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The Authority publishes its review of the General Optical Council’s performance for 2017/18

The Professional Standards Authority has published its annual performance review of the General Optical Council (GOC). 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 approximately 28,000 optical professionals (optometrists, dispensing opticians and students) practising in the United Kingdom, as well as 2,740 optical businesses.

The GOC has met 22 out of 24 of our Standards of Good Regulation. The GOC did not meet Standard 3 for Registration as we identified some issues around the accuracy of its register entries in relation to final fitness to practise decisions. The GOC has rectified theses errors and has taken steps to make sure they do not reoccur, although this occurred following the end of the performance review period. Standard 6 for Fitness to Practise remains unmet as the GOC is still taking too long to progress cases. 

More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our Performance Review - GOC 2017/18 or you can read a summary in our two-page snapshot.

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 in the United Kingdom. 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. As at 30 December 2018, the GOC was responsible for a register of 27,976 optical professionals and students and 2,740 optical businesses. Its annual retention fee for optical professionals was £330 for 2017/18 and £340 for 2018/19.
  9. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at