Raising concerns about a CPD provider

Who can raise a concern? 

Anyone can raise concerns to us about a GOC-approved CPD provider. We take all concerns about GOC-approved providers seriously.  

Feedback about a provider is different from a concern about a provider. You can provide feedback, both positive and negative, about provider-led CPD content, delivery and usefulness in your MyCPD account when you upload your points. This helps the provider refine their CPD offering. We also consider this data, in aggregate, in our approval and quality assurance processes. We know that you might not want to add CPD to your record which you feel hasn’t met our high standards, but it really helps us to be made aware about the quality of CPD delivered by an approved provider, good or bad.

Raising concerns about a provider would be for issues beyond the general content, delivery and usefulness of the CPD session, and relate to concerns that our standards are potentially not being met. For example, where clinical content is significantly out of date and may pose a risk to patients.   

Before you contact us   

In the first instance, you should raise your concerns through the CPD provider’s formal complaints process. This gives them a chance to consider your concerns and address them.  

We won’t normally consider your complaint unless you have exhausted the provider’s complaints process prior to approaching us, unless there is an immediate risk to public or patient safety.

We can only consider concerns which fall within our statutory remit, including those related to compliance with our Guidance and Standards for CPD Providers. This includes:

  • concerns related to CPD providers with full and provisional GOC approval  
  • concerns about organisations falsely claiming to be CPD providers with full or provisional GOC approval.  

We can’t consider concerns about:  

  • CPD providers and CPD provision that is not approved by the GOC (you can recognise GOC-approved CPD as it will always have a C-reference) 
  • the availability of CPD sessions 
  • the location of CPD sessions. 

These types of complaints should be directed to the provider and/or professional body.  

Contact us with your concern or complaint  

To raise a concern or make a complaint about a CPD provider, you can:  

  • email your concerns to our CPD department at cpd@optical.org   
  • call us on 020 7580 3898  

If we can make any reasonable adjustments to enable you to raise a concern or complaint, please let us know. 

What happens after you contact us  

If you raise a concern with us, we:   

  1. will acknowledge your concern, provided we have your contact details.  
  2. will review the concern and confirm whether the matters raised are within our remit (for example that the CPD provider is GOC-approved or claiming to be GOC-approved). 
  3. will consider the concern in relation to the standards (see Annex 2 in the Provider Guide) we expect GOC-approved CPD providers to meet. 
  4. may ask the CPD provider for its response to the issue(s) raised. Please note, to enable them to respond, at this stage we may need to share identifiable details of the concern with the provider.  

We will keep you updated on any action(s) we take. At any stage, we may also ask you for more information.   


If we consider that our standards are potentially not being met by the provider, we will investigate further using our quality assurance processes, which can include requesting information from a provider and/or conducting a targeted audit. If we decide not to investigate, we will let you know and will explain our reasons. 

If, after investigation, we find that a provider is not meeting our standards, we can:   

  • issue advice and guidance to the provider; 
  • carry out targeted audits to ensure the provider is improving until it meets our standards. For more information, see our Guide to audit of providers of CPD; 
  • review the provider’s approval status. This may involve changing the provider to ‘provisionally approved’ status, which allows us to have a closer oversight of the provider during an improvement period; and/or  
  • we may decide to suspend or withdraw our approval altogether, should a provider not meet our standards, nor make the required improvements. 

What can you expect when raising a concern with us  

We will look into your concern as quickly as we can. The more relevant information you provide, often the more quickly we will be able to consider your concern.    

We appreciate that raising a concern may be daunting. Please see our ‘Speaking up’ guidance to help you consider options when speaking up, or when thinking of doing so. If you need support while we look into your concern, there are organisations that can help you, such as MIND for example, as well as support from professional membership bodies.   

We may not always be able to provide the outcome or answer you want, but we do want to learn from your experience of raising a concern with us and we’ll use your feedback to improve our services.  

Data and information 

In order to fulfil our statutory duties under the Opticians Act 1989, we need to process personal information. This includes disclosing, sharing and publishing personal information when it is in the public interest to do so. For example, providing sufficient information for a provider to respond to a concern.    

We do this with careful consideration of our information responsibilities, under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), to ensure that our use of personal data is lawful, properly controlled and that an individual's rights are respected.  

You can find more information about our approach on our Data and information at the GOC page.  

If a concern or complaint is raised anonymously, we will consider if we are able to investigate based on the information available and will try to respond where possible.