2015/16 retention fees
General Optical Council eBulletin 22
December 2014

Retention fees set for 2015/16

Council has set the registration fee for 2015/16 at £310. This represents an increase of £20 for optometrists, dispensing opticians and bodies corporate. The low income fee, for registrants earning under £12,000, will be £210 (maintaining the £100 discount) and we have frozen the fee for students at £25. The new fees will come into effect on 1 April 2015.

Gareth Hadley, GOC Chair, said: “We’re always mindful of the strain on registrants of paying registration fees. I’d like to assure all of our registrants that we remain as determined as ever to work efficiently and minimise the burden of the fee. But we must always ensure we have the resources we need to carry out our job of protecting the public.

“This year’s increase is partly down to inflation but it also reflects the work we are doing to protect the public and be fair to registrants. In common with most of the other healthcare professional regulators we have again seen a significant increase in the number of FTP complaints we receive. It is absolutely imperative that this increase does not stand in the way of our continued efforts to speed up the FTP process, in the interests of patients and registrants alike.

“In the first six months of this financial year the median ‘end-to-end’ time to deal with FTP complaints was down to 83 weeks, from 99 in 2012/13. We’re improving but we know we still have much further to go to meet the expectations of the public, registrants and Government.

“We will also be increasing our investment in research, to ensure we have the best possible understanding of the landscape we regulate. In particular, we will be conducting more research into the views of registrants and of patients. We are also investing in our IT infrastructure and hope to move to a new, more modern office.

“We hope too that whoever forms the next Government after the General Election passes the Law Commissions’ draft Bill on the future of healthcare regulation. As well as speeding the FTP process up some of the legislative change in the draft Bill will help us to make significant cost savings - particularly the possibility of introducing threshold criteria to close minor cases early, preventing them from delaying more serious matters.

“We will continue to work with other regulators to push for the Bill, which may help us to achieve savings in the future. In the present though, we need to ensure we are sufficiently resourced for next year, which is why we have set the registration fee at £310.”

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