GOC Business Standards consultation receives positive response from the optical sector

Today the GOC has published the full report of the consultation into new draft Standards for Optical Businesses. Analysis of the consultation findings show high approval levels from respondents, with the majority agreeing that they will have a positive impact on optical businesses, professionals and the public.

Of the 351 unique responses received to the survey, 87 per cent were from registrants and the public, while the remaining 13 per cent were from organisations, including registered optical businesses, non-registered optical businesses and optical representative bodies and associations.

Key results from the survey undertaken as part of the consultation included 70 per cent of respondents agreeing that the standards can be applied by and to different types of optical businesses and a further 81 per cent of respondents agreeing that the GOC’s expectations of optical businesses are clear. Many respondents also reported that the draft proposals reflect ‘what businesses do anyway’.

Feedback from patients also underscored the importance of business standards, with 84 per cent of patients interviewed saying they would rather “use an optical business that meets a certain set of standards, than one that does not”

However, some key stakeholders had concerns surrounding the wording of the standards and the potential impacts. The GOC is working with these stakeholders to better understand their concerns and address the issues they’ve raised.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said:

"Business registrants play an essential role in the provision of optical services to the public. Our new business standards will make our expectations of registrants clear and are necessary to reflect changes in the optical and wider healthcare practice over the last few years, including incorporating recommendations from recent healthcare inquiries, emerging technologies and the increased prevalence of multidisciplinary working.

"We are pleased with the positive feedback to the consultation. Currently we are working with stakeholders to address the issues raised and to ensure the new Standards are fit for purpose and as future proof as possible."

The consultation into draft Standards for Optical Businesses was carried out from 14 June 2018 until 30 August 2018 and was comprised of a survey hosted on our consultation hub, as well as interviews and focus groups with a number of our stakeholder groups. The GOC also partnered with the independent research agency Pye Tait Consulting to conduct focus groups and interviews with 267 registrants and members of the public.

Standards for Optical Businesses will be reviewed by the GOC’s Council in February and once approved the final Standards are expected to come into force in October 2019.

Read the consultation report.


For further information please contact:

Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7307 3478 – option 3

e: communications@optical.org

About the General Optical Council:

  1. The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers over 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.
  2. The GOC Code of Conduct for businesses sets out the expectation the GOC has for registered optical businesses. The current Code of Conduct will be replaced by new Standards for Optical Businesses.
  3. The new Standards for Optical Businesses will be published in April and will come into force in October 2019.
  4. The new Standards will provide further information to all optical business owners on the GOC’s expectations of them and will reflect what’s already being done in many businesses, they must be read alongside Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.
  5. Bodies corporate using the protected terms ophthalmic optician, optician, dispensing optician and optometrist must register their business with the GOC (Opticians Act 1989).
  6. All optical businesses are encouraged to register with the GOC to promote high standards across the sector and inspire public confidence.
  7. Independent agency Pye Tait carried out interviews and focus groups with 100 members of the public,110 registrants (inclusive of optometrists, dispensing opticians, optical students and student supervisors) and 57 optical businesses.