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Privacy policy


This privacy policy applies to the website, (the 'Website’) operated by the General Optical Council (the 'GOC'), including the MyGOC section (‘MyGOC’).  We may update this privacy policy in the future.  We will notify you about material changes by sending a notice to the email address you provided to us or by placing a prominent notice on our Website.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (the ' DPA ') the GOC is known as a “Data Controller”. This means we are an organisation that controls how we collect, record, and use personal information, or as the Act calls it, “personal data”. You can read more what this means, and your rights under the DPA, on our data protection page.

Please read this privacy policy carefully as it describes how GOC may collect information from you via the Website or in any manner described in this privacy policy and how the information is then used. By continuing to access and use the Website you are deemed to have understood and agreed to our information practices as outlined in this privacy policy. If you do not agree to such practices you must refrain from using this Website and any services available through it.


1. Collection and use of information  
2. Disclosure of information  
3. Cookie Notice  
4. Right to access your information and other rights  
5. Website security  
6. External websites  
7. How you can contact us  


Collection and use of Information

Registration of optometrists and dispensing opticians

If you are GOC-registered we will use the personal data provided by you via the relevant registration, retention or renewal application forms and by other means for the following purposes and as otherwise described at the point of collection:

  • Update and maintain the public registers of opticians
  • Administer and maintain your registration
  • Process fitness to practise complaints
  • Compile statistics about registrant numbers, complaints and equality and diversity
  • Depending on the preferences expressed by registrants, keep registrants updated with information about the GOC including guidance, news and opportunities to be involved in our work.
  • To fulfil our statutory requirements

If you provide your details when inquiring about registration with us we will use that information for the following purposes:

  • To provide you with details about the application process

GOC mailing lists

The Website gives users the opportunity to sign up to a variety of mailing lists. Users can sign up to receive GOC newsletters or alerts about topics such as hearings, consultations or events. The GOC will store users’ information for the purposes of sending these mailings. You can opt out of such mailings at any time by emailing

Consultation and events

Because we value the input of those who reply to our consultations and attend our events, we encourage them to continue their involvement in our work. Therefore, we collect their data when they respond and use it to inform them of future involvement opportunities. You can opt out of such mailings at any time by emailing

Dealing with feedback and communicating with you

We invite feedback from users about the Website and, from time to time, we use the Website to carry out electronic surveys. If you complete a form or survey on the Website we will collect your comments and your contact details (if you provide them) and use such information to process the feedback received and as otherwise described on the feedback/survey form.  We will also process your personal data to provide you with any services you request, to deal with your queries, comments or complaints or otherwise to communicate with you.

Information about another person

If you provide us with information about another individual, you confirm that you have informed them of our identity and the purposes for which their personal data will be processed as indicated by us and that you have obtained their consent to such processing.

Disclosure of information

Any member of the public can search our public registers on our Website. The following information about our registrants will be made available to the public in the opticians’ registers. 

  • Full name
  • GOC number
  • Gender
  • Registration status
  • Date of most recent registration
  • Registered specialities
  • Home town
  • Qualifications (only those relevant to optics)
  • Fitness to practise decisions
  • Practice addresses

Third party service providers

We have contracts with other organisations (or third parties) to carry out certain activities or services on our behalf. These organisations include the company which administers our CET scheme and the company which hosts our Website. If we need to pass any of your personal data to third party agents or service providers we will make sure that they agree not to use the information received from us for any other purpose than those specified by us and that they have the proper systems in place to protect personal data.

Other disclosures

We also reserve the right to disclose personal information when required by law; if we reasonably believe it is appropriate to investigate, prevent or take action regarding illegal or suspected illegal activities; if disclosure is necessary to protect, establish or exercise legal rights or to defend against legal claims; in situations involving potential threats to physical safety or the rights, property or safety of the GOC, this Website, our registrants or others; if it is in the public interest to do so (having regard to the requirements of any relevant legislation).  We may also disclose personal data to any third party that may take over all or part of the GOC's functions in the future.

Cookie Notice

The Website uses cookies. This Cookie Notice sets out information about cookies and how to control them.  By using the Website, you accept the use of cookies in accordance with this Cookie Notice.  In particular, you accept the use of Analytics Cookies for the purposes described below. For further information on cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set on your device and how to manage and delete them, visit

What are cookies?

A 'cookie' is a piece of information, like a tag, which some websites create against your computer. The 'cookies' we use log your progress through the site and record how you accessed the site. They do not collect information that identifies you.

This use of cookies is important for us to understand how users use our Website. It enables us to track its usability, how easily visitors can find the information they need and the hardware and software they use when accessing the site. This is particularly important in fulfilling our responsibilities under our Equality and Diversity Scheme.

What cookies do we use on the Website?

The Website uses the following cookies:

Cookies set by the GOC Website






To provide transaction support across multiple page requests commonly called a session

Persistent (Until user deletes it)

A randomly generated number


To provide transaction support across multiple page requests commonly called a session

Persistent (Until user deletes it)

A randomly generated alphanumeric piece of text.


To know which error message to display (if a member has been logged out of a session or has not logged in) – applies only to MyGOC area

Session cookie

Username value


Set by the Preside CMS to improve the user experience.  Not applicable to front-end user, only to GOC staff and web hosts when updating the Website.


A number

cookies_agree When a user closes the banner it installs a cookie so that the banner will not show again Persistent (date of 2040 added in) True value

The cookies CFID and CFTOKEN are used:

Within the MyGOC section:

1) To facilitate registrant log in 
2) To facilitate page redirect after registrant log-in 
3) To store registrant details after registrant log-in 
4) To store registrant activity log on registrant restricted area 
5) To store online payment details 
These cookies are strictly necessary for the use of the MyGOC section.

Within the main Website

6) To store search results in several search templates 
7) To store form token for form validation 

For Website administrators only
8) To store preside edit mode details

Cookies set by third party websites

The cookies in the table below are set by the Google Analytics tool. They allow us to accurately estimate the number of visitors to the Website, volumes of usage and ensure that the Website is available. They help us to understand how visitors use the Website and which content is popular and unpopular. They also help us to fulfil our obligations under the Equality Act and our Equality and Diversity Scheme, and to appropriately tailor the design, content and structure of the Website to our audience.

Information collected by the Google Analytics cookies will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States of America in accordance with its privacy practices. To see an overview of privacy at Google and how this applies to Google Analytics, visit You may opt out of tracking by Google Analytics by visiting

Our Website uses the following Google Analytics Cookies.






To accurately estimate the number of visitors to the Website and volumes of usage, to ensure that the Website is available, to understand how visitors use the Website and which content is popular and unpopular and to appropriately tailor the design, content and structure of the Website to our audience.

2 years from when set

A randomly generated number (Non personal data)


As above.

30 minutes from when set

A randomly generated number (Non personal data)


As above.

When you close your browser

A random generated number (Non personal data)


As above.

6 months from when set

A randomly generated number and information on how the site was reached (e.g. direct or via a link, organic search or paid search)

How to control and delete cookies through the browser

If you do not want cookies to be created on your computer, the four major browsers which the Website supports give you the option to disable or delete them. We do not recommend using other browsers, as the Website has not been tested with them and may not work as intended. You can disable or delete cookies in your browser by following instructions at the following links:

Please note that MyGOC will be unavailable if you choose to disable cookies.  Please also note that disabling a cookie or category of cookie does not delete the cookie from your browser, you will need to do this yourself from within your browser.

Cookies that have been set in the past

If you have disabled one or more Analytics Cookies, we may still use information collected from cookies prior to your disabled preference being set, however, we will stop using the disabled cookie to collect any further information.

Right to access your information and other rights

You are responsible for updating and maintaining the accuracy of the personal information provided in any registration, restoration or retention application.  Much of the information can be updated by logging onto the MyGOC section of the Website.  Information about how to update your details can be found in the Updating your details ( section of the Website and in our FAQs (  If you are not registered with us, you can ask us to correct or update your details by contacting us at the email address listed below.
If you are registered with us, we give you access to much of the personal data held about you via the MyGOC area of the Website.  Whether or not you are a registrant, you can also make a request to access your personal data.  Further information about making such a request can be found in our data protection policy (

Website security

We are committed to protecting the information we collect.  While no website can guarantee security, we have implemented appropriate technical and organisational security procedures to help protect the personal information you provide to us.
We take payment for transactions using a third party provider called SagePay.  The GOC does not hold any credit card information, and SagePay are fully compliant with the relevant security standards for processing of payment transactions.  More information about SagePay and how they secure payment information can be found here (

External websites

This privacy policy does not cover links within this site to any external sites,, or the GOC’s pages on externally-hosted sites such as EPolitix and Twitter. Sometimes we provide links to external websites for information purposes; this does not represent an endorsement and we accept no responsibility for their content.  We recommend you examine the privacy statements posted on any external sites to understand their procedures for collecting, using and disclosing personal information.

How you can contact us

If you have any questions about this privacy policy or about how we handle your personal data, please email or write to us at: 

Compliance Team
General Optical Council
10 Old Bailey

Last Updated: 1/8/2016

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