BREAKING NEWS: Health Select Committee to hold accountability hearing into GDC
The Health Committee will hold an accountability hearing with the General Dental Council (GDC) on Tuesday 3 March 2015.
Mick Armstrong said: “For far too long our regulator has appeared to be operating in a consequence-free environment. And as a result we have not seen the efficient and effective regulation our profession deserves. From 18 month fitness to practise cases to unlawful consultations, it’s finally time to look at the impact of the GDC’s decision-making in the cold light of day.”
The GDC respond
Following December’s High Court judgment we published an open letter to General Dental Council Chief Exec, Evlynne Gilvarry.
We took aim at their misleading press statement that followed swiftly from the judgment, form of words they quickly recycled in an email to all registrants.
They attempted to sidestep the fact they had just been to found to have acted unlawfully in the High Court.
Well we’ve finally received her response. You can read it here
We will leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions…
WEDNESDAY 07/01/15 – 13:00
The BDA has written to the Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, to make the case for an inquiry into the General Dental Council. The committee has been made aware of the BDA’s successful legal challenge but the inability of the judge to fully act and prevent the ARF hike due to the limits of the current laws in place. Read more
Simple and Unambiguous
Today we received a copy of the Court Order from our judicial review
As you will see it is both simple and unambiguous
The order is available to download here
MONDAY 23/12/14 – 16:40
QBD (Admin) (Cranston J) 18/12/2014
HEALTH – ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
CONSULTATION : GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL : LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION : MEMBERSHIP FEES : PRACTISING CERTIFICATES : TRANSPARENCY
The common law duty of fairness did not impose upon the General Dental Council a duty to consult its registrants on increases to their annual retention fees. However, public announcements made by the GDC espousing a commitment to transparent consultation on fee increases gave rise to a legitimate expectation among registrants that there would be such consultation.
The claimant (BDA) sought judicial review of a decision of the defendant (GDC) to increase the retention fee for dentists for the year 2015.
The retention fee was an annual practising fee payable by dentists and dental care professionals. For 2015, the GDC increased the fee payable by dentists from £576 to £890. The GDC was the regulatory body for dentists and dental care professionals. Amongst other things, it set standards, provided guidance, investigated complaints and took action against dental professionals who were considered unfit to practise. Its work was funded almost entirely by the annual retention fee. In 2010, it agreed a policy whereby the annual retention fee was set to cover its costs, was apportioned fairly between dentists and dental care professionals, and was charged irrespective of age, working hours, type of practice or location. In 2012 it reviewed the policy, indicating that it was spending more than it raised and that most of its costs related to its fitness to practise functions. Following that review it recognised that it had to be more transparent in terms of the financial information it gave to its registrants. It issued a statement saying that when consulting on future fee increases, it would set out how the annual fee was calculated and provide more detail about the fitness to practise process. As part of the consultation process on increasing the 2015 retention fee, the GDC issued a paper explaining that since 2010 there had been an increase in the number of fitness to practise complaints. It estimated that it would need an extra £18 million in fee income to allow it to deal with an anticipated increase in the number of complaints and hearings in 2015. It provided a table predicting, on the basis of “current trends”, the number of hearings anticipated in 2015. During the consultation, the BDA complained that the GDC had provided insufficient information to enable consultees to understand how the proposed fee increase related to the cost of providing professional regulation. It complained that the paper gave no reliable information on the trends on which the anticipated increase in hearings was based, and it argued that the exponential increase in hearings in relation to a relatively modest increase in complaints required proper explanation.
The BDA submitted that the GDC had not given consultees sufficient information to enable them to test the validity of the proposed increase, despite having previously announced a policy of being transparent about its calculations.
HELD: The impact of the fee increase was not such that the common law duty of fairness imposed on the GDC a duty to consult, R. (on the application of London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association and Criminal Law Solicitors Association) v Lord Chancellor  EWHC 3020 (Admin) considered and R. (on the application of British Medical Association) v General Medical Council  EWHC 2602 (Admin), Times, January 19, 2009 applied. The relevant impact was that on the individual consultee. Individual dentists would have to pay either £251.20 or £188.40 per year more than they had previously. That came nowhere near requiring, as a matter of common law fairness, that they be consulted. However, the GDC had publicly committed to transparent consultation. Specific public announcements such as those made by the GDC gave rise to a legitimate expectation among registrants that a transparent consultation would be conducted. A transparent consultation meant that consultees had to be put in a position to test the validity of the assumptions purporting to underlie the suggested fee increase; to understand why alternatives had been rejected; and to make an informed and intelligent response. They also had to be given sufficient information to test the robustness or reliability of the model behind what was being presented, Eisai Ltd v National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)  EWCA Civ 438, (2008) 11 C.C.L. Rep. 385 applied. What needed to be consulted about was very much a matter for the judgement of the body carrying out the consultation, and the courts would accord that body a very broad discretion. However, there was gaping hole in the GDC’s consultation, namely the lack of any explanation of the assumption that an increase in complaints would translate into such an increased number of fitness to practise hearings as to require an extra £18 million in funding. The projected exponential rise in the number of fitness to practise hearings required a transparent explanation, and there had to be adequate information as to how it had been calculated. It was common ground that fitness to practise hearings were the main driver of costs, and it was difficult to see how consultees could express an intelligent view on the proposed fee increase unless they had some idea of the basis for the projected increase in fitness to practise hearings. None of the key information about closure rates and fitness to practise trend information had been disclosed as part of the consultation. It should have been. While the court ought not to pore over consultation documents and find unfairness because of occasional information gaps, the gap in the instant case was fundamental. As a result, the consultation was not transparent and was thus unlawful. It did not explain the position in clear and accessible terms, enabling consultees to provide intelligent and informed responses (see paras 34-40, 44 of judgment).
For the claimant: Philip Havers QC, Jeremy Hyam
For the defendant: Karen Steyn QC
For the claimant: Hempsons
For the defendant: Kingsley Napley
Approved – 12 pages
In the aftermath of the Judicial Review, BDA CEO Peter Ward reflects on the implications for the profession and the regulator.
Peter Ward reflects on yesterday’s Judicial Review result…
A remarkable set of admissions
In the wake of yesterday’s judgment on the GDC consultation we have been responding to questions about how it can be that although the GDC acted unlawfully it doesn’t have to hand the money back. This is a very reasonable question and I have been asked to offer a simple answer. I’m afraid I can’t do that as this is a complicated business. Instead I will explain what happened and how this situation arose.
What is telling in this story is that, in persuading the judge not to follow usual procedures, the GDC made some astonishing admissions as to its own inadequacy. This may have won it the ability to retain the £890 ARF, but the long term costs will be interesting to discover. These management failings sit on top of the others that have been listed elsewhere.
The first thing to say is that normally a successful claimant (in this case the BDA) is granted the relief it seeks having won its case (In this case, the quashing of the ARF regulations and the reversion to the ARF of £576). Only in very unusual circumstances would this not happen. The GDC’s lawyers said that these were such circumstances and that therefore even though the BDA had won the legal argument, such relief should not be granted. The BDA’s legal submission on the subject was to say that, on the basis of case law, these circumstances had not been met and that the GDC had been well aware of the potential for their increase to be quashed as long ago as July 2014.
Our lawyers also pointed out that in earlier correspondence, the GDC had undertaken to address repayment if it became necessary. However, at the point where this became a live issue, the GDC shifted its position on this matter and raised a whole raft of reasons why it shouldn’t have to pay the money back. The significant ones of these are as follows:
“…As the Court has acknowledged, almost the entirety of the GDC’s funding is derived from the ARF. The GDC is unable to fulfil its functions, as required by the Dentists Act 1984, unless all registrants pay the appropriate Annual Retention Fee…”
In short – the GDC needs the money.
“…Quashing the regulations at this late stage would cause confusion among dentists as to whether they have complied, or need to comply, with their obligations to pay the ARF in order to ensure they remain on the register. There is a risk that this could lead to some dentists failing to pay any, or the appropriate ARF, potentially resulting in their removal from the Register and inability to practise until the issue has been resolved…”
So, the quashing would generate chaos and confusion. Even though the GDC has had since July (when the BDA sent initial correspondence noting that it would consider legal action) to prepare alternative arrangements in line with its undertakings outlined above.
“…A change in the fee to be collected at this late stage would also present a substantial practical challenge for the GDC’s systems. The system is designed to have a negative balance against a registrant for this year of £890, and to remove from the Register any registrant who does not clear that negative balance by the due date. Any attempt to change the system mid-cycle, during a period where many members of staff will be on leave, would create a substantial risk of technical errors….”
It’s Christmas – and the GDC does not have the management systems to ensure that it could cope with a change to its processes. Again it has had six months to put such systems in place.
“…It may be said that the GDC could set the fee at £576 now, consult in the new year, and then potentially set a subsidiary fee in respect of the 2015 ARF level. Accordingly, the reality is that if the Court were to quash the decision and the 2014 Regulations, the best case scenario for the GDC would be that it may be able to make new regulations setting a shorter notice period and charging dentists £576. As a consequence of the Court deciding that there was a procedural flaw in the consultation, the GDC would receive £314 less from every dentist registrant i.e. the GDC would lose over £12.6 million income for 2015….”
Even though the number of complaints has stopped going up and there is no demonstrable methodology to predict how many Fitness to Practise cases there will be (the whole issue about why the hike was said to be needed) the GDC is still saying it needs the money.
“…The Defendant’s assessment is that if it charges dentists at the 2010 ARF level, after divesting itself of all investments, the Defendant will have exhausted its reserves and have no funds at all to continue its work by August 2015…”
The GDC, unlike the rest of us, is unable to cut its coat to its cloth, improve its efficiency or manage its finances.
“…This provides good reason not to quash the decision or regulations. It would be unjust, and cause real harm to the public interest, if the Court were to grant relief which would prevent the GDC charging dentists a fee any higher than that first set in 2010. It is abundantly clear from the evidence that the GDC’s expenditure has increased, and if it is to meet its obligations it requires to be properly funded…”
Notwithstanding the serious criticisms of the GDC’s lack of clarity and logic, the GDC still believes that its need for more funds is unarguable.
“…there would be a clear and very substantial detriment to good administration if the decision and regulations were quashed. As the Court has acknowledged, almost the entirety of the GDC’s funding is derived from the ARF. In order to fulfil its functions, as required by the Dentists Act 1984, the GDC has to receive the ARF.”
The GDC really, really needs the money.
And most importantly in arguing its case, the GDC said to the judge that if the money was not forthcoming there would be a major problem in that:
“…The GDC’s purpose is to protect patients and the public. If the GDC does not have the funding to fulfil its statutory functions, it will not be able to protect them…”
It is this last statement which is built from all the others that was persuasive in why the BDA was denied the appropriate relief for dentists.
So the summary of all of this is that at the eleventh hour, the GDC shifted its position from its earlier undertaking to deal with matters if it lost the case. It argued that if the regulations were quashed, the GDC would face administrative chaos, it would soon face bankruptcy and therefore the public would be put at risk. Not the most attractive arguments by way of justification, but at least we now know the state of play at the GDC. We think these admissions are so profound that policy makers, government and parliament have even more to worry about with regard to the GDC.
You have our assurance that we have already started making sure that they know about it.
An open letter to the Chief Executive of the General Dental Council
We have published an open letter to Evlynne Gilvarry, Chief Executive of the General Dental Council, following their press statement on today’s High Court judgment.
Todays Twitter Q&A session with Peter Ward
BDA Press release The ARF hike still stands, and now serves as a monument to the failures of health regulation. This case has revealed that a regulator, unaccountable to government, can be found to have acted unlawfully but still walk away with its ill-gotten gains. We are now looking to the government to act. Full press release available here: https://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Pages/Health-regulator-defeated-in-landmark-legal-case.aspx
Consultation judged unlawful. GDC ordered to pay costs. But #ARFhike still stands. Full statement to come.
We are expecting to be notified of the result of the Judicial Review tomorrow (Thursday 18 December). Bookmark this page for the latest updates.
Justice Cranston is still considering our case, but as soon we have sight of his final judgement our members will be the first to know. Look out for our next email, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook or visit our website for a summary of events. We will also continue to post all breaking news here on the Live Blog. We could not have fought this legal action without your support, and the support of all of our members. So on behalf of all at the BDA – and everyone in the profession – we’d like to say thank you.
Justice Cranston will not be giving his final judgement today, we will let you know as soon as we hear. That’s it for live updates today. Thanks to all those who’ve been in touch with messages of support. Any further news and developments will be posted to this page and on social media as usual. #StrongerTogether Bookmark this page: (www.bda.org/jr)
And thanks to all our members for your support today.
— Dr Jeff Sherer (@drjeff_tooth) December 15, 2014
— Dr Michael Lessani (@DrLessani) December 15, 2014
The hearing is now finished. However Justice Cranston is now considering his decision. As soon as we have sight of his final judgement our members will be the first to know. Direct link to this page: www.bda.org/jr
— Dental Mental (@Dental_Mental) December 15, 2014
KPMG report irrelevant says BDA QC as came after consultation had closed #ARFhike
— Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
Our QC is back up, citing precedent on consultations by public bodies. He is exploring what are the necessary ingredients to provide ‘intelligent response’. He is focusing attention on the big inconsistencies in the GDC’s model for growth in FTP, on which new fees were based. He claims it is hopeless to contend that all underlying assumptions were tested by KPMG and passed muster, when that information was never shared with consultees during the lifetime of the consultation. He argues that the KPMG report simply came too late to have any bearing on the consultation and that requests for further clarity were refused. He states that to date much of the thinking behind the GDC’s FTP calculations are still not in the public domain. He says it’s not simply good enough to expect consultees to root around for information themselves to provide an intelligent response. If it’s relevant it should have been in the document.
The road to the High Court: a reminder of the BDA’s ARF campaign so far: View the interactive timeline
Hope we get a better result!
— Sahir Zak Kara (@SahirZakKara) December 15, 2014
— PhillBrown (@PhillyB2005) December 15, 2014
— Conor McEnhill (@deccanacine) December 15, 2014
— Shona Patel (@Dr_Shonzy) December 15, 2014
@TheBDA supporting you all the way,give them a lesson.
— Mohamed Basma (@mobasma66) December 15, 2014
Judge questioning massive increase in FTP and why this was not explained in Consultation #ARFhike
— Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
As the GDC try to defend the indefensible, it’s a good time to remember what is at stake. Our challenge to the #ARFhike is about much more than the fee rise alone. https://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/jr-opens-door-to-better-health-regulation
Lucky to have such a good professional body looking after us @TheBDA
— Lucy Woodside (@LucyWoodside) December 15, 2014
@TheBDA all the best for today. Keep up the fantastic work on behalf of the dental profession and fight the GDC’s unjust fee hike!
— Tariq Drabu (@TariqDrabu65) December 15, 2014
Good luck to the @TheBDA GO GET EM!!!
— DR NILESH R. PARMAR (@NileshRParmar) December 15, 2014
— Dr Michael Lessani (@DrLessani) December 15, 2014
The GDC’s QC kicked off by telling the court that the level of care demonstrated by the regulator was both “striking and impressive”. The judge queried how projections on the growth in FTP increases were established, and why much of the relevant detail didn’t make it into the consultation document. Here’s why it proved necessary for the BDA to make FOI requests. We’ve said all along that this half-baked consultation hits those least able to afford it disproportionately. Revisit Judith Husband’s blog, highlighting the views of young and salaried dentists who are simply unable to afford the #ARFhike https://bdaconnect.bda.org/a-perfect-storm-the-gdc-needs-to-realise-the-full-cost-of-an-arf-increase/
Support coming from all poles!
Mayank Morar (@DrMayankMorar) December 15, 2014
As the GDC starts to ‘robustly defend’ its consultation, here’s what Peter Ward had to say recently:
“Following another long reiteration of its justifications the GDC has described the BDA’s legal challenge as “unfortunate” and then that it would “robustly defend this legal action”. In other quarters (and presumably with a straight face) the GDC has stated its wish to have “constructive engagement” with the profession.
It’s telling that the GDC’s wordsmiths seem to believe that it is our challenge that is the “unfortunate” bit, rather than the chain of events that led to it. It also seems to think that its wilful disregard for the concerns raised during its own consultation will have no impact on its ability to engage with the profession in future.
The secret to winning the argument is not – despite what lessons you might draw from the GDC’s approach – a matter of simply repeating your case ad nauseam with your fingers stuck firmly in your ears. It’s certainly not the key to winning friends and influencing people.”
GDC admits only 3 of 10 standards met in timeliness of cases compared to 9 out of 10 the year previously #ARFhike
— Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
Judge says if QC can show how increased complaints result in increased FTP cases they may make progress #ARFhike
— Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
Today really is proving that we are #StrongerTogether. Overwhelming support from the dental profession for our legal action.
Judicial Review now resuming. No live Tweeting from the court room, but we will try to keep you updated.
Can’t keep up with all the messages coming in via Twitter, here are just a few, thank you!
— Jo Boyne (@JoBoyne) December 15, 2014
— Gemma Davis (@GemmyDodgers) December 15, 2014
@TheBDA Behind the BDA 100%. It’s great to see some action. Part-time colleagues can’t afford this huge fee hike – almost a month’s wages!
— Gail Sheridan (@sheri3466) December 15, 2014
@TheBDA waiting with bated breath. All the best to all of us and the profession we love
— Vivek Chadha (@chadhavivek) December 15, 2014
Latest report from our team at the High Court
We’ve broken for lunch. This morning the judge told the court this was a complex case, and there’s a good chance we might not get our answer today.
However our QC has made a simple and persuasive case. He focused the court’s attention on the flawed numbers that underpinned a flawed consultation.
Peter Ward told us: “I’m really impressed by our legal team. They’ve really crystallised our key arguments.”
We’ll be hearing from the GDC’s QC when we return.
The remedy that the BDA is seeking from the Judicial Review is as follows:
- Quashing of the GDC’s consultation.
- Quashing of the decision to change the ARF to £890 for dentists (and £116 for dental care professionals).
- Quashing of the GDC’s fees regulations implementing the fee change and reinstating its 2013 regulations. The effect of this would be a retention of existing fee levels.
- A declaration that the GDC has not published (as it is required to do having regard to the content of the Government White Paper Enabling Excellence) “a clear and robust business case that any increase is essential to ensure the exercise of statutory duties”.
The Court has broken for lunch, we are due to resume at 2PM
Thanks to everyone for your expressions of support.
— Sandeep (@ToothAgent) December 15, 2014
— BSPD (@bspduk) December 15, 2014
— Snowbird Finance (@snowbirdfinance) December 15, 2014
— bagginsmum (@bagginsmum) December 15, 2014
— Shaun Sellars (@TheWholeT00th) December 15, 2014
— Sue in the Lakes (@suzywoozy13) December 15, 2014
Important day for dentists as the judicial review into GDC fee increase is heard today #arfhike
— Megan Hatfield (@wetherbyortho) December 15, 2014
— Jane Gosney BDS (@jvgosney) December 15, 2014
— Sue in the Lakes (@suzywoozy13) December 15, 2014
A quick reminder of what BDA members had to say about the GDC when we surveyed them in summer 2014:
— Aysha Nijamudeen (@DrrDentist) December 15, 2014
Update from the BDA team
Our QC has focused on the GDC’s alarmist and inaccurate picture of rapidly accelerating complaint levels.
Documents published in June had led consultees to believe that complaints levels would rise to 3,500 this year. however analysis of figures in the KPMG review saw that figure “adjusted downwards throughout the budget process”.
The new figure showed 3,000 cases for 2014 – just ten more than the actual activity level for 2013.
The fee options facing GDC council members were focusing entirely on the cash held in the regulator’s reserves – options that simply did not feature in the consultation.
As Mick Armstrong told us back in October:
“The GDC’s case for a fee hike is built on sand. It based its sums on historical trends that are indispensable one minute, ‘unreliable’ the next. It claims complaints are going through the roof, then suddenly we’re looking at levels identical to last year.
“We’ve stepped into a twilight zone where zero growth in complaints warrants an unprecedented fee rise. Where at the eleventh hour it reveals that the final choice will hinge not on day-to-day operations, but on the cash it holds in its reserves.
“We have seen our professional regulator busy peddling unreliable data, and forming even more unreliable conclusions. What we haven’t seen is anything resembling a credible argument for a fee rise.
BDA PEC member Eddie Crouch tweets from the Courtroom:
Case rise in FTP says GDC will rise from 160 in 2013 to 638 in 2015 astonishing increase says QC #ARFhike
— Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
QC questions if GDC adequately explained fee increase Consultantees responded NO #ARFhike based on methodology of past case numbers
— Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
A quick reminder of some of the comments made at last weeks Parliamentary debate:
Judge has been told that minister responsible Dr Dan Poulter told parliament he’s yet to see any “compelling evidence” for a fee rise:
Our QC has begun outlining our argument:
Our case in detail
- Throughout the consultation and since, the BDA has continued to ask for clear financial information that would explain the basis for the now determined increase. We believe that the GDC failed to provide sufficient information to allow consultees to make an intelligent and informed response to its consultation.
- Indeed, the BDA is arguing that the consultation contained misleading and unreliable information.
- The GDC also presented the proposed fee increase as the inevitable outcome of the consultation without considering alternatives properly.
- We believe that no business case has been made for the rise, especially with a view to recently-published information that the number of cases closed at triage and investigation stage is on the rise and the number of cases going forward to a full fitness to practise (FTP) hearing declining.
- The GDC’s decision appears to have been taken on the basis of the level of reserves of the GDC rather than the projected number of FTP cases in the next few years.
- The GDC’s consultation placed a great emphasis on its forecast of an increase in complaints, but this approach now seems to have been abandoned by the GDC. The BDA argues that this means that the whole basis for the consultation and the figures therein are no longer valid.
- We have also argued that, given the level of uncertainty in its own assumptions, the GDC is irrational to seek to raise funds on the basis of a three-year forecast. The Council should ensure that it can operate effectively for the year ahead and seek to raise funds accordingly.
- In addition, none of the assumptions underlying the final decision were published until they appeared in the October Council meeting papers. The BDA has also asked for some specific information, especially in relation a report the GDC commissioned from KPMG, which has still not been disclosed.
- We asked the GDC to extend its consultation for four weeks to allow consideration of additional information not made available to consultees. We are arguing that the GDC’s refusal to do this also made the process unfair.
Some thoughts on today’s Judicial Review from BDA Chief Exec. Peter Ward: The Day of Judgement? Peter Ward Today the GDC’s decision to increase dentists’ annual retention fees by 55% will be considered by a High Court Judge. After six months of argument and counter argument both parties will have their say in front of the Court. Firstly, a decision will be made about whether the proposals put forward by the GDC in its consultation were in need of judicial review at all. And if they were, whether they were fair and lawful. If they are deemed fair, the ARF will stand as it is. If the judge finds in favour of the BDA, the GDC will be told to revert to last year’s ARF rate and so will be due to refund any moneys paid in excess of that. Our argument is that the GDC has conducted a consultation in a way that has been so unfair as to be unlawful and that, as a result, it should be overturned. This follows many other criticisms of the way the GDC has gone about its business. Whatever the result, the fact that matters can have got to such a stage means that the the profession’s relations with its regulator need to be seriously considered. These are serious proceedings and they need to be taken seriously. This is not the time for sensationalist headlines. It is a very sad state of affairs when a professional association has no option but to finish up in court trying to determine the legality of the actions of a professional regulator. What flows from these proceedings goes well beyond money and well beyond dentistry. We have been faced with a regulator making far-reaching decisions that are beyond the control of elected government The viewpoint of the GDC appears to be at odds with those of the whole profession and of government itself.
Court full ahead of start — Eddie Crouch (@EddieCrouch) December 15, 2014
No live tweeting from inside the Courtroom. However, we will try to keep you updated.
Tweets coming in thick and fast:
We’re going in
The BDA team has just entered the courtroom. Our Chair Mick Armstrong told us:
“I regret it ever came to this. We tried engaging. We gave the GDC every opportunity to change tack. But from the off the GDC has seemed determined to persist with this flawed process. It could have listened, it could have done its homework. But instead it chose to carry on regardless, and now we’re having to leave it to a judge to decide.
“Judicial Review is a big step, but we had no choice. This was always about more than just fees, and a line had to be drawn under years of heavy-handed and inefficient regulation.
“I know many members, colleagues and friends will be glued to their phones, awaiting the result. I do hope we can give you some clarity today. And I want to thank all of you, because we could never have got this far without your continued support.
“We are confident in our arguments. And win or lose, we have to take the energy and unity this challenge has generated to move forward and secure decent regulation for our profession.”
Just wanted to share some messages of support we’ve been receiving this morning:
Hi folks, updates on today’s proceedings will be appearing here, We expect to have some initial news from the court shortly.
No to GDC ARF increase
The BDA is campaigning against the GDC’s £45 million levy on the profession. We’ll take the regulator to court on 15 December. The GDC’s announcement, following a flawed consultation, that the ARF rose to £890 (a 55% increase), shocked and outraged the profession.On the 15th of December the case is due to be heard in the High Court. We will be updating this page as soon as events unfold, so check back here on the day to get the latest update:
What’s the case about?
There are a number of points being argued: Throughout the consultation and since, the BDA has continued to ask for clear financial information that would explain the basis for the now determined increase. We believe that the GDC failed to provide sufficient information to allow consultees to make an intelligent and informed response to its consultation. For more information read here.
What the BDA is seeking from the judicial review:
In summary we’re asking the court to:
- Overturn the GDC’s consultation
- Reverse the implementation of the fee rise
- Go on the record stating the GDC acted improperly
- Ensure our costs are covered
The full list of claims the BDA seeks are:
(i) Quashing the Consultation.
(ii) A declaration that the Defendant’s decision to refuse to disclose information requested in the Claimant’s Consultation response and permit a further period of consultation between 18 September and 16 October 2014 was so unfair as to be unlawful.
(iii) A declaration that the failure to disclose the instructions and information provided to KPMG, and the report itself and failing to allow a further period of consultation in the light of such disclosure was unlawful.
(iv) Quashing the decision following consultation taken on 30 October 2014 to change the ARF to £890 for dentists and £116 for DCPs.
(v) Quashing the General Dental Council (Dentists) (Fees) Regulations 2014 (and the associated Regulations in respect of DCPs) which purport to implement the fee change and revoke the 2013 Regulations.
(vi) Such further or other relief, including declaratory relief that the court thinks just.
What can I do?
- Join, if you’re not already a member
- Get up to speed with the court case
- Read our Beginners Guide to Judicial Review and watch the video with Mick Armstrong
- Members can join the debate on our Connect forum
- Use the hashtag #ARFhike when commenting on Twitter
- Lend your support to the BDA’s Facebook page
How has it come to this?
To view an interactive timeline please click here