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News from Council 28 February 2018

7 Mar 2018

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Approach to Business Standards

Council approved the GOC’s proposed approach to consult and engage with stakeholders on draft Standards for Optical Businesses. 

The new Standards have been developed as part of the GOC’s ongoing standards strategic review which saw the introduction of the Standards of Practice and Standards for Optical Students in April 2016. The new Standards for Optical Businesses will replace the existing Code of Conduct for business registrants and intend to provide clarity on what the GOC expects from optical businesses. They will complement and be consistent with the GOC’s other standards. 

The development of the draft Standards has been informed by an extensive research exercise and informal engagement with the GOC’s stakeholders, as well as testing with its advisory committees.

Director of Strategy, Alistair Bridge, said: “It’s important that our individual and business standards sit in harmony with one another, with a consistent approach that strikes the right balance between an individual’s responsibility and those of the business.”

The GOC is now planning to launch a full public consultation on the draft Standards in late April 2018, which will seek to obtain input from a wide range of stakeholders, including patients, employers and those working within optical businesses. 

In parallel, the GOC is pushing for legislative change to require that all businesses carrying out restricted functions be required to register, which is not currently the case. In the meantime, the GOC is encouraging all businesses to register as a matter of good practice and to meet the new Standards when they are introduced, regardless of the business’ registration status.

Fitness to Practise (FTP) Update

Council considered and noted the GOC’s timeline for anticipated achievement of the end-to-end Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for FTP case progression times. 

Building upon the extensive improvement work already completed, the GOC expects to put in place more dedicated resource this year to help speed up the FTP process. 

Director of FTP, Lisa Davis, said: “Our overriding statutory function is to protect the public and by striving to deal with FTP cases more quickly and effectively, we will minimise the risks to the public and alleviate stress for registrants and complainants involved in the FTP process.”

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Council considered the GOC’s update on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) actions undertaken and planned, and noted the good progress made in achieving its objectives, for example by increasing training and awareness and improving its IT systems to capture EDI data securely, enabling more robust analysis.

Council made the following suggestions to support registrants in improving behaviours on EDI issues to improve patient care:

The GOC should challenge the membership organisations to issue guidance to registrants in practice situations;

EDI and safeguarding training should be better embedded within education, CET and inductions;

The GOC should consider establishing a small focus group to discuss the barriers faced when returning to work. 

The GOC is currently asking all registrants to provide anonymised EDI data as part of the renewal process. The GOC will use this data in line with its Approach to EDI monitoring statement to help better understand trends in the professions, identify areas which may be barriers to particular groups, and evaluate its processes to determine fairness of outcomes in its decision making.

Other news

Council approved the GOC’s 2018-19 budget. The business plan and budget will both be published on the GOC website once finalised.




For media enquiries please contact:

GOC Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7580 3898 (option 3)



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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