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News from Council 22 February 2017

24 Feb 2017

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Strategic plan

Council agreed its Strategic Plan for the period April 2017 to March 2020, following a public consultation. The GOC’s three priorities for the coming three years are:

  • the learning and development of optical professionals
  • a targeted approach to regulation
  • organisational transformation

Director of Strategy Alistair Bridge said:

“As the optical sector faces a period of substantial change, our new Strategic Plan highlights our commitment to ensuring that optical professionals are equipped for the roles of the future, with the delivery of our Education Strategic Review being a top priority. There is still time for stakeholders to respond to the call for evidence which launched the Review. This consultation is open until 15 March and we really encourage anyone with an interest in the future of the optical professions to get involved – including individual practitioners.”

Council Members emphasised the need for the plan to be flexible enough to adapt to the changing nature of the sector and the importance of the GOC measuring its performance against the objectives.

Council also agreed the 2017/18 Business Plan and Budget in support of the Strategic Plan.

Consent guidance

Council agreed new guidance for registrants on meeting its standard related to obtaining valid consent. This followed a period of consultation with stakeholders.

The GOC’s standards reflect the importance of registrants obtaining valid consent when undertaking activities related to their professional roles.

The guidance sets out how to meet the GOC’s standard on obtaining valid consent. It does not create new requirements or give legal advice.

Marcus Dye, Head of Education and Standards, said:

“This is a complex area where registrants had requested guidance, so we have worked hard to ensure the guidance can be applied easily in practice. We encourage all registrants to read and digest it, so that when it is used together with their own professional judgement, the guidance can support them in meeting our standards and delivering high quality patient care.”

The GOC refined the document after consultation with stakeholders including patients and the public, registrants, professional bodies, employers and insurers. It will be available on the GOC website in April.

Courses accredited

Council gave full accreditation to courses at Plymouth University and Ulster University:

  • The course accredited at Plymouth University is a BSc in Optometry
  • The course approved at Ulster University is a Post-Graduate Certificate in Independent Prescribing for Optometrists

New education courses must first receive provisional approval. They do not receive full accreditation until the GOC has ensured that the course meet its requirements. This accreditation process includes tracking at least one cohort of students through the full duration of the course.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) Scheme and Update

Council approved the GOC’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme 2017-2020 for a six week consultation.

Council noted the progress made in achieving our objectives, including the roll out of online EDI training for staff and improving the Impact Assessment process. It was noted that there had been significant progress in this area, and that we will be seeking to improve the capturing and reporting of EDI.

Other news

Council confirmed the reappointment of Helen Tilley and Scott Mackie as Council members for four more years, following their approval by the Privy Council.

Council reappointed haysmacintyre as the GOC external auditors for a further two years until 11 February 2019 and approved the fee for the 2016/17 audit.

Council approved the Working Capital Policy and Investment Policy Statement and decided its preferred option to best oversee investment performance.

Council Chair Gareth Hadley thanked and paid tribute to the four outgoing Council Members – Liam Kite, Paul Carroll, Fiona Peel and Peter Douglas. Their terms come to an end on 31 March. The GOC will announce their replacements in the coming weeks.



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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