Upset as cash-strapped BDA appeals for funds

An appeal by the chief executive of the British Dental Association (BDA) for help with funding is suggesting the organisation is in financial difficulty.

Peter Ward, chief executive of the BDA has written to all branch and group chairmen and treasurers to ask those with substantial bank balances to donate them to central funds.

He also proposes a 50% reduction in branch grants in the coming year.

In his letter he says that ‘in these straitened times’ it is appropriate to look for savings across all BDA activities.

In an explanatory email sent later, Mr Ward says: ‘The BDA remains in sound financial health with reserves of £1.4 million and on-going tight cost controls.

‘We have made in-year savings which will have long-term benefits to the Association.

‘The reason we are looking to fund this extra activity is so that we can build on our strong foundations in a way that will provide more relevant benefits to all members and maintain the financial sustainability of the BDA’.

Stuart Johnston, chairman of the BDA’s representative body, has also emailed branches to say that the chief executive will be speaking individually to them to discuss their financial needs and whether they are in a position to make a financial contribution to central funds.

The letter has caused some friction with members of the representative body, who are also directors of the BDA.

At its last meeting in June, management was charged with looking at ‘all areas for potential funding’ for future development, a fact acknowledged by Mr Ward in his letter.

One of the possibilities was to request financial support from the branches.

But it was expected that management would come back to the body at its meeting in September with a number of proposals.

Members did not expect the chief executive to act without specific authorisation from the directors.

The representative body did discuss the budget for the coming financial year, which for the BDA starts on 1 October.

There is a continuing high demand for its advisory services, set against a drop in income from its commercial activities, springing from the recession.

It was agreed there should be a 5.2% increase in subscriptions next year, which together with internal savings, will enable current levels of activity to be maintained.

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