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GOC registration fees go up for first time in four years

20 Nov 2008

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The GOC today announced that the annual retention fee for 2009/10 is rising from £169 to £219. This is the first time in four years that the cost of GOC registration has gone up. The new fee amount was agreed by Council at its November meeting, and applies to the next retention period, which runs from 1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010.

In making their decision, members recognised that the new fee amount of £219 represents a significant increase, particularly in the current economic climate. However, whilst the retention fee has remained fixed since 2005-6 the GOC’s operating costs have been steadily increasing. This has resulted in a deficit budget in 2008-9, which means the current fee (£169) is no longer sustainable.

Dian Taylor, acting chief executive and registrar said: “The decision to increase the retention fee is not one we have taken lightly. We are aware that registrants will find this tough, and have kept the increase to a minimum. The Council is solely funded by registrants’ fees, and whilst we must ensure we are able to operate as an effective regulator, we remain committed to making those fees go further.”

The GOC outlined its areas of increased and additional expenditure, which includes implementing the recommendations in the Government’s healthcare regulation reform programme. Other areas of spending include preparations for future changes such as the introduction of a revalidation scheme.

The Council stressed its continuing commitment to greater long-term savings, including:

  • Developing online retention and exploring different payment options;
  • Using more electronic communications to cut costs on printing and postage;
  • Reviewing the format of educational visits;
  • Reviewing arrangements with our suppliers; and
  • Reviewing our use of legal services to ensure best value.

Retention packs will be sent out to full registrants in early December.

Read more about the retention fee increase.


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 and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 22,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


1. Past retention fees table 
2003/4 2004/5  2005/6   2006/7 2007/8 2008/9   2009/10
£115    £135     £169*     £169     £169    £169      £219

*in 2005-6 the fee increased due to OCCS and CET levies

2. The Council’s draft budget and business plan for 2009-10 is available from our website. However, a summary breakdown of forecasted expenditure is shown below:

2009-10 budgeted expenditure by department

Budget area  %

Council          5
Registrar       6
Standards     6
Education     12
Registration  7
FTP                27
OCCS            3
CET                8  
Communications  7
Support Services  20

3. Further information on the retention fee increase is available on our website.

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