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News from Council 14 November 2018

15 Nov 2018

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Continuing Education and Training

Council decided that the next Continuing Education and Training (CET) cycle will be a standard three year cycle, running from 2019-21, before the GOC makes significant changes to the scheme from 2022.

The GOC had initially planned to make 2019 a one year transition period before fully revising the scheme from 2020. However, the input to its recent CET consultation – presented at the meeting by independent research agency Enventure – and other feedback showed that stakeholders, in particular CET providers, were concerned that they would not be able to meet the requirements of a revised system by January 2020.

Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, GOC Interim Director of Education, said: “There is a widespread recognition in the sector that CET needs to change to meet the challenges of the future and we want that to happen quickly.

“But our recent discussions with key stakeholders suggest that January 2020 – which would have come only a matter of months after a consultation next year – would have been too soon for providers and registrants to adequately prepare. Change is important but the consultation does not suggest that the need for change is so urgent that we should rush change through before providers are ready.

“So instead, the next CET cycle will be another three year cycle with the same requirements we have at the moment. This will give us the time to make long-term changes in a considered, evidence-based way that allows providers to make the necessary preparation for January 2022 and registrants to prepare themselves for a scheme that will have a greater emphasis on reflective learning.”

The GOC will now consult next year on changes to CET, which will come into effect for the 2022-24 cycle.

Meanwhile, the GOC is changing the MyCET online system so that it will be more user-friendly from January 2019. The system will work similarly to now but the GOC has used feedback from registrants, providers and approvers to improve the interface of the system, particularly on portable devices.

This work will be delivered by the current MyCET provider, Synaptiq Ltd trading as Perceptive, after the GOC tendered for the contract in April 2018 in accordance with EU procurement legislation.


Business Standards

Council discussed the feedback received from the GOC’s recent consultation on new draft Standards for Optical Businesses, which was presented to them by Pye Tait Consulting, the independent agency commissioned to undertake the research and analysis.

Overall, the draft Standards were positively received by respondents, with 79 per cent of respondents agreeing that the GOC’s expectations of optical businesses are clear, and 88 per cent agreeing the Standards are clear and easy to understand for registrants.

Most individual registrants, businesses and professional associations were broadly supportive, with a frequent comment being that they reflect ‘what businesses do anyway’.

The GOC is following up directly with some stakeholders to better understand and address issues they have raised covering areas such as wording and impacts.

The final version of the business standards and an accompanying implementation plan will be presented to Council in February 2019 for approval. The implementation plan will include a campaign to raise awareness within the optical sector, training for GOC staff and Fitness to Practise committees, publication of digital tools for registrants to help them in understanding and implementing the standards, and the potential commissioning of Standards-specific CET.

Provided that the new Standards for Optical Businesses are approved in February 2019, they will be published in April 2019 and will then come into effect in July 2019.

The consultation ran from 14 June 2018 until 30 August 2018 through the GOC’s new platform called the GOC Consultation Hub. There were 351 responses submitted through the consultation hub, and seven offline responses.


Registration fees

Council approved a £350 registration fee for fully qualified registrants and body corporates for the 2019/20 year. This is a £10 (2.9 per cent) increase from the previous year, which is broadly in line with current inflation.

The fee increase is part of a three year budget strategy to moderately increase registration fees each year to ensure that the GOC has the sufficient funds necessary to carry out its statutory public protection duties.

The GOC’s registration fees rules are available on its website:




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About the General Optical Council:

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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