2022-23 archived consultation: Updating gender on register
20 Mar 2023
12 Dec 2022
This consultation was previously hosted on our consultation hub. We have moved it here as part of archiving.
As part of our statutory duty to maintain and publish a register of all those who are fit to practise, we publish certain information about our registrants, which currently includes their gender. We are committed to supporting registrants who wish to update their gender on our register and ensuring compliance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and the Equality Act 2010. We sought views on a draft policy setting out the process registrants should follow for applying to the GOC to update their gender on the register.
We consulted for 12 weeks from 12 December 2022 to 20 March 2023. We asked respondents for their views on the draft policy and its impact.
We received 41 written consultation responses from a range of stakeholders including our registrants, members of the public and optical representative organisations. The findings are summarised in our analysis of responses (see the 'files' section below).
We reviewed all the consultation responses and identified places where we wanted to change our policy, as set out in our analysis of responses.
Some stakeholders questioned why we provide information on gender on the register. Considering these comments, we are issuing a consultation on removing information on a registrant’s gender from the public register, running from 29 September to 22 December.
If we decide to remove gender from the public register, we will continue to need a policy for managing requests from registrants to change their gender within our internal systems. It is necessary to do this to ensure our records are accurate while also respecting the rights of individual registrants. Implementing some of the changes to our policy are not considered practical for a short period of time. Once the outcome of the new consultation is known, we will consider whether any outstanding changes need to be applied.
View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.
We are committed to supporting registrants who wish to update their gender on our register and ensuring compliance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and the Equality Act 2010. We have drafted a policy setting out the process for applying to the GOC to update the registered gender. We will agree such applications unless there is a public protection reason for not doing so.
As part of our statutory duty to maintain and publish a register of all those who are fit to practise, we publish certain information about our registrants, which currently includes their gender.
We recognise that this is a sensitive area for some registrants. This policy and process document seeks to make our process for updating gender clear and easy to apply. It also ensures confidentiality under section 22 of the GRA and complies with our information governance framework.
As a statutory regulator subject to the public sector equality duty, we are committed to upholding the Equality Act 2010 including the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment. This document aligns with our commitment to promoting equality, valuing diversity and being inclusive.
The relevant statutory provisions are section 11(2) of the Opticians Act 1989 and rule 21 of the Registration Rules 2005. These do not include a specific requirement to publish a registrant's sex or gender.
The draft policy, together with a draft impact assessment, is available on our consultation hub in the ‘related’ section at the end of the page.
Why your views matter
Our draft policy affects all of our registrants as we will be seeking to ensure fairness to our registrants and applicants who wish to update their gender on our register. We are interested in registrants’ and other stakeholders’ views on this policy and the safeguards that we will apply before we implement these.
What happens next
When the consultation has closed we will analyse the consultation responses in line with our Policy on approach to consultation. The final decision on implementing the policy will be made by our Council.