The Investigating Committee
The role of the Investigating Committee (IC) is to consider allegations against DCP of impaired fitness to practise. The IC determines whether allegations should be referred to a practise committee for a full inquiry.
There must be a quorum of three members before an IC can meet. At least one member will be a registered dentist and one a lay member. There must also be at least one registered DCP committee member present. The IC will always meet in private and in the absence of the parties. The registrar will be present. The members for each IC session are drawn from an independently appointed pool of experience and trained members. Subject to the requirements of relevance and fairness, the IC may admit any documentary evidence and this is irrespective of whether such would be admissible in court proceedings.
The IC may require the registrar to carry out enquiries which include:
• Specific factual enquiries;
• Commissioning of medical or other expert reports; and/or
• Commissioning an assessment of the respondent’s professional performance.
The options available to an IC are:
• close the case and take no further action,
• adjourn the case for further information,
• issue a letter of advice to the registrant,
• issue a warning letter to the registrant,
• issue a warning letter to the registrant and direct that the letter should be published on the GDC website,
• (in certain circumstances) to issue a letter of advice to a third party, or
• refer the case to one of the three practice committees for a full inquiry.
The three practice committees are:
1. The Professional Conduct Committee
2. The Health Committee
3. The Professional Performance Committee
If the IC decides there should be an inquiry into the DCP’s fitness to practise, then it is open to them if they think it is necessary, to refer the allegations to the Interim Order Committee to decide whether it is necessary for an interim order to be imposed pending the outcome of a full inquiry of a practise committee.