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News from Council 15 November 2017

17 Nov 2017

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Education strategic review

Council agreed to proceed with a consultation on the concepts and principles that should underpin a system of optical education and training fit for the future in the next phase of the Education Strategic Review. This consultation follows our Call for Evidence and extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders from across the UK.

Some of the concepts and principles we will be exploring through the consultation include embedding professional standards in students’ education and training, enhancing students’ clinical experience and instilling a more multi-disciplinary ethos into education programmes. 

Chief Executive and Registrar, Vicky McDermott said: 

“The concepts we are exploring in this consultation build strongly on our Call for Evidence and the extensive stakeholder engagement we have carried out.”

“We want to hear the views of all our stakeholders so that we can then develop detailed proposals for a new system of education and training that equips students for future roles.”

The GOC plans to publish the consultation document at the start of December. 

FTP consensual panel disposal

The GOC today approved the use of consensual panel disposal in appropriate cases to speed up the FTP process while ensuring continued public protection. This follows a six week period of consultation.  

Interim Director of FTP, Safia Iman said:

“The consensual panel disposal policy is part of the complaints strategy which is essential to delivering one of the three strategic objectives in our Strategic Plan: organisational transformation.

“We were delighted with the thoughtful submissions received from a range of stakeholders including professional bodies and registrants. 

“Responses to the consultation emphasised the importance of transparency in maintaining public confidence in the regulation of the optical professions. We are committed to ensuring that our FTP process is clear for members of the public and that those who refer concerns to us have their views properly considered.”

The GOC will publish a consultation summary and produce guidance which will be communicated to staff and FTP Committee members with accompanying training in January/February 2018. The GOC plans to implement the policy from February 2018. 

FTP Acceptance Criteria guidance

Council approved a public consultation on Acceptance Criteria guidance for complaints. This criteria will define the circumstances where the GOC will accept a complaint as an allegation of a registrant’s impaired fitness to practice or fitness to train. 

The new criteria will assist in the early closure of complaints that do not amount to FTP allegations, therefore improving costs, efficiency, procedural transparency, fairness and timeliness of FTP investigations. 

The GOC will publish the Acceptance Criteria guidance policy for consultation in the coming weeks. 

Vision and safe driving: research outcomes

Council considered the outcomes of the GOC’s research into vision and safe driving and approved planned actions in response to the research. 

The GOC commissioned an independent research agency to undertake the research with registrants and members of the public in July and August. The full report is available on our website. 

Council approved the following actions: to develop and consult on guidance on reporting concerns to the DVLA/DVA, as well as to promote and signpost registrants to the DVLA’s guidance and helpline via the GOC’s communication channels. 

The Standards committee will review the draft guidance and consultation document at their meeting in January 2018. The GOC will publish the consultation shortly after and present the final guidance to Council to consider and approve in July 2018.

Continuing Evaluation and Training (CET): project update

Council welcomed an update on the CET project and delegated authority to the Chief Executive and Registrar and Chair to approve a public statement summarising the project plan. 

This project will evaluate the success of the GOC’s CET scheme against its original objectives and will implement both short and long-term changes to ensure that registrants remain safe to practice and to encourage continuing professional development. 

The project is closely aligned with the Education Strategic Review to ensure that both the current and future workforce are equipped for future roles. 

The summary CET project plan will be published on the GOC website shortly.  

Other news

The GOC’s 2016/17 annual report has been laid before Parliament on Tues 14 November 2017 and has been published on our website.




For media enquiries please contact:

GOC Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7580 3898 (option 4)



Notes to editors

1. Council papers are available at:

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 29,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


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