2018 archived consultation: Standards for Optical Businesses


30 Aug 2018


14 Jun 2018

This consultation was previously hosted on our consultation hub. We have moved it here as part of archiving.

We asked

We asked you whether our draft business standards:

  • were clear and accessible to anyone working within an optical business and in any scope of practice
  • could be put into effect by businesses easily and have a positive impact

You said

358 of you - a mix of optical businesses, individuals and stakeholder organisations - gave us your views on the draft standards and told us:

  • Overall, the standards were clear, but elements of the language used could be made more specific so that it was easier to see where responsibilities lay
  • More explicit reference to online businesses and use of technology would be beneficial, including how the standards might apply in an online context
  • Commercial pressures faced in practice could be addressed more comprehensively

We did

We took every piece of feedback we received into account and where possible, made changes to the text of the standards (including making language more specific where it was appropriate to do so). For example, the standards now make reference to operational influences on commercial pressures; explicitly include online businesses within their scope as well as ensuring that standards relating to the business environment include the use of software and technology.

Where changes have not been made to the text, we have still taken the feedback on board and are addressing it in our implementation of the standards. We have a number of activities in the pipeline to make it easier for registrants to apply the standards to their practice context, including a microsite which will contain the standards and supporting material in an accessible way. 

The new Standards for Optical Businesses can be found on the GOC Standards.

The full consultation report can be accessed here

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Original consultation


The General Optical Council needs to update its current standards for optical businesses to make sure they are consistent with the Standards of Practice that apply to optometrists and dispensing opticians and ensure that they are up to date.  We have produced draft standards for consultation which you can access by clicking on the link: Draft Standards for Optical Businesses

You will need to look at these standards to be able to answer some of the questions in the survey.  You can also access a copy of these after you begin the survey.


The General Optical Council (GOC) is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK and we have a responsibility to set standards and make our expectations clear to those who we regulate. We regulate the following groups:

  • optometrists
  • dispensing opticians
  • student optometrists and student dispensing opticians
  • optical businesses

When we say 'optical businesses' in this consultation, we mean the opticians where you have your eyes tested and can get glasses or contact lenses from. Your optician will also advise on eye health and you might see them for check-ups and minor treatment.

Depending on where you live, you might see your optician:

  • in their clinic on the high street
  • at your home
  • in a hospital
  • at a community clinic or doctors' surgery
  • on a video call or via an app on your phone

The GOC is responsible for setting standards for the groups we regulate, which set out our expectations of their performance and behaviour.  These standards ensure that patients receive good quality care.

Why your views matter

This is a public consultation to hear the views of both individuals, including patients and the public, and organisations, on our draft Standards for Optical Businesses.

In particular, views are welcomed on:

  1. whether the standards clearly outline our expectations
  2. where things are missing or unclear
  3. what impact the standards might have
  4. whether they fit together with our Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, avoiding confusion and making it clear where responsibilities lie.

We are working with an independent company, Pye Tait Consulting, to undertake the consultation. As well as writing the final consultation report, which will set out the results of this survey, they will be holding focus groups and interviewing people to find out a bit more about views on the Standards. As part of the survey, we will ask you if you are happy to be contacted by Pye Tait Consulting to be involved in a focus group or interview.