Leading teams

If you're a dental professional in charge of a team, the GDC expects you to demonstrate effective management and leadership skills.

The GDC's 'Standards for the dental team' makes it clear (in Principle 6) that if you manage a team, you're able to show competent and capable leadership.


A team leader's responsibilities include the following.

  • Making sure all team members are suitably qualified, registered with the GDC where required, and have access to appropriate training - with a proper induction and opportunities to learn and develop.
  • Having mechanisms in place for checking that all dental professionals are adequately indemnified and are complying with CPD requirements.
  • Making sure the working environment is hygienic and safe, and team members aren't discriminated against.
  • Ensuring colleagues aren't asked to undertake tasks that go beyond their training and skills. Team members should understand their roles and responsibilities, and not feel pressured to carry out a task if they say they are unable to do so.
  • Monitoring and reviewing individual and team performance.
  • Providing team members with a way of raising concerns - for example, where there are doubts about colleagues' health, behaviour or competence. Staff should also be trained in complaints handling.
  • Providing training for all staff, including non-registered members, in how to respond to medical emergencies, and practise together regularly. The GDC says there must be at least two people available in the working environment to deal with medical emergencies when treatment is planned to take place.
  • Holding regular training sessions for staff in emergency procedures, including practising simulated emergencies against the clock.
  • Display information in the reception or waiting area to show the nine GDC principles, that you are regulated by the GDC, and details of the dental team, including their GDC registration number where appropriate.
  • Reviewing and monitoring individual and team performance, including regular appraisals.
  • Practice owners should have an effective complaints procedure in place, and make team members familiar with it.

If a dental professional employs or manages an unregistered person, they could be liable to fitness to practise proceedings and possible erasure from the register.

We strongly recommend that as a team leader, you check the registration status of all registrable team members, checking that their indemnity record remains unbroken and they have met their CPD obligations.

Vicarious liability

In some cases, a practice owner may be liable for the acts and omissions of someone they employ or engage to provide services. This can result in claims being sometimes brought against a practice owner, rather than, or as well as, the dentist or dental care professional who treated the patient.

In light of this, the DDU provides an additional indemnity benefit to our practice principal members alleged to be vicariously liable for the clinical negligence of a treating clinician.

This page was correct at publication on 16/01/2023. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.


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