2020 archived consultation: Acceptance criteria policy for GOC business registrants


29 Oct 2020


1 Oct 2020

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

We asked

We asked stakeholders to provide feedback on our acceptance criteria for business registrants. We recognise the proposed introduction of the criteria could affect a variety of stakeholders.

These acceptance criteria are a case management tool used by the GOC to decide whether a complaint may amount to an allegation of impaired fitness to carry on business as defined by section 13D of the Opticians Act 1989 and requires investigation.

The purpose of the acceptance criteria for business registrants is to ensure that when a complaint is made against a business registrant, a formal investigation is only opened by the fitness to practise department in appropriate cases.

You said

The acceptance criteria for businesses was broadly welcomed and considered to be well drafted. The majority of the feedback received was in relation to the wording of the criteria and making it more ‘user friendly’.

There were further questions/statements which will not be addressed through the acceptance criteria but are addressed separately in other GOC policies/statements. These include:  

  • Why is the legislation so restrictive and only allows certain businesses to register with the GOC? The GOC may only register businesses that fall within the registration requirements set out within legislation that was drafted in the 1950s. The legislation is under review but will require parliamentary input to amend.
  • What is the internal guidance/policy on applying the criteria? This guidance is contained within the Fitness to Practise triage map.
  • Will this criteria put extra responsibilities onto businesses/individuals? No, the acceptance criteria formalises the triage process on receipt of a complaint against a business registrant.
  • Further information should be included within the criteria e.g. information for whistle-blowers and further useful contacts. There is a separate whistle-blowing policy available here:  https://www.optical.org/en/Investigating_complaints/raising-concerns.cfm and the website contains further useful contacts.

We did

We reviewed all 23 responses from the consultation and decided whether to accept, reject or incorporate the feedback. The following amendments have been made:

  • Replacing ‘legal’ terminology with more user-friendly terminology.
  • Clarifying what complaints the GOC will accept when they relate to eye surgery.
  • Ensuring consistent phraseology is used.

The acceptance criteria for business registrants is available on our website: https://www.optical.org/en/Investigating_complaints/fitness-to-practise-guidance/  

We will hold a review of the acceptance criteria annually to ensure it remains up to date.

Original consultation


This consultation seeks the views of stakeholders on the introduction of an acceptance criteria policy specifically for GOC business registrants. The purpose of the acceptance criteria is to provide greater clarity and guidance on when we can open an investigation against a business registrant. It will also help ensure that we continue to make consistent and transparent decisions in relation to our fitness to practise processes. 

The acceptance criteria will only apply to GOC business registrants. The criteria have been developed for our fitness to practise staff, business registrants, individual registrants working for businesses, complainants and members of the public. Once finalised the policy will be published on our website.

Why your views matter

We already have an acceptance criteria policy for individual registrants i.e. optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical students, but we have now developed a specific policy for business registrants.

The acceptance criteria policy for business registrants affects both businesses and the public, so it is important that we consult on this prior to publication to ensure the document is fair, workable and proportionate.

We would like to hear your views and suggest you read the acceptance criteria policy before responding. The policy is located at the bottom of this page.

We encourage you to respond to all the questions, but you are free to respond to as many or few as you choose.

We will use the information and feedback that we receive to finalise the acceptance criteria. We will publish a report to summarise the findings of this consultation and explain how we have used the feedback.