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Law Commission review: GOC preparation gathers pace

30 Sep 2011

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Council members considered the Law Commission’s review of the legal framework for UK healthcare regulators. The review, commissioned by the Government in the command paper Enabling Excellence (February 2011), intends to introduce a single piece of legislation allowing each of the healthcare regulators – including the GOC - to decide for themselves how they deliver their core functions. Our powers are currently outlined in the Opticians Act. Currently, if certain changes to our ways of working are needed - for example in the registration process – Council have to seek changes to the Opticians Act, through Parliament. This can be a lengthy and complex process.

We understand that the Law Commission will publish a full, public consultation from February-June 2012. They are asking the GOC and other regulators to suggest issues that should be addressed in the review. The Council has already indicated that it will review student registration, body corporate registration (optical businesses) and the statutory basis of its advisory committees (such as Registration and Companies Committees). Members also discussed raising the following issues:

• The GOC’s general power
• The functions of Council
• Council’s powers of delegation
• The powers of the registrar
• The appeals process
• Preserving flexibility to implement future rule changes

Changes to the legislative framework could give the GOC much greater flexibility, and enable us to be more responsive, efficient and effective in our role. It is anticipated that the new legislation will be in place towards the end of the current Parliament, 2015.

 

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