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Fitness to practise decisions - scrutiny and quality assurance

The GDC has a robust dual system of scrutiny and quality assurance for decisions leading to case outcome in fitness to practise cases. It has two well established senior-level groups. The first scrutinises a sample of all cases, so that we can monitor what’s happening across the board, and the second quality assures cases where our staff (including the audit teams) have raised questions about what happened.

The Decision Scrutiny Group (DSG)

The DSG is designed to scrutinise decisions, identify and share learning points within the GDC, and monitor progress against recommended improvements.
 
A random monthly sample of decisions taken within each stage of fitness to practise case progression are reviewed. The DSG, which meets quarterly and has an independent Chair, reviews a random sample of those decision reviews to assess whether processes were correctly followed and whether each decision was within a reasonable range of expected outcomes.
 
In addition to this decision scrutiny the DSG also highlights good practice, or where improvements can be made, and identifies themes or trends. The random sampling provides a reliable statistical baseline against which to monitor performance.
 

In addition to the independent chair, DSG’s membership is made up of GDC employees from across Fitness to Practise, Legal and Governance, and Strategy.

The Quality Assurance Group (QAG)

QAG’s role is to review fitness to practise case decisions and outcomes which have been referred over the previous month, to identify what went well and what could have gone better. 
 
In addition to sharing learning points internally, QAG also identifies decisions which are felt to be outside the reasonable range of outcomes and need to be referred through the Rule 9 process (an internal legal review), or to the Professional Standards Authority for their review and potential appeal (to note that the GDC holds no legal powers to appeal determinations from fitness to practise committees).
 
QAG’s membership is made up of GDC employees from across Fitness to Practise, Legal and Governance, and Strategy, and also includes a regulatory lawyer from an external organisation, providing an independent voice. The Chair of QAG is the Executive Director, Strategy.