Core performance Standards for the responsible authorities

Jurisdictions overseas tend to provide more scrutiny of their health regulators than currently happens in New Zealand (1)

When the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) was amended in 2019, the requirement for independent performance reviews of responsible authorities (e.g. Dental Council New Zealand (DCNZ)) was introduced. 

Earlier (2009), the Director-General of Health reported to the Minister of Health concerns about the performance and decisions of some responsible authorities.  Some of those concerns arose through inadequate understanding of the roles and responsibilities of 'responsible authorities', while others related to poor communication with stakeholders. Amongst other things the report suggested the Ministry of Health (MoH) could develop, in consultation with the responsible authorities and sector stakeholders, a set of indicators of best practice to measure authorities' effectiveness.

MoH recently issued a consultation document to consider terms of reference for future reviews of responsible authorities (DCNZ included) and in doing so stated:

 'the establishment of professional regulation under the Act seeks to strike a balance between professional and public-led processes. There is a risk that this balance may not be appropriately maintained, and that a responsible authority could become subject to a level of regulatory capture that may undermine impartiality.'

 'as well as knowing that the Act exists to protect the safety of the public, stakeholders—practitioners, consumers, and employers—need to know that using the provisions in the Act will have timely, consistent, and impartial outcomes. They can only have this confidence if there is a level of transparency about the operations of responsible authorities that provides evidence of such outcomes.'

The NZDA’s response to the Ministry of Health consultation (July 2020 and listed under their headings)

View NZDA response

(1) MoH consultation document