Businesses to register by function
General Optical Council eBulletin 18
November 2013

Businesses set to register according to function


Our current system of business registration is set to change to a system based on restricted functions rather than protected titles. This will mean a level playing field, with all businesses being regulated in a proportionate and consistent way.

The proposals are subject to a change in legislation and are unlikely to be introduced before 2016/17. The UK Law Commissions are conducting a review into the legislation underpinning the regulation of healthcare professionals in the UK. We are working with the Law Commissions to ensure that our proposals are reflected in the draft Bill which they are intending to submit to the Government in spring 2014. 

The changes will mean that rather than a business’ name dictating whether it has to be registered with us, all businesses carrying out restricted functions would be required to register. Activities that would fall into this category are sight testing, contact lens fitting, supply of contact lenses and spectacle sales to the under 16s, registered blind or partially sighted.

The decision by our Council follows a full consultation process, including a public consultation event in September. The proposals received broad support from a wide variety of stakeholders.

Council also decided to introduce an revised Code of Conduct for business registrants that is more targeted at the risks associated with business practices that we have identified. Work on a revised Code of Conduct will take place as part of an ongoing project to review the standards we set for the optical professions.

Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “These proposals will lead to a fairer and more consistent system of business regulation. By regulating businesses based on their functions rather than their name we can enhance public protection and give people confidence that optical businesses carrying out restricted activities are meeting our standards.”

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eBulletin 18 - November 2013

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