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News from 28 July Council

29 Jul 2011

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Criminal prosecutions
There have been 122 complaints of illegal practice referred to the GOC; of these 45 are closed and 77 are in progress. Twelve retailers have stopped selling zero-powered or plano lenses. Kiran Gill, GOC senior solicitor, described collaborative activity with other organisations that focus on illegal activity.

CHRE commission on effectiveness and efficiency
Council received a report and presentation on the Commission which is intended to complement the Law Commission review. A discussion followed which included the need to encompass more than cost savings in terms of efficiency, and ensuring that the GOC identifies and measures achievement. Council agreed to benchmark criteria for assessing options for more effective working; explore potential for shared working with other regulators in a number of areas; and internally to support staff in developing a learning climate; establish benchmarking clubs and develop strategic alliances.

CEO report
The report included items on the Law Commission review; engagement with the Care Quality Commission; the CHRE performance review; and an acknowledgement that revalidation appears to be in the forefront of government’s mind. It was noted that Linda Kennaugh, GOC Head of Education and Standards, has been asked to share our good practice on the enhanced CET programme with other healthcare regulators.

There was also discussion about the European Commission Green Paper on enhancing professional mobility in the EU – particularly in relation to establishing a position on language requirements. The GOC will respond to this Paper by its deadline of 20 September. In addition, Council discussed the proposed change in scope of the Independent Safeguarding Authority which will give regulators a ‘power to refer’ instead of a ‘duty to refer’.

Devolved administrations
Northern Ireland – Brian Coulter reported that they are awaiting the go-ahead for a new eye care strategy.
Wales – Fiona Peel reported that the Chair and CEO had had a productive day in Cardiff, meeting politicians and academics.
Scotland – Morag Alexander reported that she had had an informal meeting with the Scottish Law Commission. At this meeting, they identified the Opticians Act as a reserved area, and therefore did not have particular input to specifically Scottish issues.

Financial news
Council approved the quarterly financial report. The half yearly report will be tied to internal budgets, budget preparation for next financial year, and possible consideration of next year’s fees.

The report and financial statements 31 March 2011 was moved to be approved.

Committees update
A new paper was presented, briefing outlining the most recent meetings of the committees. Council welcomed this initiative and a discussion followed on aligning the work of the committees more closely with Council priorities.

Next meeting – Thursday 29 September 2011 10.30 at 41 Harley Street, London W1G 8DJ

– ends –

For further information, please contact:
Liz Carr
GOC Communications Manager
020 7307 3473


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