Looking ahead: consulting on the GOC's 2025-30 strategy

In April we launched a consultation on our strategy for the period 2025-2030. Our ambition remains to be a world-class regulator with a focus on protecting the public. We want to be agile, robust and effective in the deployment of our regulatory responsibilities, well regarded by stakeholders and continue to meet all the Professional Standards Authority's (PSA) Standards of Good Regulation. 

We expect to begin our new strategy from a strong position, with positive stakeholder relationships, sound finances, including healthy reserves, and having delivered major investment in digital transformation that promises to improve our customer service. But we are committed to continuous improvements in our core functions such as maintaining the registers, approving qualifications and managing fitness to practise operations.  

The strategy itself focusses on the key areas of change and sets out three strategic objectives. These are:  

  • Creating fairer and more inclusive eye care services;  
  • Supporting responsible innovation and protecting the public;
  • Preventing harm through agile regulation.

Whilst public trust in optical services remain high, some groups of patients face higher barriers to accessing services and are getting worse outcomes. Equally, our registrant survey data suggests that registrants’ experiences of working in the sector are unequal. Developments in technology, service delivery, business models, commissioning and working patterns are changing the face of eye care. These changes present both opportunities and challenges that regulation must respond to. Our style of regulation will also have to evolve to meet modern expectations of regulators and respond to these challenges. As in healthcare, so in regulation, preventing harm before it arises is better than treating problems after the fact.  

We hold information about our registrants, about developments in eye care and about patient expectations but there are gaps in that data and more we can do with it. In the next five years we want to improve how we use that data and insight to address the strategic objectives. And we want to make that data more accessible to stakeholders and partners. We know that we will not be able to address these issues by ourselves, so bringing together stakeholders on key topics, as we did last year to discuss registrants’ experiences of bullying and harassment, will also be key. We also need to strengthen the user voice across our work, enabling us to put the interests of the public and patients at the heart of regulation. All of this will take place against a backdrop of some uncertainty, as we continue to prepare for reform to the Opticians Act.  

As part of the consultation we are holding an open engagement event for registrants on 22 May between 2pm and 3.30pm. Come along and hear from our Chief Executive and Registrar and Director of Regulatory Strategy, as they share key aspects of our strategy. Please sign up here. We will be holding separate events with charities and patient organisations representing people with eye health conditions and with the professional and representative bodies.  

When we launched our last strategy in 2020, we could not have anticipated that it would be published during such extraordinary circumstances. The pandemic accelerated changes already happening, for example, the increased use of digital technologies and changing workforce pattern. Our new strategy must be equally flexible and responsive to change. Hearing the thoughts and views of stakeholders will help us to achieve this in our strategy and deliver effective public protection. I hope you will take part in this consultation, either at our open event or by responding on our consultation platform.

Take part in the GOC's 2025-30 strategy consultation Sign up to our open event for registrants on the GOC's 2025-30 strategy consultation