Go to content

1. Introduction

This Privacy Notice explains the types of personal data we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we’ll store and handle that data, and importantly, how we’ll keep it safe.

We want you to be fully informed about your rights, and how the British Dental Association (BDA) uses your data.

We hope this Notice will answer any questions you have but if not, please do get in touch with us.

When this Privacy Notice changes we will notify you.

2. What is the British Dental Association?

The British Dental Association is a professional body and trade union, and our duty is to serve the needs of our members. We believe that together, we can achieve more than we could individually.

We are committed to: 

  • Supporting our members throughout their professional lives.
  • Using our influence for the benefit of members, the dental profession and patients.
  • Sharing our collective knowledge and expertise. 
  • Placing members at the heart of everything we do.
  • The principle that together, we are stronger.

For simplicity throughout this notice, ‘we’ and ‘us; refers to the British Dental Association.

3. The legal bases we operate on

The law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which a company may collect and process your personal data, including:


In specific situations, we can collect and process your data with your consent. To provide you with the best possible membership experience you can consent to receive newsletters to stay up-to-date with what the we are doing on your behalf, or the services you can make use of to be a professional dentist. These are known as ‘marketing mailing preferences’ and apply to online and offline communications. We try to give you control over what you receive.

We will always make it clear what the marketing mailing preferences mean and the types of information you’ll get.

Contractual obligations

There are times when we need your personal data to comply with our contractual obligations. For example, if you order an item from us for delivery, we’ll collect your address details to deliver your purchase, and pass them to our courier. Because we represent the profession in negotiations over terms and conditions for dentists, knowing your employment status and location is important.

Legal compliance

If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data.  For example, if we represent you in an employment tribunal we may need to process your data to comply with the legal processes involved.

Legitimate interest

In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running our business and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests. For example, we will use what we know about your career to offer you products or services aligned to that, such as a Preparing for Retirement seminar around the time we expect you to begin thinking about that.  We also combine the requests or enquiries of members to identify trends and ensure we can keep up with demand, or develop new products/services. We will also use your address details to send you direct marketing information by post, telling you about products and services that we think might interest you, and the same via email.

4. When do we collect your personal data?

  • When you create an account with us to use specific sections of the websites.
  • When you engage with us on social media.
  • When you download or install one of our apps.
  • When you contact us by any means with queries, complaints etc.
  • When you ask one of our staff to email you information about a product or service.
  • When you enter prize draws or competitions.
  • When you choose to complete any surveys we send you. Much of our research work requires anonymous participation but some pieces of work request that you identify yourself if you wish.
  • When you comment on or review our products and services.
  • Any individual may access personal data related to them, including opinions. So, if your comment or review includes information about a staff member who provided that service, it may be passed on to them.
  • When you fill in any forms such as to book an event, apply for membership or complete a Staying in Touch form via your local Branch or Section.
  • When you’ve given a third party permission to share with us the information they hold about you, such as when you book to attend the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show and give your consent for your information to be passed to us.
  • When our suppliers and partners – such as Lloyd & Whyte – share information with us about the product you have purchased.
  • When you use our offices or chosen venues which usually have CCTV systems operated for the security of both customers and staff. These systems may record your image during your visit.

5. What sort of personal data to we collect?

  • Your name, sex, date of birth, billing/delivery address, workplace address, employment status, the year you qualified and from where, your GDC number, your fields of practice and job role, your entry on a specialist list, whether you have a disability which we should make reasonable adjustments for, orders and receipts, bank details if you pay by Direct Debit, email and telephone number, dietary requirements for events and your marketing preferences. For your security, we’ll also keep an encrypted record of your login password.
  • Details of your interactions with us through contact centres, at events, online or by using one of our apps. 
  • We collect notes from our conversations with you, details of any complaints or comments you make, details of purchases you made, items viewed or added to your basket, gift list and wish list choices, voucher redemptions, web pages you visit and how and when you contact us
  • Copies of documents you provide to assist us in providing advice services to you, specific to your situation, such as a contract.
  • Details of your visits to our websites or apps, and the details of the site you came from to ours.
  • Information gathered by the use of cookies in your web browser. Learn more about how we use cookies and similar technologies.
  • Personal details which help us to recommend items of interest.
  • Direct Debit information for the purposes of collecting your membership fee. We do not store other payment information.
  • Your comments and product reviews.
  • Your image may be recorded on CCTV when you visit an office or chosen venue.
  • To deliver the best possible web experience, we collect technical information about your internet connection and browser as well as the country and telephone code where your computer is located, the web pages viewed during your visit, the assets you clicked on, and any search terms you entered.
  • Your social media username, if you interact with us through those channels, to help us respond to your comments, questions or feedback.
  • We may record telephone conversations to offer you additional security, resolve complaints, for regulatory compliance and to improve our service standards. Conversations may also be monitored for staff training purposes. You will be alerted to this when you call.

6. How and why do we use your personal data?

We want to give you the best possible customer experience. One way we intend to achieve that is to get the richest, fullest picture we can of who you are by combining the data we have about you.

We then use this insight to offer you promotions, products and services that are most likely to be relevant to you or interest you.

The data privacy law allows this as part of our legitimate interest in understanding our members and customers and providing the highest levels of service.

You can change how we use your data. See the ‘What are my rights?’ section below.

If you choose not to share your personal data with us, or refuse certain contact permissions, we might not be able to provide some services you’re paying for. For example, if you chose to opt-out of the email monthly newsletter mailing list then you won’t receive Latest News or other emails which are a useful feature of membership.

Here’s how we’ll use your personal data and why:

  • To process any orders that you make by using our websites, apps or at an event. If we don’t collect your personal data during checkout, we won’t be able to process your order and comply with our legal obligations. For example, your details may need to be passed to a third party to supply or deliver the product or service that you ordered, and we may keep your details for a reasonable period afterwards in order to fulfil any contractual obligations such as refunds and so on.
  • To respond to your queries, refund requests and complaints. Handling the information you sent enables us to respond. We may also keep a record of these to inform any future communication with us and to demonstrate how we communicated with you throughout. We do this on the basis of our contractual obligations to you, our legal obligations and our legitimate interests in providing you with the best service and understanding how we can improve our service based on your experience.
  • To protect our business and your account from fraud and other illegal activities. This includes using your personal data to maintain, update and safeguard your account. We’ll also monitor your browsing activity with us to quickly identify and resolve any problems and protect the integrity of our websites. We’ll do all of this as part of our legitimate interest. For example, by checking your password when you login and using automated monitoring of IP addresses to identify possible fraudulent log-ins from unexpected locations.
  • To protect our customers, premises, assets and staff from crime, we may operate CCTV systems in our offices and chosen venues which record images for security. We do this on the basis of our legitimate business interests. Where you attend an event at a chosen venue such as a hotel or conference centre, they will have their own Privacy Notices which we cannot influence.
  • To process payments and to prevent fraudulent transactions. We do this on the basis of our legitimate business interests. This also helps to protect our customers from fraud. If we discover any criminal activity or alleged criminal activity through our use of CCTV, fraud monitoring and suspicious transaction monitoring, we will process this data for the purposes of preventing or detecting unlawful acts. We aim is to protect the individuals we interact with from criminal activities. With your consent, we will use your personal data, preferences and details of your transactions to keep you informed by email, web, text, telephone and through our contact centres about relevant products and services including tailored special offers, discounts, promotions, events, competitions and so on.

You are free to opt out of hearing from us via any of these channels at any time.

  • To send you relevant, personalised communications by post in relation to updates, offers, services and products. We’ll do this on the basis of our legitimate business interest

You can opt out of hearing from us by post at any time.

  • To send you communications required by law or which are necessary to inform you about our changes to the services we provide you. For example, updates to this Privacy Notice, product recall notices, and legally required information relating to your membership or orders. These service messages will not include any promotional content and do not require prior consent when sent by email or text message. If we do not use your personal data for these purposes, we would be unable to comply with our legal obligations.
  • To display the most interesting content to you on our websites or apps. We do so on the basis of your consent to receive app notifications and/or for our website to place cookies or similar technology on your device. For example, we might display a list of items you’ve recently looked at, or offer you recommendations based on your purchase history and any other data you’ve shared with us.
  • To administer any of our prize draws or competitions which you enter, based on your consent given at the time of entering.
  • To develop, test and improve the systems, services and products we provide to you. We’ll do this on the basis of our legitimate business interests. For example, we’ll record your browser’s Session ID to help us understand more when you leave us online feedback about any problems you’re having.
  • To comply with our contractual or legal obligations to share data with law enforcement.
  • To send you survey and feedback requests to help improve our services. These messages will not include any promotional content and do not require prior consent when sent by email or text message. We have a legitimate interest to do so as this helps make our products or services more relevant to you.

You are free to opt out of receiving these requests from us at any time by [updating your preferences in your online account].

  • To build a rich picture of who you are and what you like, and to inform our business decisions, we’ll combine data captured from across the BDA, third parties and data from publicly-available lists as we have described in the section ['What Sort of Personal Data do we collect?'] We’ll do this on the basis of our legitimate business interest.

For example, by combining this data, this will help us personalise your experience and decide which inspiration or content to share with you. We also use anonymised data from transactions or enquiries to identify trends in different areas of the country.

  • To process your event attendance requests. Sometimes, we’ll need to share your details with a third party who is providing a service (such as the dental trade who exhibit or the venue for health and safety reasons). We do so to maintain our arrangement with you. Without sharing your personal data, we’d be unable to fulfil your request.

7. Combining your data for personalised direct marketing

We want to bring you offers and promotions that are most relevant to your interests at particular times. To help us form a better, overall understanding of you as a customer, we combine your personal data gathered across the BDA as described above.

8. How we protect your personal data

We know how much data security matters to all our customers. With this in mind we will treat your data with the utmost care and take all appropriate steps to protect it.

We secure access to all transactional areas of our websites and apps using ‘https’ technology.

Access to your personal data is password-protected, and sensitive data (such as payment card information) is secured by SSL encryption.

We regularly monitor our system for possible vulnerabilities and attacks, and we carry out penetration testing to identify ways to further strengthen security.

The BDA has a long and proud history to respect and protect.

9. How long will we keep your personal data?

Whenever we collect or process your personal data, we’ll only keep it for as long as is necessary for the purpose for which it was collected.

At the end of that retention period, your data will either be deleted completely or anonymised, for example by aggregation with other data so that it can be used in a non-identifiable way for statistical analysis and business planning.

For example, with the CPD you earn with us, we’ll keep the personal data you give us for ten years so we can comply with our legal and contractual obligations.

10. Who do we share your personal data with?

We sometimes share your personal data with trusted third parties.

For example, delivery couriers, exhibitors, partners who provide a membership-based service (like CloserStill Media who organise the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show), for fraud management, to handle complaints, to help us personalise our offers to you and so on.

Examples of the kind of third parties we work with are:

  • IT companies who support our website and other business systems.
  • Operational companies such as delivery couriers.
  • Direct marketing companies who help us manage our electronic communications with you.
  • Google/Facebook to show you products that might interest you while you’re browsing the internet. This is based on either your marketing consent or your acceptance of cookies on our websites. See our Cookies Notice for details.
  • Data insight companies to ensure your details are up to date and accurate.

Sharing your data with third parties for their own purposes

We will only do this in very specific circumstances, for example:

With your consent, given at the time you supply your personal data, we may pass that data to a third party fraud management company. We may share information about fraudulent or potentially fraudulent activity in our premises or systems. This may include sharing data about individuals with law enforcement bodies.

We may also disclose your personal data to the police or other enforcement, regulatory or Government body when we believe such disclosure is appropriate to comply with the law. These requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis and take the privacy of our customers into consideration.

We may, from time to time, expand, reduce or evolve the BDA and this may involve the transfer of divisions or the whole business to new owners. If this happens, your personal data will, where relevant, be transferred to the new owner or controlling party, under the terms of this Privacy Notice.

For further information please contact our Data Protection Officer.

To help personalise your journey through BDA websites we currently use the following companies, who will process your personal data as part of their contracts with us.

11. Where your personal data may be processed

The data that we collect from you (or any third party for whom you are acting) will not be transferred to, or stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA").

12. What are your rights over your personal data?

An overview of your different rights

You have the right to request:

  • Access to the personal data we hold about you, free of charge in most cases.
  • The correction of your personal data when incorrect, out of date or incomplete. For example, when you withdraw consent, or object and we have no legitimate overriding interest, or once the purpose for which we hold the data has come to an end.
  • That we stop using your personal data for direct marketing (either through specific channels, or all channels).
  • That we stop any consent-based processing of your personal data after you withdraw that consent.
  • Review by a member of staff of any decision made based solely on automatic processing of your data (i.e. where no human has yet reviewed the outcome and criteria for the decision).

You have the right to request a copy of any information about you that the BDA holds at any time, and also to have that information corrected if it is inaccurate. To ask for your information, please contact Data Protection Officer, BDA, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS or email [email protected]. To ask for your information to be amended, please update your online account, or contact our membership team [email protected].

If we choose not to action your request we will explain to you the reasons for our refusal.

Your right to withdraw consent

Whenever you have given us your consent to use your personal data, you have the right to change your mind at any time and withdraw that consent.

Where we rely on our legitimate interest

In cases where we are processing your personal data on the basis of our legitimate interest, you can ask us to stop for reasons connected to your individual situation. We must then do so unless we believe we have a legitimate overriding reason to continue processing your personal data.

Direct marketing

You have the right to stop the use of your personal data for direct marketing activity through all channels, or selected channels. We must always comply with your request.

Confirming your identity

To protect the confidentiality of your information, we will ask you to verify your identity before proceeding with any request you make under this Privacy Notice, or indeed to draw on your benefits of membership to ensure that we are talking to who we should be talking to. If you have authorised a third party such as your practice manager to submit a request on your behalf, we will ask them to prove they have your permission to act.

13. How can you stop the use of your personal data for direct marketing?

There are several ways you can stop direct marketing communications from us:

  • Click the ‘unsubscribe’ link in any email communication that we send you. You will see a webpage where you can manage your marketing mailing preferences.
  • If you have an account, log in into the BDA website, visit the ‘My BDA’ area and change your preferences.
  • Write to Membership Services, BDA, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS

Please note that you may continue to receive communications for a short period after changing your preferences while our systems are fully updated.

14. How our providers use your personal data

When you then apply for a product or service from Lloyd & Whyte, your data will be collected and used by them under the terms of their own separate privacy policies.

When you register to attend the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show, your membership status will be validated for the purposes of planning the event.

When you download the Into Practice app, you will be required to log-in which validates against the BDA’s membership database.

15. Contacting the Regulator

If you feel that your data has not been handled correctly, or you are unhappy with our response to any requests you have made to us regarding the use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

You can contact them by calling 0303 123 1113.

Or go online to www.ico.org.uk/concerns 

If you are based outside the UK, you have the right to lodge your complaint with the relevant data protection regulator in your country of residence.

16. Any questions?

This Privacy Notice has been written to set out the way we handle your personal data and your rights to control it.

If you have any questions you haven’t found the answer to above, please contact our Data Protection Officer who will be pleased to help you: Email us at [email protected] or write to us at Data Protection Officer, BDA, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS