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GOC consults on Fitness to Practice Rule changes

14 Feb 2011

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The General Optical Council (GOC) is seeking feedback from the profession and the public on potential changes to its Fitness to Practise (FTP) rules. The Council has launched a consultation, closing on 29 April, to invite opinions on the proposed new regulations.

The potential changes are designed to speed up the FTP process, make it fairer and more transparent, and ensure the rules reflect recent legal developments and current best practice.

One of the biggest proposed changes is that two individual case examiners would decide whether to refer allegations for an FTP hearing. Currently, decisions are made by the nine-member Investigation Committee.

Other proposals include allowing the GOC to screen out anonymous complaints, fast-track allegations involving serious criminal convictions and notify a registrant’s current employer of the outcome of a hearing.

David Howell, GOC Director of Regulatory Services said: “Our current rules came into effect in June 2005 so it is now time to make sure they still reflect good practice and are fair and effective for both registrants and the public. We want everyone whom the changes may affect to have the chance to influence them, so we are encouraging all interested parties to reply to the consultation.”

The consultation document is available to download from http://www.optical.org/en/news_publications/consultations/index.cfm. For enquiries, contact Kisha Punchihewa, Assistant Director of Legal and Fitness to Practise, on 020 7307 3452 or kpunchihewa@optical.org 

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Liz Carr
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: lcarr@optical.org

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The consultation launched on 14 February and closes on 29 April.

2. The GOC’s current Fitness to Practise Rules came into effect on 30 June 2005.

3. The Opticians Act 1989 establishes the legal framework for considering complaints about GOC registrants. The Act allows the GOC to make rules detailing the procedures for considering and dealing with complaints from initial receipt of a complaint to final conclusion.

 

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, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 24,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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