The General Dental Council (GDC) has published its improvement plan after an investigation into whistleblowing by the PSA.
In a letter and action plan published today (16 February), the dental regulator acknowledges what it has learnt following the incident in 2013 and outlines improvements it will make, such as improvements to the fitness to practise processes, to the leadership and to the organisational culture.
‘The council has had time to consider the report, and as a result has developed a clear plan of actions so that improvements can be made,’ Bill Moyes, chair of the GDC, said.
‘We have been on a significant journey of improvement over the past three years, a fact acknowledged by the PSA in its report.
‘We fully recognise our responsibility to ensure that the issues highlighted are dealt with effectively, both now and in the future.
‘We know there is further work to do but we are fully committed to becoming a high-performing, efficient regulator.’
The report from the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) singled out the GDC chair for failures and ‘inappropriate’ decisions.
- The chair failed to grasp the significance, or seriousness, of the concerns raised by the whistleblower about the GDC’s Investigating Committee’s processes
- The chair was slow in informing other council members of the existence of the whistleblowing issue
- The chair was unwilling to take any interim remedial action in response to those concerns and even those raised in the GDC’s own report
- The chair and his council repeatedly failed in their obligation to challenge the information provided by their executive team
- The PSA said it was inappropriate of the chair to appoint the GDC’s former director of governance to investigate his/her own manager
- The GDC prevented the PSA from accessing the information it needed to complete its enquiry.
I think it would be utterly irresponsible and groundless frankly for me to step down
Speaking exclusively to Dentistry.co.uk, when pushed on how he could justify staying on in his position at the GDC, Bill Moyes said: ‘I and my colleagues in the council are the people who are putting the GDC right.
‘We inherited an organisation that was in very poor shape, that wasn’t being given the resources it needed to tackle the very sharp increase in complaints, that wasn’t really doing it’s job very effectively.
‘We’ve put that right and we’re well down the track of putting it right.
‘We are getting the finances of the organisation into shape.
‘We’ve introduced proper forecasting, so we’re starting to understand better where the pressures might be in the future.
‘We’ve cleared the backlog of 800 cases that were not being dealt with.
‘We’ve made all the changes in personnel and there’s quite a bit more.
‘I think I and my colleagues are the solution to the problems the GDC has.
‘I have no concern about staying, I think it would be utterly irresponsible and groundless frankly for me to step down.’
The PSA report refers to incidents that took place at the GDC in 2013.
The adequacy of the GDC’s whistleblowing policy and the operation of this policy was investigated by the PSA along with management of the processes and support for the GDC’s investigating committees.
‘Most of what the PSA was talking about took place before I and my colleagues were in office,’ Bill Moyes continued.
‘Making the whistleblowers name available in the organisation certainly happened once I and my colleagues were formally in office, but it wasn’t anything that we were personally involved in.
‘But that was very regrettable and I’ve apologised to the person involved for that.
‘But I think in the main, most of what the report’s talking about happened in the middle of 2013, before we were actually imposed.’
When asked whether this will be the last PSA report into whistleblowing failures at the GDC, Bill Moyes said: ‘That is certainly our aim.
‘We’re trying to create conditions where whistleblowers don’t need to blow the whistle.
‘I do think the culture of the organisation has changed a lot because of the personnel changes we’ve made.
‘In a sense my measure of success is that people who feel that something’s going wrong can say openly “We don’t think this is right”.
‘If that happens it will not be because we have suppressed whistleblowing, it will be because we’ve opened up a more transparent organisation.’