This year, the Dental Council carried out a comprehensive review of its strategic framework – the vision and outcomes it is working towards and the values and principles it operates by.
The new framework is designed to give greater transparency to practitioners and the public about what we intend to achieve in the coming years and how we will work to achieve this. The framework will guide where we focus our resources and effort, and provide a basis against which our progress and effectiveness can be measured.
The Council’s purpose is to protect public health and safety by ensuring oral health professionals are safe, competent and fit to practise. This is our number-one priority and drives everything we do.
The new framework will help us strike the right balance between protecting public safety and having regulatory activity that is fair, justified and proportionate. By being clear about our vision and outcomes, we will have the greatest positive effect for the public without imposing an undue burden on practitioners. In this way, the framework lays the groundwork for increasing our effectiveness as a regulator.
The new strategic framework has informed the Council’s five-year strategic plan. The plan for 2015–2020 sets out five new strategic priorities to help bridge the gap between where we are now and the results our stakeholders expect from us. Over time, these priorities will change to reflect new opportunities, challenges and circumstances.
To achieve our strategic priorities during 2016/17, we will focus on the following areas.
The Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners describes the minimum standards of ethical conduct and clinical and cultural competence that patients and the public can expect from oral health practitioners. The framework was implemented earlier this year and forms the foundation for the setting of Council standards in the future.
Next year, we will develop and review the following four practice standards:
We want to grow the Council’s engagement with practitioners, stakeholders and the people it ultimately serves, the public.
We have already started by asking practitioners and stakeholders for their views on our effectiveness in this area and how they would prefer to communicate with us in the future.
We will be more active and engaged, with a greater presence at practitioner and district health board events and conferences.
We will also establish a consumer forum to make it easier for the public to engage with us.
The Council sets standards for entry into the profession as well as the standards a registered practitioner is required to comply with while practising in New Zealand. A major component of these standards is to maintain competence through lifelong learning. We are not convinced the current continuing professional development system is providing the proper assurance to do this; we need a smarter and more robust approach.
Over the next year, we will start the review of recertification, including annual renewals and continuing professional development, as well as developing options for a future recertification framework and quality assurance system.
We are committed to ensuring the Council is in the best shape possible to perform and deliver.
Over the next year, we will review resourcing and capability, core policy areas and processes.
We will also begin to introduce an information technology system to save practitioners time and money and support smarter delivery of our functions – for example, online, real-time delivery of services, such as annual practising certificates to practitioners.
Effective governance is part of being an effective regulator. The Council made a governance model change in 2011 with the disbanding of the workforce boards. Four years on, it is time to take a fresh look at our governance arrangements.
The Council has considered independent advice on its governance model and is in the process of embedding a new model.
In addition, with several current Council members’ terms expiring, we will also focus on inducting our new Council members.