Our year in review
About the ADC
We are assigned the accreditation functions for the dental professions by the Dental Board of Australia (DBA) under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).
Through our role, we are responsible for:
- Accrediting education and training programs leading to registration as a dentist, dental specialist, dental hygienist, dental therapist, oral health therapist, and dental prosthetist.
- Developing accreditation standards, policies, and procedures for Australian-based dental practitioner programs.
- Developing standards, policies and procedures for the assessment of qualifications and skills of overseas trained dental practitioners, excluding dental specialists, seeking registration to practise in Australia.
- Assessing the professional qualifications, knowledge, judgement, and clinical skills of overseas trained dental practitioners, excluding dental specialists, for the purposes of eligibility to apply for registration to practise in Australia.
A not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, the ADC holds charity status under the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. The organisation is also registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The ADC is funded by a grant from the DBA and through fee for service activities. Current members of the ADC include key professional bodies, academic bodies, and other individual members of the Australian dental professions.
Message from the Chair
It’s been a privilege to be on the Board of Directors and help steer the Australian Dental Council (ADC) over the past nine years, including as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the past year.
Over the time I’ve served, the ADC has changed significantly.
The organisation has always been incredibly strong in its role of accreditation of dental programs and assessment of overseas qualified dental practitioners. But what I’ve seen, particularly in the last few years, is that it’s now arguably one of the leading accreditation authorities in Australia across all health professions.
I’m always encouraged to see other health professions within Australia, or internationally, come to us to learn about the experience and expertise of the Australian Dental Council and its work in accreditation. Through our membership on the Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative (HPAC) Forum, currently chaired by ADC CEO, Narelle Mills, I have observed the high regard in which the ADC is held by our peers and other stakeholders.
On a personal level, I was fortunate to chair the review of the Professional Competencies of the newly qualified dental practitioner (the Competencies) in 2021.
This was an incredible piece of work, which brought together a diverse stakeholder group. The ADC, in its role of custodian of the Competencies, led the stakeholder group to ensure we have contemporary and appropriate competencies for the oral health needs of all Australians. It’s important that oral health needs are linked to general health needs.
All dental stakeholders should be proud of the outcome, which saw the consolidation of the competencies into a single document for all dental professions. In doing this we’ve reinforced the importance of intra and interprofessional collaborative practice.
There’s also a greater focus on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a priority population at greater risk of poor oral and general health outcomes.
Cultural safety is a key focus for the board, and as Chair, I’ve seen this being embedded in all levels of decision-making in the organisation. The launch of ADC’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan in May this year was a major achievement for the organisation. We have a very important role to play in cultural safety and I believe now with the implementation a number of initiatives, underpinned by the RAP, that we’re well on the way.
This aligns well with work ADC CEO Narelle Mills has been leading as chair of the HPAC Forum to develop shared assessor training across all 15 accreditation authorities to embed cultural safety in the assessor role. This is a real opportunity to learn from and with our accreditation colleagues and to embed cultural safety across health education in Australia.
This year the Board continued its focus on expanding the role of our People and Culture Committee, evolving from our original Nominations Committee, and has seen us moving beyond succession planning for the Board, to a broader consideration of people across the ADC.
The focus and attention on ADC’s people have been central to the activities of this committee and the new directorate within the organisation. I’ve been incredibly proud – and I can say this on behalf of all the Board – of the ability of the ADC to respond to the challenges of the past two years including the commitment to the values and culture of the ADC by all staff.
The Board membership has changed over the past nine years in quite profound ways. There’s been a large focus in diversity and inclusion, and that’s certainly enhanced the decision-making capability of our skills-based board and turned our attention to risk management and development of strategy.
At the end of 2021, we published our Strategic Plan 2022 – 2024, a three-year focus which continues to position the ADC for success. Anchored around our pillars of innovation, leadership, quality and social responsibility, underpinned by the ADC values, the organisation is well positioned to strengthen its leadership in accreditation and assessments nationally and internationally.
I would like to thank all the Directors on the Board for their hard work and dedication throughout 2022 and their role in supporting the vision of the Australian Dental Council.
In November 2021, we welcomed Leah Hobbs and Rohan Krishnan to the Board. Leah Hobbs is an Oral Health Therapist with extensive experience in the public, private and academic sectors, with a focus on improving access to dental care for vulnerable populations, increasing consumers’ oral health literacy and providing quality safe dental care.
Dr Rohan Krishnan is a general dentist and practice owner. He is the President at The Australian Dental Association NSW (October 2022) and Chair of Filling the Gap.
As I move on from my role as Chair, the ADC Board of Directors is in great hands with current Deputy Chair Dr Chris Bourke moving into the role of Chair and Dr Janet Preuss stepping into the Deputy Chair role.
I also want to acknowledge two of my colleagues who are also leaving the Board; Dr David Sykes OAM, and Tony Evans. I’d like to thank them for their valued contribution to the ADC over their many years.
Three new Board Directors will be joining at the end of November.
Jamie Williamson has worked in health and community services in Aboriginal community-controlled and not for profit sectors, and in government. He is a Budawang Yuin man from the New South Wales south coast.
Dr Naser Albarbari has a wealth of experience both in the dental profession but also in commercial endeavours, clinical and organisational governance and strategic guidance.
Dr Kate Amos, a rural dentist has had experience with membership organisations as the director of a dental clinic in regional NSW. Dr Amos has been contributing to the ADC for many years as an accreditation assessor and currently serves on the Accreditation Committee.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to express our appreciation to the ADC team for their commitment and hard work. I would like to especially thank ADC Chief Executive Officer Narelle Mills for her leadership, over once again a challenging year and look forward to observing the ongoing successes of the ADC.
Professor Christopher Peck
Message from the CEO
As I write this Chief Executive Officer message, COVID-19 lockdowns and government mandated restrictions have ended. The ADC is located in Melbourne, Victoria, so the sense of relief and freedom this brings to us all cannot be overstated. Over the past year we have implemented many measures across the organisation to stay safe. We’ve built COVID-19 policies into our examination and accreditation activities with our key stakeholders, our candidates, and education providers in mind, to ensure we’ve remained responsive to this changing environment over the past 12 months.
Our examinations team has continued to deliver examinations as an essential service through multiple lockdowns and work from home orders. The accreditation team has also completed an impressive schedule of activity, reaccrediting 12 programs in the year. The continuation of our accreditation activities during the pandemic is a testament to the commitment of everyone at the ADC.
In May we launched our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). I consider this to be one of those moments I am proudest of during my six years at the ADC. Our commitment to reconciliation has existed for many years, however the launch of our Reflect RAP demonstrates this, including external measurement of how we are embedding this commitment in all decision making in the ADC. As we implement the Reflect RAP, we will commence consideration of how to move to the Innovate stage and further our understanding of and commitment to reconciliation.
Cultural safety training continues to be rolled out to our Board, Committees and Staff. Early next year we will be bringing together our Assessors, Examiners and Item Writers for a conference where cultural safety will be key to the agenda.
Alongside my work as CEO at the Australian Dental Council, I have been privileged to continue in my role as Chair of the Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative (HPAC) Forum.
There’s been an increased focus on health workforce and the role of accreditation in producing the health workforce of the future, especially against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the impacts of burn out on health practitioners. Accreditation is an important lever within the health system and the ADC continues to consider how we contribute to these important discussions.
While we have great regard for the focus the outcomes of the accreditation systems review shone a light on, including effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, there is an increasing focus on other aspects of the objectives and guiding principles of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, including innovation, responsiveness and access to care.
I would like to thank our Examiners, Assessors, Item Writers, and Committee Members for their support. Once again, you have been flexible and supportive as we worked to yet another ‘new normal’ and dealt with demand from lockdowns. Your knowledge and experience ensure that we perform our role to the highest standards for the benefit of the Australian public.
Thank you to Professor Chris Peck and the ADC Board of Directors for their support this year. The Board has provided unwavering support to me and the senior leadership team as we negotiated the uncertainty of COVID-19.
During the year we said farewell to Mark Ford, Director, Accreditation and Quality Assurance and Tara Waller, Director People and Culture. Mark departed the ADC after an impressive eight years. Mark commenced as a Senior Accreditation Officer and made a profound contribution to ADC accreditation, including his integral role in the 2014 accreditation standards review. Tara Waller commenced at the ADC as the inaugural Director, People & Culture and delivered an impressive body of work establishing the People and Culture directorate and leading the development, and approval, of ADC’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.
Philippa Davis, Director, Accreditation, Policy and Research joined us in January 2022. Pip brings extensive experience in medical education, working across a variety of health disciplines including general practice, nursing, paramedicine and surgery to the ADC.
To the Senior Leadership Team, Dianne, Veronica and Philippa, thank you. I value your contribution to the leadership of the ADC and your support to me as CEO. Thank you once again for a wonderful year with much to celebrate.
I would also like to thank all the ADC team. While this year has been less disrupted than the preceding few years, your commitment and professionalism has helped make the road smoother for our candidates and other stakeholders, and you have also continued to look out for each other once again.
Chief Executive Officer, ADC
Our Strategic Plan 2022–2024
To strengthen our leadership in accreditation and assessment nationally and internationally.
Key Result Areas
We pursue and engage in activities and initiatives that demonstrate and confirm our leadership
We pursue and initiate activities that continuously improve the quality of our services
We are curious and harness innovation to create new opportunities
We make decisions that are ethical, safe, sustainable
Board of Directors
Professor Christopher Peck
Chair and Director
Dr Chris Bourke
Deputy Chair and Director
Dr David Sykes OAM
Associate Professor Deborah Cockrell AM
Dr Felicia Valianatos
Dr Janet Preuss
Dr Rohan Krishnan
Senior Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer
Director, Corporate Services
Director, Assessments and Examinations
Director, Accreditation, Policy and Research
Director, People and Culture
Revised Professional Competencies of the newly qualified dental practitioner
In April 2022 the ADC launched revisions to the Professional competencies of the newly qualified dental practitioner (the Competencies).
The revised Competencies have an increased focus on the provision of culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and reinforce the inclusion of Domain 6: Cultural Safety in the ADC/Dental Council (New Zealand) Accreditation standards for dental practitioners (the Standards) in 2021.
Another significant change is the alignment of the Competencies for dentists, oral health therapists, dental hygienists, dental therapists and dental prosthetists into one consolidated document.
This change reinforces the importance of professionalism, communication, leadership and critical thinking as core skills for all dental practitioner divisions. It also supports collaborative team practice by facilitating a better understanding of competencies across the different dental practitioner divisions.
Other revisions to the Competencies include:
- the introduction of a definition for ‘interprofessional collaborative practice’ to better articulate the expectations of the newly qualified dental practitioner
- the inclusion of a definition for ‘groups or populations at increased risk of harm or poor oral health’ and ‘person-centred care’ to recognise the shift within the broader health system to support individuals in making decisions about their own healthcare
- the introduction of the concept of social responsibility
- clarification on the role of dental practitioners in supporting sustainable healthcare delivery
- preparedness of practitioners to practice in rural and remote communities.
The review included the establishment of a dedicated advisory committee with broad membership from the dental professions, regulators, consumers, dental students and employers. The purpose was to ensure the Competencies remain contemporary benchmarks of what is expected of a newly qualified dental practitioner in Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives on the committee included Dr Chris Bourke, a Gamillaroi man, ADC Board Director and Accreditation Committee member, and the first Indigenous dentist in Australia, and Ms Jacqui Gibson-Roos, a Wongatha woman and a community member of the Dental Board of Australia.
The revised competencies will come into effect for program accreditation from 1 July 2023.
Overseas qualified dental practitioners will be assessed against the revised competencies from September 2023.
Reconciliation Action Plan
Our vision for reconciliation is a healthcare system free of racism where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are respected, and First Nations knowledges are embedded in the education and assessment of dental practitioners in Australia.
The launch of the Reflect RAP in May 2022 was a major milestone in the ADC’s journey towards reconciliation. It shapes the organisation’s vision for reconciliation and establishes the foundation for future RAPs that are meaningful, mutually beneficial, and sustainable.
The RAP outlines future commitments the ADC will make to continue to uplift the capability of ADC personnel in cultural safety, including ongoing training.
The launch event was hosted by Dr Chris Bourke, Deputy Chair and proud Gamillaroi man who welcomed the Djirri Djirri Dance Group to commence the celebration with an Acknowledgement of Country.
The launch included the unveiling of the ADC-commissioned reconciliation artwork by artist Lani Balzan, a Wiradjuri woman of the three-river tribe from the Mudgee area, that represents the ADC’s role in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
As part of the responsibilities of the ADC as an accreditation authority in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS), the ADC has supported the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy, which includes several initiatives the ADC is working to achieve by 2025. These initiatives include increasing Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander voices in ADC decision making, embedding the definition of cultural safety in our accreditation standard and competencies, and embedding cultural safety training across the organisation. These initiatives are underpinned by key performance indicators (KPIs) embedded in the ADC agreement with Ahpra on behalf of the Dental Board of Australia requiring the ADC to demonstrate, through action, progress against these important initiatives.
Cross-professionally, the ADC CEO, Narelle Mills, is leading the HPAC Forum work to develop online cultural safety training for accreditation teams. This project will commission the development of cultural safety training for accreditation contributors across the professions and is expected to be rolled out in 2023.
The RAP Working Group is progressing the reconciliation journey, transitioning to the next phase of the RAP; Innovate. The Innovate RAP will focus on developing and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, engaging staff and stakeholders in reconciliation and developing and piloting strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Response to COVID-19
While COVID-19 lockdowns came to an end, the virus has not gone away. The ADC remains committed to the safety of its team and our candidates. COVID-19 preventative controls and risk mitigation strategies have continued to be a focus for management.
The ADC’s protocol to monitor the impacts on accredited programs of the COVID-19 pandemic remained in place until the end of 2021.
The COVID-19 monitoring reports were extremely important throughout the pandemic and enabled the ADC to focus its monitoring activities on emerging trends and issues impacting dental programs and their ability to meet the Accreditation Standards.
The November 2021 reports showed that, while several providers continued to experience disruptions due to the ongoing closure of clinics, overall, the pace of change due to COVID-19 disruptions had slowed.
Providers reported either no significant change since the last reporting period, or, where changes had occurred, they could be addressed in line with the ADC’s regular monitoring protocols, including those related to material changes.
The ADC resumed its usual program monitoring framework from 2022 onwards.
Measures put in place to support candidates and mitigate delays caused by the pandemic included:
- Increasing resources to reduce processing times for initial applications
- Extending the validity of the written examination for some candidates by a further year
- Increasing the number of practical examination sessions
- Inviting candidates residing overseas to apply for the practical examination as soon as international borders re-opened
- Reviewing the Assessments and examinations withdrawal procedure to offer full refunds of examination fees to candidates unable to attend their scheduled examination session due to COVID-19.
To keep everyone safe at the ADC Examination Centre, we required all candidates to wear surgical P2/N95/ KN95 masks, show proof of vaccination and evidence of a negative PCR test. From January, rapid antigen testing replaced PRC tests and we provided candidates, examiners and ADC staff with RAT kits prior to each examination.
programs this year
accredited programs in Australia
dental education providers in Australia
A Framework for Understanding and Evaluating the Impact of Dental Program Accreditation Research
In 2021 the ADC commissioned RAND Corporation to develop a framework to help us understand and evaluate our accreditation-related work and to assess the impact accreditation has on the oral health of the Australian population, and the field of professional accreditation.
Despite the widespread implementation of professional accreditation globally, we recognised there was a limited evidence base regarding the impact of accreditation and how to demonstrate this.
A Framework for Understanding and Evaluating the Impact of Dental Program Accreditation was published in June 2022.
The goal of the research was to demonstrate that the ADC’s continuous improvement approach generates strategic impact.
Key findings of the research were:
- The ADC’s accreditation reports provide an essential, directive mechanism of impact. However, this research has demonstrated the ways in which the ADC can achieve its desired outcomes and impacts are much broader than this.
- Anticipatory impact mechanisms will always be a function of the accreditation process; however, our findings suggest that the ADC’s approach and the resources they provide strengthen this in a positive way.
- The ADC’s activities also appear to generate impact via strong strategic and stakeholder mechanisms, which is anticipated given that continuous improvement and stakeholder engagement are at the core of the ADC’s approach. Perhaps less anticipated were the findings regarding relational impact mechanisms, which highlighted the importance of face-to-face meetings between the ADC staff and providers.
This project is the first step for us in a longer process to develop a framework for understanding and evaluating the impact of the ADC’s program accreditation activities.
The next step will be to further test and refine the framework through broader stakeholder consultation.
|Associate Professor Deborah Cockrell AM||Chair|
|Associate Professor Werner Bischof AM||Dental practitioner (periodontist, academic)|
|Dr Kate Amos||Dental practitioner (dentist)|
|Dr Chris Bourke||Dental practitioner (dentist), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative|
|Kelly Clemente||Dental practitioner (dental hygienist)|
|Jan Connolly||Community representative|
|Tony Evans||Community representative|
|Kate Thomas||Community representative|
|Phillip Nguyen||Student representative (until December 2021)|
|Joanne Ling||Student representative (from January 2022)|
Assessments and examinations
We received and processed
We delivered written exams for
candidates at more than 40 venues across 18 countries
We delivered practical exams for
candidates at the ADC Examination Centre in Melbourne
We used more than
rapid antigen tests at the ADC Examination Centre in Melbourne
Focus on our candidates
Our focus has been on improved communication and engagement with candidates, in order to support them effectively across all three stages of the ADC assessment process.
This year we launched a quarterly newsletter, named by candidates as The Candidate Lounge, which keeps the candidate cohort informed of application periods, examination schedules, and any other relevant news and updates about the ADC and the assessment process.
We also introduced brief surveys following completion of each stage of the ADC assessment process to get regular and timely feedback. We used the information collected to make process improvements and enhance our candidates’ experience. Our next step is to establish a candidate reference group to assist with the design, delivery, and implementation of further improvements.
Revised written exam
The first delivery of the revised written examination took place in September 2021, following completion of the comprehensive review of the written examination in November 2020,
Key features of revised written examination included:
- a reduction in the number questions
- all questions in the scenario-based, single-best-answer multiple choice question format
- a revised blueprint, aligned to the current Professional competencies of the newly qualified dentist that indicates the target percentage of questions to be included in each examination for each discipline, domain and sub-discipline
- a change from a pass required per paper to a pass required per domain cluster.
The revised written examination was designed to provide candidates with a greater opportunity to showcase their application of knowledge of the science and practice of dentistry in a clinical situation and to pass the examination by their performance across the entire examination, rather than by paper.
Changes to the written examination were communicated to candidates in May 2021. The handbook for the ADC written examination was revised and made available to candidates at the same time, along with an example question of the new format.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) facilitated workshops with experienced examiners and members of the Blueprinting Expert Reference Group following each examination to review the psychometrics and internal validity of the revised written examination, set the standards for minimally competent candidates, and establish the appropriate pass mark.
In line with best practice, a modified Angoff method was adopted, and multiple rounds of ratings completed before determining the final pass mark for each examination.
Assessments and examinations statistics
The number of new initial assessments received and processed from July 2021 to June 2022 doubled compared to the previous two financial years.
Amount of initial assesment applications (all professions)
*Initial assessment processing was postponed for periods in the 2020 and 2021 financial years due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions introduced by the Victorian Government.
Where our applications came from
Two written examination sessions were held in the 2022 financial year and candidates were able to complete the computer-based examination at more than 40 venues across 18 countries.
Written examination locations
Written examination results FY2020-FY2022
*Only one written examination was held in the 2020 financial year due to the postponement of the March 2020 examination due to evolving COVID-19 situation.
Fifty-four practical examination sessions were held in the 2022 financial year for general dentistry practical examinations. Strict COVID-safe protocols were followed throughout the year and over 2200 Rapid Antigen Tests were used at the ADC Examination Centre in Melbourne for the practical examination. The practical examination pass rate in FY2022 was 27%. A practical examination for dental hygiene was held for 2 candidates in June 2022.
Practical examination session and attendance FY2020-FY2022
|Number of sessions held||40||27||54|
*Select practical examinations scheduled in 2020 and 2021 were postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions
Practical examination results FY2020-FY2022
Practical examination results by cluster FY2020-FY2022
|Dr Felicia Valianatos||Chair (from November 2021)|
|Associate Professor Cathy Snelling||Chair (until November 2021)|
|Associate Professor John Boucher AM||Dental practitioner|
|Associate Professor James Dudley||Dental practitioner (specialist)|
|James Farrugia||Community representative|
|Paul Geyer||Community representative|
|Dr Mildred Ortiz-Solarte||Dental practitioner, recent ADC examination candidate|
|Dr Mark Rowe||Community representative|
|Dr Tom Tseng||Dental practitioner|
We launched ADC Connect in December 2021. This major IT project saw our paper-based forms and manual processes moved to a digital platform.
Our applicants can now upload identification and certification documents online, removing the expense and time constraints of international couriers. And we can process applications much faster.
Candidates can check the progress of their results and education providers have access to dates for reaccreditation.
ADC Connect also has portals for examiners, assessors, article writers and board and committee members.
The staged roll-out of the platform across all ADC stakeholder groups was completed mid-2022.
Advancing the post-lockdown workplace and building leadership skills
The People and Culture team has created workplace policies to attract and retain a great team at the ADC, and we’re building our leadership capability within the organisation.
We have focused on attraction and retention policies to meet the changes of post-lockdown life and expectations for the ADC team, including progression of hybrid working models and additional leave to support employee work-life balance and health and wellbeing.
We’ve also been advancing the ADC’s key result area of Leadership, with a development program for leaders within our organisation planned to commence in October 2022.
In September 2021, the revised complaints management framework was approved by the ADC Board, covering grievances, harassment, bullying and discrimination, poor performance, misconduct and sexual harassment policies.
People and Culture Committee
|Professor Chris Peck||Chair (from November 2021)|
|Professor Lindsay Richards||Chair (until November 2021)|
|Associate Professor Deborah Cockrell AM||Chair Accreditation Committee|
|Peter Gibson||Independent member|
|Dr Janet Preuss||Board Director, non-dental practitioner|
|Associate Professor Cathy Snelling||Chair Assessment Committee (until November 2021)|
|Dr Felicia Valianatos||Chair Assessment Committee (from November 2021)|
Finance and Risk Management Committee
|Samantha Challinor||Independent member|
|Professor Chris Peck||Board Director (until November 2021)|
|Dr Janet Preuss||Board Director (from November 2021)|
|Lucy Vincent||Board Director (from November 2021)|
Statement of income and expenditure
|Rent and tenancy expenses||(0.24)||(0.12)|
|Lease interest expense||(0.05)||(0.10)|
|Surplus/(deficit) for the year||(0.68)||(0.90)|
Extracted from 30 June 2022 financial statements
Statement of financial position
|Cash at bank and term deposits||12.70||12.09|
|Debtors and prepayments||0.20||0.12|
|Total current assets||12.90||12.21|
|Fixed assets (plant and equipment)||0.79||1.13|
|Total non-current assets||1.03||1.85|
|Lease liabilities and make good provision||0.44||0.45|
|Creditors and other liabilities||3.49||2.50|
|Employee benefit provisions||0.23||0.25|
|Total current liabilities||4.16||3.20|
|Lease liabilities and make good provision||–||0.44|
|Employee benefit provisions||0.06||0.04|
|Total non-current liabilities||0.06||0.48|
Extracted from 30 June 2022 financial statements