Fear and faith at the GDC
 

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Fear and faith at the GDC

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Fear and faith at the GDC

 

Fear and faith at the GDC

The key to economic success for any society anywhere in the world is security and the key to security is law and order. We have got used to living in a secure, economically successful society where if you walk down the street you are unlikely to be attacked, if you pay money into the bank it isn’t stolen and when you get home it hasn’t been annexed by a gun-toting warlord.

In addition to employing an effective policing and justice system and various other measures, the most far-reaching, versatile and flexible instrument that society uses for creating the prized peace-of-mind that we have come to expect is institutional regulation backed by law.

No area of life in the UK escapes embrace by tentacles of the regulation industry. Without the assurance of regulation, our complex lives would rapidly slide into meltdown. Unless you grow the ingredients yourself, how do you know the sandwich you’re munching while reading this is safe to eat?

Regulation is so fundamental to our daily lives that government established ‘The Better Regulation Task Force’ to provide it with independent advice on the subject. Since 1997 this group has published three reports with recommendations for better regulation within the UK and European Union.

What is clear from these reports and others is that while there is no universal regulatory formula effective in every sector, all regulatory models fall between two extremes.

On the one hand the deterrent model adopts an authoritarian approach, assuming that all regulatees (registrants) are rogues and not to be trusted. Control is achieved by fear - a powerful deterrent in itself. Detailed written standards are enforced by formal inspections and sanctions.

The alternative model depends on compliance, assuming that registrants are normally well-intentioned and competent. Here the regulator appears supportive, aiming to prevent problems with a developmental approach to inspections, only using penalties as a last resort.

Whilst the first model relies on fear and the second on faith, it is probable that effective regulation includes elements from both extremes and the GDC in its mission to evaluate its own function and performance has, in a series of workshops this summer, decided to ask itself where exactly it comes on this continuum and what regulatory model works best for dentistry.

 Posted on : Wed 7th - Jun - 2006

 

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