Carole Auchterlonie appointed as Director of Regulatory Operations

The General Optical Council (GOC) has appointed Carole Auchterlonie as Director of Regulatory Operations, following a competitive recruitment process. Carole will lead the organisation’s largest directorate which incorporates fitness to practise (FtP), including triage, investigations, interim orders, case progression and hearings, as well as the GOC’s expert in-house legal team. She will also join the GOC’s senior management team. 

Carole has a wealth of experience in senior roles across health regulation, complaints resolution, professional organisations and charities. Before joining the GOC as Acting Director of Regulatory Operations in October 2023, she was the Director of Fitness to Practise at the General Pharmaceutical Council where she led the organisation’s first strategy for managing concerns about pharmacy professionals as well as an extensive improvement programme to meet the PSA’s Standards of Good Regulation. Before that, she was Managing Ombudsman for the Financial Ombudsman Service, held Casework Director roles at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and was a Regional Director at the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health. 

Chief Executive Leonie Milliner said: 

“I am pleased to announce Carole Auchterlonie as the GOC’s permanent Director of Regulatory Operations. Carole has provided stability and expert leadership to our Regulatory Operations Directorate on an interim basis and brings a wealth of regulatory and complaints resolution experience which will enable us to deliver our regulatory operations with fairness and compassion, as well a leading our high performing teams of committed employees, committee members, contractors and advisors.   

This is an exciting time for us; for a second year we have met all 18 of the Professional Standards Authority’s Standards of Good Regulation, and our focus now is to consolidate and extend our achievements; achieve significant operational change and customer-service improvements and ensure we meet current and anticipated regulatory needs and public protection within an ever-changing landscape”. 

Carole Auchterlonie said: 

“I am delighted to be joining the GOC on a permanent basis and look forward to continuing to work with staff, committees, members and other stakeholders to uphold the highest standards in the optical professions and continue the GOC’s overarching mission to protect the public. 

The PSA’s latest review of the GOC recognised sustained improvements in the time it takes for us to move cases through our fitness to practise system. I look forward to working with Leonie and the team to continue this positive performance and achieve further sustained improvements”.