Included with DDU membership

Associate contracts can vary hugely in their quality and content, so it's important for all parties to understand the principles involved.

There is a huge variation in the associate contracts currently in use, many of which are in our view seriously flawed, sometimes as a result of poorly thought out modification of an otherwise reasonable model contract.

Our free associate contract checking service is available to both practice owner and associate members and has proved to be a very popular benefit of membership. Our advisers are trained to handle the vast majority of queries and members can access this free advice by calling our 24-hour dento-legal helpline on 0800 374 626.

While we are unable to assist with the resolution of contractual disputes, it is our experience that the best way of avoiding a dispute is for both parties to discuss and ensure they have the same understanding of an associate agreement before signing it. If you need to take a contract dispute further, we've negotiated a competitive rate with specialist dental lawyers.

This service includes:

  • advice on the wording of associate agreements, available from dento-legal experts 
  • checking existing or proposed contracts against best practice guidelines

  • access to a model contract, developed in conjunction with specialist dental lawyers.

Top tips on associate contracts

We have received hundreds of calls from members about associate contracts. There follows a list of the most common themes and queries:

The DDU’s associate contract checking is an excellent service. I was extremely impressed by the adviser and greatly appreciated his time and professionalism.”

Dental associate

I truly would like to thank the DDU for this amazing service and cannot express how impressed I was by the adviser and his incredible kindness and patience in combination with his professional expertise. Without any hesitation, I am quick to recommend the DDU.”

Dental associate


Why have you introduced this service?

We've seen a growing range of issues arising from associate agreements. Many of these can spread into dento-legal and ethical problems, leading to GDC referrals that we later become involved with. By extending our advice and support to cover a wider range of factors, we aim to stop contract issues leading to more complex problems.

Isn’t this something the BDA provides to its members?

The BDA has provided a similar service, but the majority of UK dentists - including many DDU members - are not members of the BDA, and we're increasingly being asked for advice in this area.

Is there an extra subscription for the associate contract checking benefit?

No. The benefit is part of DDU membership at no extra cost.

Is the contract checking service only available to associates, or can dental principals also use the service?

The service is available to both associates and principals. We recognise the benefits in having contracts that are clearly worded and executed, which can smooth working relationships to the benefit of both parties and help reduce future dento-legal problems.

DDU dental principals also have access to a free employment law advice line provided by Peninsula for other employment matters such as guidance on managing staff conduct or performance.

Is the contract checking service only for associate contracts? What about hygienists and therapists for instance?

The service is also available for self-employed hygienist and therapist contracts.

Does that mean the DDU will be representing both the associate and the principal in an argument over a contract?

No. We can provide a model contract, which is designed to be fair and equitable and can be used by both parties. We can offer general advice about what this provides and how to use it, but we won't deal with specific disputes.

What happens if my case is so serious or complicated that I need to take further legal action?

Our advisers will be able to support you in most cases without needing to take extra legal action. However, if you need to take things further, we can provide an introduction to specialist dental lawyers with considerable experience in handling dental contracts. We've also negotiated a competitive rate for DDU members wanting further support.