Case Examiners
The Authority's response to General Dental Council consultation on guidance on agreeing Undertakings and issuing Warnings for Case Examiners (Amendments to the Fitness to Practise Rules)
We have previously expressed our views on Case Examiners being given powers to agree undertakings, both to the Department of Health in our response to the consultation on the draft Section 60 order in November 2014 and in our response to the GDC consultation on the amendments to their Rules to incorporate the Section 60 order provisions.
Whilst these powers have now been granted to the GDC and will come into effect later this year, we remain concerned that these powers blur the boundary between the investigation and adjudication of a case, as Case Examiners can now agree undertakings for cases where there is a realistic prospect of a panel finding impairment. This is contrary to the principle that all cases with a realistic prospect of a finding of impairment should be disposed of in a public forum by a panel that is independent of the investigation process i.e. a practice panel. We laid out the four principles relating to the disposal of cases that we believe are necessary for public protection in responses to previous consultations by the Department of Health and the GDC.
We welcome the chance to comment on the GDC ‘Guidance on agreeing Undertakings and issuing Warnings’ for Case Examiners and for the Investigating Committee. In addition to our answers to the questions in the consultation document we have outlined some general points which relate to this guidance.