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News from 27 January Council

28 Jan 2011

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 MyGOC – online retention
Council received an update and presentation on the progress of online retention for individual registrants.

Around 25 per cent of registrants have completed their retention online, compared with 10 per cent at the same point in the cycle last year. Only 73 registrants have requested a hard copy of the form.

At 25 January 382 registrants have submitted low income applications, representing two per cent of those eligible.

The registration team has received positive feedback on the system from individual users and key stakeholders, including the AOP. The majority of calls from registrants have been about technical or support issues.

Implementation of online student retention functionality is scheduled for the start of this period in April 2011. Plans are underway to develop body corporate functionality for 2012 retention.

Fitness to Practise – proposals to eradicate unnecessary delays in FTP processes
Council agreed to the proposals to reduce the time we take in investigating cases from an average of 16 months to:
• three months for simple cases
• six months for standard cases
• nine months for complex cases

We will achieve this by introducing a fast track system for simple cases and an electronic case management system. A staff post will also be reallocated to investigations.

There was also agreement to using Section 13(b) of the Opticians Act 1989 to compel third parties to provide information when requested, and to delegate the decision whether to commence proceedings in an instant case to the Registrar.

In addition there will be new FTP Rules to aid proportionality and improve our performance. Council agreed that these draft Rules should now be released for public consultation.

Fitness to Practise – criminal prosecutions
No prosecutions are currently being conducted under the Opticians Act 1989 in respect of any of the offences listed.

With regard to offences under Section 27 involving the unlawful sale of contact lenses on the internet, we had suspended such prosecutions due to the possibility of an adverse European Court ruling.

The European Court case has concluded without deciding that any such proceedings would be illegal. Therefore Council agreed that we should revise the current Protocol with the aim of vigorously pursuing appropriate cases under the Act, including those under Section 27.

IT integration
Council received an update on this project which will integrate up to nine different systems and enable all information held on registrants to be accessed via a single point of access. This will increase efficiency and accuracy.

Devolved administrations
Council member, Morag Alexander, presented an oral report on activity in Scotland.

Performance review
Council received an update on project milestones, Key Performance Indicators and the financial position.

Next meeting – Thursday, 24 March 2011 at 14.00, 41 Harley Street, London W1G 8DJ.

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