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The majority of dentists in general practice work as self-employed associates. The relationship between associates and practice owners centres on the associate making regular (usually monthly) payments to the practice owner in return for the use of the practice premises, equipment, materials and staff.

Associates and practice owners should have a written agreement signed by both parties. Here you will find our advice on associate contracts, together with various model associates contracts that can be adapted to suit individual circumstances. But there is other information that associates may find useful, so this included too.


Quick guide to working as an associate

Additional sessions advice for engaging associates  

Associate payments during the pandemic in England

Associates working in general dental practice

NHS dentistry in England and Wales

NHS dentistry in Northern Ireland

NHS dentistry in Scotland

Associates - leaving a practice

Dentists parental leave and pay


UDA value checker - Analysed data from the NHS Business Services Authority to provide an estimated UDA value for all NHS contracts in England so that you can compare your practice or the practice where you work to the local and national averages.


The {my}dentist associate agreement - What you need to know

Template contracts




Northern Ireland













Associate contract - NHS and mixed - England (Traditional)   

Associate contract - NHS and mixed - England (Worker)   

The microlearning resource provides an overview of worker vs non-worker contracts. It uses short video, templates and an interactive guide to introduce the contract clauses. Templates can be downloaded from the learning module.

Associate contract - contract reform model - Wales

Associate contract - side agreement - Wales

Associate contract - UDA only - Wales

We will have updated traditional associate agreements and new worker contracts available for members in Wales very soon.

Associate contract - Scotland 
Associate contract - Private only within a mixed practice - Scotland  

Associate contract - Northern Ireland   

Associate contract - Private practice  

Associate ortho contract - England   


Side agreement contract for Associates

2022-23 NHS contract year (England)


England – Side agreement for associates April – June 2022

2022-23 NHS contract year (Wales)

2021-22 NHS contract year



Advice - NHS England targets January - March 2022  

England - Side agreement for associates January - March 2022

England - Side agreement for associates (orthodontics) January to March 2022

Spreadsheet to help you work out NHS income from UDAs with various thresholds, clawbacks, abatements and offsetting


Advice - NHS England targets October - December 2021

England - Side agreement for associates October - December 2021

England - side agreement for associates (orthodontics) October to December 2021

Q1 and Q2: 

Advice - NHS England targets April to September 2021

England - Examples of pay calculations for BDA side agreements

England - Side agreement for associates April to September 2021

England - Side agreement for associates (orthodontics) April to September 2021

Wales - Side agreement for associates April to September 2021

Video: Martin Woodrow round up what is happening in regard to NHS contracts across the UK as of 1 April.
Blog: Ministers double down on NHS targets           


This video further explains the new UDAs and side agreements for 2021 


Q4 2020-21

We have created two side agreements for Associates in England in relation to the Q4 targets.


Version 1 is for Associates who are being paid at a lower rate - with a possible uplift if the practice hits its target.

Version 2 is for Associates who are being paid at a higher rate - with a possible clawback if the practice does not hit its target. 

The video below will help to clarify the difference between these contracts. 


All agreements are designed to complement the BDA written agreements.


Locum-Associate contract - HSCNI and mixed - NI  
Locum-Associate contract - NHS and mixed - England and Wales
Locum-Associate contract - NHS and mixed - Scotland
Locum-Associate contract - ortho - England and Wales
Locum-Associate contract - private practice

Contract review 

An associate contract review service is available to BDA members who are associates, in relation to their own contracts. Please email your contract to: advice.enquiries@bda.org

Expert templates

(Available to Expert members)

Associate-performer information  

Associate-performer reference request  

Data protection privacy notice - associates  

Career opportunities

Career planning

Preparing your CV

CV and interview help

Dental specialty training

Applying for a Dental Vocational Training Number via 'Equivalence' in Scotland'

Applying for a Dental Vocational Training Number via 'Equivalence' in Northern Ireland

Further study – educational options, from DF2 to specialisation

Alternative paths – volunteering and working abroad

BDJ Jobs - find your next associate job, upload your CV and set up alerts

Further information and support can be found in the careers section.

Advice videos

Obtain the best associate position for you
The importance of your associate contract
Making an associateship work for you
How do you know you’re ready to buy a practice
Financing a practice purchase


Current and previous DDRB recommendations and evidence
Dental contract reform across the UK
Getting a fairer deal on pensions tax


The case against Uber: What it means for associate dentists

The Supreme court’s decision changes everything for Uber drivers but is unlikely to have any impact on dentistry’s self-employed associates.

Are dental practice owners responsible for an associate’s negligence? Who is responsible if an associate dentist is found to have harmed a patient through negligence? Received wisdom on this has always been that the self-employed associate is responsible for their actions, however recent developments in the case law surrounding vicarious liability now shows that this may not always be the case.

Associates, is your employment status up for debate? IR35 changes may impact the employment status of dental associates.


Information and discussions on associates and related issues.


Training essentials – courses for the whole team
Clinical seminars – an in-depth exploration of clinical topics
Webinars – live and on-demand lectures covering a range of subjects.
Conferences – information about the annual British Dental Conference and Exhibition, the Scottish Dental Conference and Exhibition, and group conferences for dentists in community and hospital dentistry
Branches and sections– events listing

Get involved

The BDA’s network of local Branches and Sections ensures local representation and encourages members to network at a local level.

Young Dentists Committee

Young Dentist Groups

Other resources

Financial Healthcheck tool - To help you, we’ve teamed up with our partner Lloyd & Whyte to put together a Financial Healthcheck tool, asking you a series of questions to give you an advice-based report.

One-to-one advice

Extra and Expert members have access to unlimited one-to-one advice via phone or email from our experienced advisors. Contact our Practice support team on 020 7563 4574 or email: advice.enquiries@bda.org.


We may record telephone conversations that are advisory in nature to offer you additional security, resolve complaints and improve our service standards. Conversations may also be monitored for staff training purposes. You will be alerted to this when you call.