Skip to main content

Authority publishes its performance review of the General Optical Council for 2020/21

The Professional Standards Authority has published its annual performance review of the General Optical Council for 2020/21. We review each of the statutory health and social care regulators each year to assess whether they are meeting our Standards of Good Regulation. At the time of assessment, the GOC’s register includes more than 28,000 optical professionals and 2,800 optical businesses in the UK.

We have assessed the GOC’s performance against our Standards of Good Regulation. The judgements we make against each Standard incorporate a range of evidence to form an overall picture of performance. Meeting a Standard means that, based on the information we have reviewed, we are satisfied that a regulator is performing well in that area. For this review period, covering 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021, the GOC has met 17 out of 18 of the Standards.

The GOC has not met our Standard relating to the timeliness of its fitness to practise work. It has made progress implementing an improvement plan that is starting to have a real impact. In particular, the GOC has significantly reduced the end-to-end timeliness measure this year, and has brought down the number of open cases in the system. However, looking across the whole review period, the GOC still took too long to conclude its fitness to practise cases and therefore has not met Standard 15.

More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our Performance Review - GOC 2020/21 and through a summary in our snapshot.


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care


Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 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. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 September 2021, the GOC was responsible for a register of 25,578 optical professionals and students and 2,803 optical businesses. Its annual retention fee for optical professionals was £360 for 2020/21.
  7. Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
  8. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at