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Past consultations



Consultation on ESR Education Standards and Learning Outcomes

From November 2018 to February 2019, we consulted on the draft Education Standards for providers and Learning Outcomes for students as part of our Education Strategic Review. The ESR is part of our work to make sure that, as the optical sector evolves, we continue to protect the public by ensuring that the accreditation, quality assurance and standards of education of optical professionals in the UK continues to be fit for purpose. The consultation was hosted on the GOC Consultation Hub and received a total of 539 responses.

Acrobat Reader icon ESR Education Standards and Learning Outcomes consultation analysis

Acrobat Reader icon ESR Education Standards and Learning Outcomes - infographic



Consultation on Standards for Optical Businesses

From June 2018 to August 2018, we consulted on new draft Standards for Optical Businesses which set out our expectations of optical businesses and help ensure that patients receive good quality care. We received 351 total unique responses to the consultation survey through the GOC Consultation Hub, with the majority offering positive support of the new Standards. In addition, feedback was gathered independently by Pye Tait Consulting through focus groups held with stakeholders, registrants, patients and the public. 

Acrobat Reader icon GOC consultation on Standards for Optical Businesses


Consultation on ESR concepts and principles 

From December 2017 to March 2018, we ran a second consultation as part of our Education Strategic Review on the concepts and principles that could underpin optical education and training in the future. We heard from a range of stakeholders and received a total of 36 responses, with the majority in strong support of our proposed concepts and principles. 

Concepts and principles consultation Concepts and principles consultation

To find out more about the consultation and its findings, click here.


Consultation on FTP acceptance criteria

We consulted on new Fitness to Practise Acceptance Criteria which will serve as a case management tool to identify whether a complaint can (if found proved) amount to an allegation that a registrant’s FtP is impaired. It is focussed towards fully qualified registrants and student registrants.

The draft acceptance criteria received support from the majority of stakeholders that responded. The consultation included two guidance documents, one for staff and one for the public.

The consultation ran from December 2017 to March 2018, and the acceptance criteria is expected to be finalised by the end of July 2018.

Word Document icon GOC acceptance criteria consultation

Acrobat Reader icon Summary and analysis of Acceptance Criteria consultation responses

Acrobat Reader icon Impact assessment - Acceptance Criteria consultation



Consultation on Consensual Disposal of Fitness to Practise cases
The consultation was on our policy for the consensual disposal of fitness to practise cases. Consensual disposal is a case management tool that we will use to identify and process fitness to practise cases which may be suitable for concluding without a contested hearing.

The consultation ran from 9 August 2017 to 20 September 2017.

Acrobat Reader icon Consultation on Consensual Disposal

The final version of the policy and further guidance can be found here


Accreditation of Prior Learning policy

This consultation sought feedback on our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) policy. APL is a process that allows individuals to be recognised for the skills and knowledge they have gained through previous learning, whether through formal courses or experiential learning. The consultation ran from 4 August 2017 to 15 September 2017.

  Acrobat Reader icon Consultation on Accreditation of Prior Learning policy  


GOC Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy 

This consultation sought feedback on our draft EDI scheme and our three strategic EDI priorities which cover the three year period from April 2017 - March 2020.

The public consultation was open for six weeks and ran from 28 February 2017 – 12 April 2017. Responses to the consultation have helped us to develop the final version of our EDI strategy.

Acrobat Reader icon External Consultation report on the EDI Strategy

Acrobat Reader icon EDI Strategy 2017-2020


Strategic Plan 

This consultation sought the views of stakeholders on our three draft priorities:

the learning and development of optical professionals;

a targeted approach to regulation; and

organisational transformation.

Responses to the consultation have helped us to develop the final version of our strategic plan. The consultation was open for three months and ran from 23 November 2016 – 23 January 2017. 



Education Strategic Review

This consultation sought the views of a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that education programmes and qualifications leading to GOC registration equip students to meet patients' future needs. The consultation was set in the context of rapid technological change and the increased prevalence of enhanced services, which are altering the roles that optometrist and dispensing opticians play in delivering eye care. 

The consultation was open from 16 December 2015 to 16 March 2016.


In 2017/18, another consultation was conducted as part of our Education Strategic Review on the concepts and principles that could establish future optical education and training.

All related documents to the ESR can be found here


Guidance on consent and the duty of candour

We consulted on draft guidance on our standards relating to obtaining valid consent and meeting the duty of candour.

The standards in these two areas came into force in April 2016. The draft guidance has been developed to assist registrants in meeting these new standards.

The duty of candour guidance was approved at our Council meeting in November 2016. We are still considering the feedback on the consent guidance. To view the proposed draft guidance:

Acrobat Reader icon GOC consultation on consent guidance

Acrobat Reader icon GOC consultation on duty of candour guidance


Raising concerns with the GOC

This consultation sought the views of stakeholders on our policy for registrants and others in the optical sector on raising concerns with us about risks to patient safety.

The consulation was open from 12 November 2015 to 21 January 2016.

Acrobat Reader icon Raising Concerns with the GOC (Whistleblowing) consultation document

The policy was approved by the GOC Council on 10 February 2016, and can be found in full below:

Acrobat Reader icon Raising concerns with the GOC (whistleblowing) policy



Voluntary code of practice for the online supply of contact lenses:

This consultation sought the views of stakeholders on a voluntary code of practice for online supply of contact lenses (‘the code of practice’), which is one workstream of our strategy for dealing with practices that do not comply with UK law.

The key aim of the code of practice is to promote good practice in contact lens supply online for the protection of the public.

This consultation was open from 3 August 2015 to 12 October 2015.

Acrobat Reader icon Voluntary code of practice consultation document


Standards review:

The review was seeking to ensure that our standards continue to reflect good practice now and in the future, while enabling optical professionals to develop their roles.

The three objectives of the standards strategic review are to:

  • clarify, and ensure that we fulfil, our statutory role in promoting high standards, including our role in providing guidance;
  • produce standards of ethics and performance that focus on outcomes, meet the public’s expectations, are clear to registrants and reflect good practice, including the recommendations of recent inquiries, notably the Francis Inquiry; and
  • ensure that our standards of competence, and system of regulation more generally, enable developments in optical practice that would benefit patients and the public.

Acrobat Reader icon Standards of practice consultation document

Acrobat Reader icon Standards for optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical students - Consultation report



Standards call for evidence

Acrobat Reader icon Call for Evidence information and questionnaire

The consultation concluded on 10 October 2014. Having analysed the responses, our statement on the Call for Evidence can be found below:

Acrobat Reader icon Statement on the outcome of the Call for Evidence


Illegal practice strategy

This consultation considered our strategy to tackle illegal practice in the optical sector:

Acrobat Reader icon Illegal Practice Strategy consultation document

We also published the research we commissioned into the risks to the public posed by illegal practices:

Acrobat Reader icon Europe Economics report on Illegal Practice.pdf


Equality, diversity and inclusion consultation

We recently consulted on our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme, which is designed to ensure these principles are embedded throughout our work.

The consultation closed on 19 May, and Council will discuss the outcome at its July 2014 meeting.

You can view the consultation document below:
Acrobat Reader icon Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme consultation document



Strategic plan consultation

A consultation on our strategic plan for 2014/15-2016/17. The final plan is available here.

Acrobat Reader icon Strategic Plan Consultation Document
Acrobat Reader icon Strategic themes paper


FTP guidance consultation

A consultation on guidance for use with our new FTP Rules. The final version is available here.


Acrobat Reader icon FTP guidance consultation
Acrobat Reader icon Guidance for case examiners - November 2013
Acrobat Reader icon Guidance for FTP panel - November 2013
Acrobat Reader icon Guidance for Investigation Committee - November 2013


Student and business consultations

We concluded two consultations on the future of student and business regulations. The outcome of the consultations can be found here.
Acrobat Reader icon Review of student regulation: consultation
Acrobat Reader icon Review of business regulation: consultation

Fitness to practise Rule 16

We consulted on draft guidance on Fitness to Practise Rule 16. The guidance will support our Investigation Committee ( IC ) members in making and determining a Rule 16 application – which is to review and possibly cancel a case previously referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee. Council approved the final guidance at its meeting on 14 November.

Acrobat Reader icon Consultation document: guidance on Fitness to Practise Rule 16



Declarations guidance consultation

A consultation on guidance for registrants making declarations. The final declarations guidance is available here.

Acrobat Reader icon Declarations guidance consultation



Registrants survey

Nearly 1,000 registrants responded to our online survey:

Acrobat Reader icon 2011 registrants survey report

Student registrants survey

120 students responded to our survey about student issues. You can read the results here:

Acrobat Reader icon 2011 student registrants survey report

Fitness to Practise Rules consultation

In February 2011 we consulted on proposed changes to our Fitness to Practise Rules. There was widespread support for our proposed changes, which were designed to speed up the fitness to practise process, as well as making it fairer and more transparent.

Acrobat Reader icon Fitness to Practise Rules consultation document and questions

However, where we had proposed that our registrar should review decisions not to refer registrants to the fitness to practise committee, a number of respondents felt that our new case examiners should have this role instead. We consulted further on this change in February 2012:

Acrobat Reader icon Fitness To Practise Rule 15 - consultation

We will announce the outcome of this second consultation phase soon. We anticipate that the new Rules will be in place by 2013.


Fitness to practise information on the register

This consultation considered what information about registrants' fitness to practise should be displayed on our registers. It followed on from work we did last year at our UK-wide access to the registers consultation events.

Acrobat Reader icon Accessibility of Fitness to Practise information - consultation document

A brief summary of the decisions Council made in light of this consultation is available in our news from Council summary. Please see below for a full report of the consultation:

Acrobat Reader icon Accessibility of FTP information - summary document

Revalidation: licence to practise

This phase of our revalidation consultation asked whether a ‘licence to practise’ should be used as part of a revalidation scheme for optometrists and dispensing opticians.

Council considered the consultation responses at its meeting on 17 June. Annex two of this Council paper provides an analysis of the consultation responses.

Council agreed that that they would continue to explore the introduction of the Licence to Practise options for those active in clinical practise. Further proposals will be prepared later in the year.

Acrobat Reader icon Licence to Practise consultation document

Setting a strategy for 2010-15: phase two

The second phase of our strategy consultation launched in December 2009. Council analysed the responses and agreed the strategy at its meeting on 25 February 2010. The final strategy is available from the policies, protocols and procedures page. A report of the consultation was included in this Council paper.

Acrobat Reader icon Setting a strategy for 2010-15: phase 2
Acrobat Reader icon Gosod strategaeth ar gyfer 2010-15: cyfnod 2

First consultation phase


Investigation Committee guidance

The Investigation Committee guidance is a document to assist the Investigation Committee when it considers what action to take, if any, when considering Fitness to Practise complaints against GOC registrants.

We consulted on this guidance in August 2009. A number of changes were made as a result of the responses received to the consultation and we published the final guidance in April 2010.

Acrobat Reader icon Investigation Committee guidance consultation document

Registration fee structure

We launched a consultation in July 2009 to review the structure of its registration fees, including whether optometrists and dispensing opticians should continue to pay the same fee.

Acrobat Reader icon Registration fees consultation

Council considered all responses to the consultation and made a decision at its meeting on 18 November. Differential fees for optometrists and dispensing opticians were introduced for the first time. You can read a report of the feedback, and the decisions we made, in the consultation summary.

Acrobat Reader icon Registration fees consultation summary

 Revalidation: initial proposals

In March 2009 we launched our initial proposals for revalidation. We invited comment from all stakeholders on the scheme.

Acrobat Reader icon Revalidation consultation document


Welsh Language Scheme consultation

In June 2009 we launched a consultation on our draft Welsh Language Scheme, aimed at treating the English and Welsh languages on the basis of equality in Wales.

In light of feedback to the consultation, we changed the scheme to make provisions for some documents aimed primarily at registrants to be available in Welsh, where this is proportionate. We published our Welsh Language Scheme on 24 November 2009 following final approval from the Welsh Language Board.

Acrobat Reader icon Welsh Language Scheme
Acrobat Reader icon Cynllun Iaith Gymraeg

 Setting a strategy for 2010-15: phase 1

In May 2009 the Council was in the early stages of formulating a strategy to guide the Council's work over the period 2010-15. As part of this process, we encouraged partner organisations, patients and the public, individual registrants, and anyone with an interest in our work to have their say on the GOC’s role.

The responses from this initial consultation were analysed and Council used them to formulate its draft strategy for 2010-15.

Acrobat Reader icon Five year strategy consultation document

 Codes of Conduct consultation

In January, we published proposed revisions to the GOC Codes of Conduct. The consultation period closed on 24 April.

Acrobat Reader icon Codes of conduct consultation document

To allow us to hear a range of stakeholder views, we also held a consultation seminar event on 16 April. This was attended by optical bodies, registrants, students, optical patients and members of the public, eye health charities and fellow healthcare regulators.

We considered all responses and the new codes of conduct have now been approved by Council. They will come into force from 1 April and are available here. You can read the feedback from the consultation and the Council's reasons behind its decision-making below.

Acrobat Reader icon Codes of conduct consultation feedback


Equality and diversity monitoring

We considered a scheme to collect and monitor equality and diversity figures about registrants, in order to meet legal duties to report to Parliament. Following the consultation, equality and diversity monitoring began during the 2009 retention process.

Acrobat Reader icon Equality and diversity monitoring consultation
Acrobat Reader icon Equality and diversity monitoring Annex 1 (monitoring form)

Committee Constitution Consultation

The Government's 2007 White Paper Trust Assurance and Safety set out a substantial programme of reform for healthcare regulators. This consultation set out the proposed new constitution for the GOC in response to the White Paper.

Acrobat Reader icon Committee constitution consultation

Civil standard of proof

We consulted on the implementation of the civil standard of proof, as opposed to the criminal standard, in fitness to practise hearings. This was also a change for all healthcare regulators set out in the 2007 White Paper.
Acrobat Reader icon Civil standard of proof consultation

Competencies Consultation

This consultation considered amendments to the competencies which must be demonstrated in order to qualify as an optometrist, dispensing optician , or as a contact lens specialist. The consultation responses are currently being considered and before going to Council for approval.

Acrobat Reader icon Competencies consultation


Equality and Diversity Scheme

We consulted on our equality and diversity scheme and action plan for 2007-9. The final published version is on our policies, procedures and protocols page.

Acrobat Reader icon Draft GOC Equality and Diversity Scheme and Action plan
Acrobat Reader icon Equality and Diversity Scheme consultation response form

Unified competency framework

This consultation introduced a common structure and terminology between core competencies for qualification as an optometrist, dispensing optician, and the specialty competencies for dispensing opticians in contact lens practice.

Word Document icon Consultation on a unified competency framework

Independent prescribing consultation

This consultation was on changing rules to allow optometrists to qualify and practise as independent prescribers of medicine. After the consultation, courses began in April 2009 at City University, Glasgow Caledonian University and a joint course between Aston and Manchester universities.

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Consultation on the Registration Rules for Independent Prescribing


The future of CET

Consultation on amendments to the CET scheme for the cycle commencing on 1 January 2010

Acrobat Reader icon CET post 2010: reaching the future


Amendments to CET rules

We reviewed our CET rules in time for the second CET cycle, which began on 1 January 2007.

Word Document icon Draft CET Rules Amendment Order
Acrobat Reader icon CET consultation on amendments to rules

Standard of proof consultation

We consulted on which standard of proof should be used for FTP hearings. Following the consultation, we decided to keep the criminal standard of proof. However, this was changed following the Government's 2007 White Paper.

Acrobat Reader icon Standard of proof consultation document



CET ideas consultation document

Acrobat Reader icon CET ideas consultation document
Acrobat Reader icon Results of the CET idea consultation

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