Privacy

Privacy notice

This is the privacy notice for the Dental Professionals Hearings Service (the Hearings Service). It tells you what information we hold about you and how we use it, explaining this is part of our responsibility under data protection law.

We will give you a more detailed explanation when we need to, for example when we collect information from you because you are involved in a hearing.

The Hearings Service is funded by the GDC and is run independently from the GDC’s investigatory function.

Our main purpose is to provide an independent adjudications function for fitness to practise concerns raised against dental professionals. This involves arranging and running hearings to determine whether the dental professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired.

Hearings form the final stage of the fitness to practise process. The Hearings Service plays no part in the investigatory work of the GDC. However, the GDC is still responsible for the information that we use. This means that under data protection law, the GDC is the ‘controller’ of the information about you.

You can find more information about how the GDC use information on their privacy notice.

We are accredited to international information security standards, which means that we will keep your information safe and secure.

The information we collect and create

We are required under the Dentist Act 1984 to be provided with information for the purpose of holding hearings.

We facilitate all hearings that are referred to us by the GDC. This means that we may be in contact with all parties involved, including the dental professional, their legal representatives the GDC legal team and their representatives and any witnesses that are required to attend.

When a hearing does take place we will need to collect some personal data including the name, and contact details of those attending the hearing. Most of this is provided to us by the GDC.

We provide the committee panel members with ‘hearing bundles’, which include all of the evidence for the hearing. This information is stored electronically on our case management system.

We hold information about decisions taken by the Health, Professional Conduct and Professional Performance Committees, the Interim Orders Committee, and the Registration Appeal Committee. More information on these different committees can be found in the hearings section on our website.

These decisions are about people we regulate, our registrants. In addition, we hold information about a dental professionals’ health and criminal convictions where it is relevant to the concern we’re considering.

We also hold information about patients and members of the public, including medical records, where it has been provided as part of the investigation or when we hold a hearing. Most of our hearings (including those considering interim orders or resumed hearings) take place in public. This means that any member of the public, or press, can ask us to attend any of our hearings if they wish to. During a hearing personal information about the dental professional or witnesses who attend the hearing may be shared. All our hearing determinations are published which means they are in the public domain.

During the hearing, details of the relevant allegations that have been raised will be provided to the committee: This may include special category data or criminal conviction data about registrants, complainants, or relevant third parties.

Where a dental professional is legally represented in connection with a fitness to practise investigation, we may ask for the individual’s consent to disclose any information about the investigation to their legal representative. This means that any information we disclose is only given once the individual has given their consent (or, in relation to special category personal data, has given explicit consent).

Otherwise, we only process any personal data in connection with fitness to practise when that processing is necessary for us to complete our legal obligations. This means we can do the things we are required to do, by law, under the Dentists Act.

Where we process special category personal data or criminal convictions data, including allegations, in connection with fitness to practise, then we do so on the basis that: the processing is necessary for the GDC’s statutory functions in relation to fitness to practise; and that it is in the substantial public interest. This means that we are meeting a public benefit from our work.

In some cases, the provision of information to the GDC in connection with fitness to practise will be a statutory requirement (in accordance to the GDCs powers in relation to fitness to practise). Where a dental professional fails to provide information, or provides inaccurate information, then this may in itself give rise to a fitness to practise complaint against them.

The information is stored in a Customer Records Management system and the GDC's secure servers.

How we use information

The Committees managed by the Dental Professionals Hearings Service use information for the purpose of determining whether a dental professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired or is impaired.

We’re responsible for making sure decisions made by our Professional Conduct Committees and Interim Orders Committees are reflected on the dental registers.

Where dental professionals and witnesses cannot be identified we may develop anonymised case studies to assist in the learning and development of our staff and panellists. Information from the concerns the Hearings Service receives will be used by us to publish an annual report on our work and performance.

How we share information

We publish hearing outcomes on our website, the GDC’s website and in some cases on the dental registers. You can find more information about how we publish information, including relevant time periods, in the Disclosure and Publication Policy (gdc-uk.org).
In addition, we have contracts with other organisations to carry out activities or services on our behalf such as interpreters and loggers of transcripts from the hearings. If we need to share information with them, we make sure they:

  • are only provided with the information they need to carry out the service
  • agree not to use the information received from us for any other purpose than those specified by us
  • have the proper systems in place to protect personal data.

What rights do I have?

Under data protection law, primarily the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018, you have rights over the information about you we hold.

  • You can ask us to give you access to personal data about yourself that is held by the GDC.
  • You can ask for personal data about you that is held to be erased.
  • You can ask us to restrict the processing of personal data about you, so that the data will only be used for limited purposes (which are set out in the GDPR).
  • You can object to the processing of your personal data.
  • You can ask for personal data about yourself that you have provided us to be provided to you in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format, and you can transmit that data to another data controller.

You can make a request for any of these by contacting us at info@dentalhearings.org.

You can contact the GDC's Data Protection Officer by emailing: DPO@gdc-uk.org, or find more information on the GDC Privacy Notice. Privacy (gdc-uk.org)

You can find out more about your rights on the Information Commissioners Office website.