News from Council 26 February 2020

Strategic plan 2020-25

The GOC is launching a new strategic plan in April 2020 which sets out the organisation’s vision over the next five years.

A draft plan was consulted on from December 2019 to January 2020, receiving 50 responses from individuals and organisations across the optical, regulatory and healthcare sector.

A revised plan was presented to Council which was approved, subject to drafting changes arising from the meeting.

Council welcomed the support from respondents for the mission, vision and values and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy, as well as the three strategic objectives:

  • delivering world-class regulatory practice;
  • transforming customer service; and
  • building a process of continuous improvement.

They also discussed feedback in relation to issues raised which will be considered in the final development of the plan.

The main changes include:

  • reduced length of the plan from a six year plan to five years to bring it in line with the next CET cycle ending in 2025;
  • merging of the EDI strategy into the main strategy for clarity and cohesion;
  • ‘we are agile and responsive to change’ added as a value; and
  • inclusion of work programmes and timescales under each of the objectives to provide clarity on how the objectives will be achieved.

Council also approved the business plan and budget for 2020-21.

The final version of the strategic plan will be published by in March, ahead of its launch in April.

Council Chair appointment

Council have agreed the recommendations from the Nominations Committee regarding the appointment process for a new Council Chair following Gareth Hadley’s term of office ending in February 2021.

The recommendations agreed were:

  • the role profile
  • the competences to be sought
  • the selection panel membership
  • involvement of CEO and Council members
  • timetable for campaign

Recruitment will begin in July 2020 and the new Chair will be announced in December 2020.

Fitness to Practise

It was reported that open case volumes are down by 30 per cent compared to this time last year, largely due to the GOC’s Fitness to Practise (FTP) improvement programme. An enhanced triage process concluded its pilot in December 2019.

An audit on FTP decisions during 2018-2019 was conducted to ensure they are compliant with legislation, rules and decision-maker guidance, and that they meet the overarching objective of protecting the public.

Overall, the findings demonstrate that the GOC continues to meet the high quality standards and is compliant with the Council’s statutory obligations.

Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS)

Following a competitive procurement exercise, Nockolds Solicitors has been reappointed as the Optical Consumer Complaints Service provider, on a three-year contract commencing 1 April 2020. The service is funded by the General Optical Council.

Last year, Nockolds enabled the OCCS to successfully resolve 88 per cent of consumer complaints via mediation.

The firm has provided the free mediation service to resolve consumer complaints in the optical sector since 2014.