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News from Council 10 May 2017

11 May 2017

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Education Strategic Review

Council welcomed the detailed and considered submissions that were received from over 50 stakeholders in response to the call for evidence on the Education Strategic Review. They discussed and approved the publication of an independent report summarising the responses and agreed the next steps for the project. 

The Review is designed to ensure that education programmes and qualifications leading to GOC registration, properly equip optical professionals to meet the changing needs of patients and the challenges of a dynamic sector.

Director of Strategy Alistair Bridge said: 

“The Education Strategic Review will be crucial in fulfilling one of the three strategic objectives in our Strategic Plan; ensuring that the learning and development of optical professionals adequately prepares them to carry out the roles of the future.

“The number, as well as the detail and quality of the responses to our call for evidence, show that there is strong desire from across the optical sector to be involved in shaping the development of the UK’s system of optical education.

“The responses demonstrate a consensus on the direction of travel for eye care delivery, and that the roles of optical professionals and therefore the system of education and training will need to change as a result. Our report summarising the responses provides a good platform for the next phase of the project, which will involve working closely with stakeholders to develop proposals for change.”

The GOC will publish the independent report on the responses to the Education Strategic Review and will issue a draft statement to Council in July. A draft consultation on the issues that have been raised will then be presented to Council in November.

FTP Complaints Strategy 

Council approved the Strategy for Managing Fitness to Practise (FTP) Complaints more quickly and effectively and requested the addition of milestones to track the Strategy’s progress. 

The Strategy aims at delivering a review of the GOC’s FTP processes and implementing changes to enable the Council to deal with FTP complaints more quickly and effectively. 

Supported by KPMG, the GOC undertook an extensive review of its processes and structure, to identify issues and to learn from examples of good practice within other organisations. This included a review of the GOC’s approach to case management. 

Interim Director of FTP, Safia Iman said: “KPMG identified a number of opportunities to improve our processes to provide a more sophisticated and targeted approach to case management. 

“Having evaluated these opportunities, we saw value in taking all of them forward while adopting a phased approach to implementation.

“We will continue to work proactively to identify potential improvements to our processes that will assist in meeting our overall objective to manage FTP complaints more efficiently.” 

The GOC’s Strategy for Managing Fitness to Practise Complaints is available at:

GOC Performance 

Council noted the GOC’s performance report for quarter four and remarked on its good progress with project work, including stakeholders’ constructive and detailed engagement with the call for evidence which was issued to launch the Education Strategic review.

In quarter four the GOC had focused on finalising the new strategic plan for 2017-20 and business plan and budget for 2017/18, which were developed through comprehensive engagement with Council, employees and stakeholders. 

Areas where the GOC has seen improvement include; registration application processing, illegal practice processing, employee engagement and information governance compliance. Council observed that there were still significant operational challenges in speeding up delivery, particularly within Fitness to Practise.

The GOC will continue to review and evaluate its work, and to identify required changes to its processes. 

Other news

Council Chair, Gareth Hadley, welcomed Vicky McDermott, as the GOC’s new Chief Executive and Registrar, who will take up the position on 4 September 2017.

He also expressed his gratitude to the GOC’s outgoing Chief Executive, Samantha Peters, and wished her well. Her last day will be 13 June 2017. 



For media enquiries please contact:

GOC Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7580 3898 (option 4)



Notes to editors

1. Council papers are available at:


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, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 29,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


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