BDA elections: Frequently asked questions
Got a question about our elections? Please try our list of FAQs below for an answer:
What's in it for me? / What will I get out of it?
That depends really. You get to try and influence the development of the profession you work in, but you also get to meet colleagues who may be able to offer advice and help in and with your career, either now or in the future.
How much will I get paid?
For Committee and Council members there is no direct payment.
Salaried members are usually able to claim time off work, whilst general practitioners are able to claim a sessional expense from their Local Dental Committee.
Principal Executive Committee positions attract an annual stipend of £15,000 per annum.
The BDA will cover reasonable travel expenses for members attending meetings.
Lunches are provided for all day meetings.
What sort of time commitment is it?
As a minimum, there will be at least two Committee or Country Council meetings per year.
The Principal Executive Committee meets five times a year.
Committee, Country Council and PEC meetings usually last all day.
Ideally you will need to commit some time before meetings to reading the relevant papers and also to liaising with constituents where appropriate.
How long are seats elected for?
Committee, Country Council, and PEC members are elected by their constituents on a three-year basis.
At the first meeting following each election the members elect a Chair and Vice-Chair to serve for the three-year term.
Do I have to be a BDA member to stand?
Only BDA members can stand for election to the PEC and Country Councils. Most of our Committees are open to non-members, apart from the Young Dentists Committee.
Will I have to read a lot of papers?
This will depend on the amount of work that is currently ongoing.
Obviously the more our representatives read the more likely they are to understand the nuances of each subject and contribute more to discussion and decision.
Will there be a lot of travelling?
Most UK-wide Committees hold their meetings at the BDA in London, the others generally meet at BDA offices in Belfast, Cardiff or Stirling.
Do I need any specific skills/experience to be on a Committee/Country Council/Principal Executive Committee?
There is no checklist as to what makes a good committee member. However, the ability to read papers, think clearly and independently, express your opinion and listen to and appreciate the opinions of others is always welcome.
What do BDA committees/Country Councils/Principal Executive Committee actually do?
The BDA is a democratic organisation and relies on the input and drive of our Committees to work towards improving the working lives of all sections of dentistry.
Our structures can seem complex, so if you aren't sure and want to know more about specific roles or who our committees are, have a look at our key terms explained.
Committees, Country Councils and the PEC each have unique roles at the BDA.
Committees are how the BDA tries to understand the everyday issues of all dentists. We take these issues and draw up policies and negotiate on things like contracts.
Country Councils are how the BDA listens to members about what sort of Association they want.
The Principal Executive Committee runs the BDA. It balances what is right for the Association with what is right for individual members, and what is right for the profession.
Who are the Committee/Country Council/Principal Executive Committee accountable to?
Committees and Country Councils have two lines of responsibility. Firstly, to their electorate, that is the practitioners that they represent and also to the BDA through the PEC to ensure that their discussions and negotiations are in the best interests of members.
How often does the Committee meet?
Committees usually meet between two and three times a year. Most Committees also have an internally elected Executive that meets in-between meetings to develop work.
Will I get training?
There is no formal training for Committee members but it can be arranged by the Committee Secretary if it is thought to be helpful. There is also an informal committee buddying/mentoring process, to help give you support and advice if needed.
Will there any public-speaking or media appearances?
Not necessarily. Ideally all committee members will contribute to discussions at meetings. Outside of meetings, there is no obligation on members to speak at other meetings, but obviously if they can it helps spread the message of what the BDA is trying to achieve.
Chairs and vice-chairs are occasionally asked to do media interviews and expenses are provided for travel.
The BDA's experienced media team is on hand to support you for any public speaking or media appearances and training and support is provided, if you are asked to do this.
What have elected representatives gone on to do?
We think our elected representatives get a lot out of the experience of standing and making a difference. Some have gone on to quite powerful roles in dental politics in the UK.
We hope some of our younger members will start by taking part in the Young Dentists Committee and progress through to relevant field of practice committees (like the General Dental Practice Committee or one of the country community dentist committees) and then later on, stand for our Principal Executive Committee.
What kind of skills does being on a BDA Committee/Country Council/PEC give me?
You'll get to learn about current issues in dental politics and you'll learn valuable negotiating skills. It's also a great networking opportunity – you'll get to meet dentists from other fields of practice, and from across the UK.
You'll also get a sense of satisfaction that you are making a difference and influencing the future direction of dentistry and the BDA.
Did we answer your question?
We hope we've answered your question/s, if not please email our elections team or tel 0207 563 4141.