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GOC recognised as meeting all the Standards of Good Regulation

28 Jun 2013

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has been recognised by the body which oversees its work as an ‘effective regulator’ meeting all the Standards of Good Regulation.

In its annual performance review of UK regulators, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) found that since last year the GOC has improved its handling of fitness to practise cases and now meets all 24 of the prescribed standards.

Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “The PSA’s report is extremely encouraging for us. Meeting all of the Standards of Good Regulation over the last year demonstrates the effectiveness of our work across all of our core functions of standards, education, registration and fitness to practise. It’s a real testimony to the hard work that has gone on throughout the organisation and I’d like to thank all of my colleagues for the roles they have played in this achievement.

“We always strive to improve our performance though. We know the importance of learning from good practice, such as the Francis Inquiry’s recommendations and understanding the views of our stakeholders, including the public, if we are to keep meeting all of the Standards in the future.”

The PSA particularly highlighted the GOC’s Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme, which enables registrants to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date. They viewed the scheme as ‘proportionate’, picking out the new peer review element as ‘an example of good practice’ and ‘particularly useful in situations where registrants work alone or with a small number of colleagues’.

Other positives which the PSA highlighted include the improved accessibility of the GOC’s standards on its revamped website, online retention and the action taken to speed up its fitness to practise process. The median time that the GOC takes for an Interim Order decision, for the most serious allegations it receives, has fallen from 37.5 weeks to 12.

Samantha Peters added: “The introduction of enhanced CET has been a big change for us and our registrants this year, so it’s especially positive to see the PSA recognise its value. Almost 4,000 registrants have now taken part in peer review and we’ve received excellent feedback so far.

“We will continue to engage closely with the PSA on the progress of enhanced CET and the other areas of work mentioned in their report.”

The report is available on the PSA website at


For further information please contact:
Simon Grier
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478


1. The PSA was formally known as the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE). Its name changed on 1 December 2012 following the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It is an independent statutory body covering all of the United Kingdom, answerable to the Westminster parliament.

2. The PSA assess each of the nine UK healthcare regulators every year. The process looks at how each regulator carries out its functions and their general performance against agreed standards. The review highlights good practice and identifies areas for improvement. It covers the period 1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013.

3. The PSA’s Standards of Good Regulation are available here:

4. The PSA oversees the following nine UK regulatory bodies:
- the General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates doctors
- the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which regulates nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses
- the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC), which regulates 16 health and care professions
- the General Dental Council (GDC), which regulates dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists
- the General Optical Council (GOC), which regulates optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses
- the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), which regulates chiropractors
- the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), which regulates osteopaths
- the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which regulates pharmacists
- the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which regulates pharmacists.

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 26,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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