Consulting on our standards

As part of our mission to ensure continued public protection, we launched a review of our Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians and our Standards for Optical Students in April 2023. Both sets of standards were last reviewed in 2016.

Through our Standards Review, we aim to ensure that our standards are fit for purpose and reflect the current context within which registrants practise, students are trained, and businesses operate. Any changes to these standards will be reflected in amendments to the Standards for Optical Businesses where necessary.

What we have done

In our last blog, we published a summary of our stakeholder conversations. Since then, we have analysed the transcripts of the stakeholder conversations and other engagement events, to identify areas for revisions and gaps in our standards.

We heard from stakeholders, including patients and the public, that our existing standards are generally good, and it is important that we retain what works well. We have therefore focused the proposed revisions on areas which we felt could benefit from being strengthened or updated. As an example, we have strengthened our expectations around the care of patients in vulnerable circumstances. We have set out our interpretation of ‘vulnerable circumstances’ which includes, but is not limited to, physical or mental health conditions, capability in managing health, or handling a difficult set of life events. Our proposed revisions would require registrants to be aware of patient's circumstances and to take account of any vulnerabilities when providing safe and effective optical care. The proposed revisions should lead to improvements in patient experience, address issues of inequality and reflect best practice in this area.

In addition to updating and strengthening the standards, we have also proposed a few new standards to address emerging issues. For example, we have proposed a new standard setting very clear expectations in relation to sexual conduct. The proposed revision should reduce any ambiguity, address concerns about the increase in sexual misconduct fitness to practise cases and brings the GOC in line with other regulators on this issue.

We drafted the proposed changes to the standards and discussed these with GOC staff, Council members, Advisory Panel, and Standards Committee to test our approach and obtain feedback. In December, we presented the proposed changes to Council, who gave approval for us to consult. We have just launched our consultation on the revised standards, and we need to hear from you to inform the next stage of the Standards Review project.

How to take part

The consultation can be accessed via our consultation hub. Alternatively, if you would like a PDF or Microsoft Word copy of the consultation form, please e-mail us at You are welcome to submit your response via e-mail, to the same address.

The consultation is open for 12 weeks, closing on 8 May 2024. We encourage as many stakeholders as possible to respond to the consultation to ensure a range of voices are heard.

During this consultation phase, we will be hosting several events to give stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the proposed changes to our standards and ask any questions. Please see schedule below and sign up for an event using the Eventbrite links. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Book your place

Wednesday 6th March 2024 1pm – 3pm
All stakeholders 
Book here

Thursday 7th March 2024 6pm – 8pm Students only 
Book here

Tuesday 19th March 2024 10am – 12pm
All stakeholders
Book here 

Wednesday 17th April 2024 6pm – 8pm
All stakeholders
Book here

If you have any questions regarding the Standards Review project or the consultation on our standards, please contact