Our new Deputy Chair, Peter Crooks reflects on the vast potential of his new role and what he hopes to achieve while in post.
Since January 2019 I have had the honour of being the Northern Ireland representative on the
BDA board, the 'PEC'. Then in September I was elected by the board to be the Deputy Chair of the BDA, a tremendous honour and a reflection of the contribution BDA Northern Ireland makes to our association and trade union nationally.
Before I stood for election, I took the time to really consider my priorities and what I want to achieve in this post – and that began with communicating what we do. I am aware that not everyone is familiar with the workings of the board so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify a few things.
What does the BDA board do?
“Health Assured has been a tremendous asset during the COVID pandemic and will hopefully continue to support members who are struggling...”
The BDA's Board of Directors is known as the 'PEC', short for the
Principal Executive Committee. The PEC is tasked with setting the BDA's strategy and guiding its operations. It is the primary committee which runs our trade union and professional association. Each member is a registered director and must fulfil the regulatory duties and responsibilities set out in the Companies Act 2006. Basically, if something goes badly wrong in the BDA, the buck stops with its board members.
Two examples of the sort of decisions I have been involved in since I joined the board are the launch of BDA Indemnity and providing Health Assured for our members. This service has been a tremendous asset during the COVID pandemic and will hopefully continue to support members who are struggling in the circumstances they face.
What does a BDA Deputy Chair do?
With the role of Deputy Chair comes a lot of responsibility. Here are 10 things I am committed to upholding as I take on this new role.
As much as I can, I intend to support the work of Tristen Kelso, our National Director, and his team as they work so hard on our behalf. I will also be supporting our local representative committees and highlighting their issues centrally in the BDA.
2. Pay issues
I now chair the Review Body and Evidence Committee (RBEC) which provides both the written and oral evidence from the BDA to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB), urging them to recognise the value of dentists’ work in their recommendations of pay awards to the four governments in the UK.
It addresses the decrease in real terms of dentists’ pay over the last ten years and the effect government policy and regulation has had on the recruitment, retention, morale and motivation of dentists in all the specialties.
3. Representing Northern Ireland
While my role is not primarily to represent the various specialties in our profession – that is the work of NI Council, NIDPC and NISDC locally who do that fantastically well – I am not shy about highlighting the difficulties dentists are facing in Northern Ireland.I communicate these issues to my board colleagues regularly.
Equally, I am not reticent about boasting about the work of our
Northern Ireland committee members and the success of
our branch. This accounts not least for the tremendous attendances at our annual programme of lectures and social events and for our active Young Dentists Group.
4. Digital development
I want to be involved in developing further creative ways in which we utilise digital functionality to support our Branches and Sections, both locally and nationally. I would like to see wider use of our broad webinar programme so local branches can tap into talks by renowned speakers, who would rarely come to Northern Ireland, and attendees gain accredited CPD for doing so.
The BDA are already promoting previously recorded webinars for members to watch and attain CPD, and since becoming Deputy Chair this is something I urged the management team to roll out.
5. Enhanced learning
I am passionate about learning and development and I want to develop remote learning opportunities for the whole dental team, learning and developing systems together for improving patient care.
6. Online promotion
Promoting our strengths, our gains and our influence on social media is essential so that no-one is left in any doubt as to our efforts on their behalf.
7. Advocating involvement
I want to encourage all members who wish to become more involved in the Association, regardless of age, gender, race or creed, and help to mentor them and lobby for them if they want to stand for election.
8. Growing our membership
Growing our membership in numbers and influence is a permanent goal of mine. I want to work with others so we can strengthen our Association both now and for the future.
9. Showcasing our talents
“From their student days to their retirement, dentists should always be at the very heart of their professional association.”
We need to put a human face on our messages. I want to use the talents of our diverse membership to promote our key lines of information.
10. Putting members first
For dentists, from their student days to their retirement, they should always be at the very heart of their professional association. I will do what I can to bring them and keep them there.
Only the BDA can provide comparable support for everyday dental practice ranging from one-to-one advice, Indemnity and CPD to lobbying policy makers for the benefit of dentists and patients. It is an organisation of which I am incredibly proud to be part of and I look forward to working on all of the above, and more, in my new role as Deputy Chair.
Deputy Chair, BDA Board