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The Authority publishes its review of the General Optical Council’s performance for 2015/16

The Professional Standards Authority has published its annual performance review of the General Optical Council. We review each of the statutory health and social care regulators each year to assess whether they are meeting our Standards of Good Regulation. The GOC’s register covers 21,334 optometrists and dispensing opticians practising in the United Kingdom and it also registers student opticians and optical businesses.

We are pleased to see an improvement in the GOC’s performance this year – meeting 22 out of 24 of our Standards of Good Regulation. However, the GOC is still taking too long to progress its fitness to practise cases. We recognise that the GOC has put in place new systems and processes to improve timeliness of cases and that these are expected to take effect over the coming year. We will continue to monitor this.

More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our  Annual Review of Performance Review 2015/16 - GOC or read a summary in our snapshot. You can also read a commentary that the GOC has decided to provide setting out its disagreement with one aspect of the report.

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

Christine Braithwaite, Director Standards and Policy
Reception: 020 7389 8030

Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
  3. The Standards of Good Regulation are designed to ensure that the regulators are protecting the public but also promoting confidence in health and care professionals and themselves. The Standards cover the regulators’ four core functions: setting and promoting guidance and standards for the profession; setting standards for and quality assuring the provision of education and training; maintaining a register of professionals; and taking action where a professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired.
  4. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  5. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  6. We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  7. Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to being impartial, fair, accessible and consistent in the application of our values.
  8. The General Optical Council (GOC) regulates the optical professions. It registers optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses in the United Kingdom. In addition to the 21,334 optometrists and dispensing opticians on its register, there are also: 2,583 optical businesses, 3,456 student optometrists and 1,886 student dispensing opticians. Its work includes: setting and maintaining standards of practice and conduct; assuring the quality of optical education and training; maintaining a register of students, qualified professionals and optical businesses; requiring optical professionals to keep their skills up to date through continued education and training; and acting to restrict or remove from practice registrants who are not considered to be fit to practise. Its annual retention fee for these registrants was £320 for the period under review (and from 1 April 2017 is £330).
  9. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at