GOC shares Fitness to Practise insights with optical business registrants

On Friday the General Optical Council (GOC) held a roundtable event for optical business registrants at their London office.

The event was attended by representatives from a wide range of companies.

Dionne Spence, GOC Director of Casework and Resolution said:

"We hope that by sharing insight about the complaints we receive, and our Fitness to Practise (FTP) processes and outcomes, we can help both optical businesses and practitioners to minimise the likelihood of complaints being raised with us.

"Optical businesses play a vital role in providing eye care services to the public and provide the working environment for thousands of our registrants. Going forward, we hope to create more opportunities to share information with our business registrants, from the large multiples to smaller independents.

"I found the event very helpful in giving me greater insight into how businesses operate. Getting feedback directly from business registrants was invaluable and will help inform our prevention agenda. I would like to thank everyone who attended for their commitment and constructive engagement."

Meena Ralhan, Vision Express, Optical Compliance Officer said:

"We really welcome the direct engagement from the GOC, it was an insightful day working through scenarios to see actually how the GOC reach decisions and surprisingly how only a small handful of company complaints go through to a full FTP hearing.

"The new business standards are welcomed, easy to understand and effectively what we already do. We look forward to supporting the GOC in implementing them further within our businesses. This honest and open approach with businesses’ involvement is a very positive way forward. May it continue."

During the forum, business registrants were presented with a range of real-life case studies to develop their understanding of the FTP process.

The GOC also shared data showing that the most common complaints received about business registrants over the last three years related to:

  1. Optical businesses not having correct procedures in place or not applying their established procedures appropriately
  2. Poor complaint handling
  3. Directors of optical businesses failing to declare cautions / convictions

Limited companies operating as optical businesses which use protected titles such as optometrist or optician, must register with the GOC by law. However, the GOC urge all eligible optical businesses for which business registration is not mandatory to register their business to enhance trust from patients. Independent research has shown that patients would rather ‘use an optical business that meets a certain set of standards, than one that does not’*.

Find out more about business registration.


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 which will take effect from October 2019.
  3. The new Standards 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.
  4. Bodies corporate using the protected terms ophthalmic optician, optician, dispensing optician and optometrist must register their business with the GOC (Opticians Act 1989).
  5.  *Research was conducted by Pye Tait research agency. The full research report can be found on the GOC website.