To say the tendering process is a challenging time for orthodontic practices couldn’t be more of an understatement. To help you, watch our short video interview with Goodman Grant Director, John Grant, who has over twenty-five years of experience working with dental professionals and practices across a broad range of issues. John uses his expert knowledge to outline some of the challenges facing practices, and how you can be best equipped as you enter the process. The landscape of orthodontic contracts is changing, with contracts reducing in value, and some practices being advised to consider ‘clubbing together’ to secure a single contract.
The Issues Facing Practices
We understand that this is a painful and complicated process for you, as you not only face the comprehensive task of securing a tender by proving previous best practice and your ability to provide a good future service, but also doing so in such a way that your business is able to trade successfully and that you are able to realise the goodwill of the business in the event of sale in the future.
NHS England have given a clear indication that they are looking to reduce the number of contracts awarded. Some practices are being encouraged to ‘club’ together to bid for a single contract with a higher number of UOAs (Units of Orthodontic Activity) to stand a greater chance of success.
As John Grant explains, this raises a huge issue for the two or three practices clubbing together – how do you choose a legal entity to create with the flexibility and security needed to be able to bid to this new contract? How can you be sure you are creating a legal entity that will not only be the right choice for now but also for the future?
Partnership versus Limited Company – a complex choice
Far from just being a tool in assisting you to secure a contract, a partnership will be a whole new way of working for you as a practice. It is vital you meet with your prospective colleagues and have professional support to draw up a bespoke agreement – whether that is a partnership or shareholder agreement – with the aim of whilst still being able to continue running your own distinct practices, whilst having procedures in place for making joint decisions.
Building the Right Team for the Process Ahead
The tendering process is likely to be complex, uncertain and at times difficult. It is critical that you feel fully prepared to begin the process and are surrounded with a team of trusted professionals, so you can draw on the expertise needed to ensure the best possible long term outcomes for your practice.