News from Council – 7 December 2022

The General Optical Council (GOC) held its final Council meeting of the year on 7 December 2022. During the meeting, Council approved registrant fees for 2023-24, noted the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) annual report, and approved a revised gifts and hospitality policy.

It was also the final Council meeting for members Glenn Tomison and Rosie Glazebrook.

Registrant fees 2023/2024

Council approved registrant fees for 2023/24.

From April 2023, there will be a below-inflation increase in the main registration fee for optometrists, dispensing opticians, and body corporates of 5.56% to £380.

Fees for students will remain the same and the discount for low-income fees will increase by £20, from £100 to £120, meaning that the low-income fee will remain at £260.

Read more in the GOC’s statement: GOC announces registrant fees for 2023/24.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Annual Report 2021/22

Council noted the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Annual Report, which provides an overview of the GOC’s EDI performance across 2021/22.

EDI considerations are at the heart of delivering all three of the GOC’s strategic objectives. EDI achievements for 2021/22 include:

  • The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) recognising in its 2020/21 Performance Review the GOC’s commitment to EDI through the creation of an EDI action plan; the appointment of an EDI Partner to provide expert support; and commissioning an external consultant to produce a detailed Equality Impact Assessment for new education and training requirements.
  • Making important advances in terms of the collection of registrant and complainant data, providing a much clearer picture of the demographic of registrants who go through the fitness to practise system.
  • Producing an organisational Anti-Racism Statement and forming an Anti-Racism staff group.
  • Winning Best Small Company in the FREDIE (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement) awards run by the National Centre for Diversity; and a Bronze Award from the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion.

The EDI Annual Report 2021/22 also includes the EDI Data Monitoring Report 2021/22. This provides diversity data about registrants, those going through fitness to practise proceedings, staff, Committee members, and students. This data is collected to ensure the GOC complies with Standard 3 of the PSA’s Standards of Good Regulation which states “the regulator understands the diversity of its registrants and their patients and service users and of others who interact with the regulator and ensures that its processes do not impose inappropriate barriers or otherwise disadvantage people with protected characteristics.”

The full EDI Annual Report 2021/22 will be published in due course.

Gifts and hospitality policy

Council approved a revised gifts and hospitality policy, which includes the following amendments:

  • Updating GOC terminology and references to organisational values;
  • Aligning the reporting and investigation process with the GOC speaking up policy for staff;
  • Amending flow charts featured in the policy to reflect feedback from the GOC’s internal Policy Review Group, including a more consistent look with GOC corporate branding.

The requirements for GOC staff, Council and Committee members and workers remain otherwise unchanged.

The gifts and hospitality policy is being updated as part of a planned programme of policy review.

The updated gifts and hospitality policy will be published in due course.

Council members Glenn Tomison and Rosie Glazebrook

The Council meeting was the final one for Glenn Tomison (registrant Senior Council member) and Rosie Glazebrook (lay Council member), whose second term of office as Council members ends on 31 December 2022.

Dr Anne Wright, CBE, GOC Chair of Council, said: “Both Glenn and Rosie have made huge contributions to the work of the Council and its Committees over the last eight years. I am particularly grateful to them for their work on the Education Strategic Review and supporting me in shaping the Council Associates scheme. I have also greatly appreciated and benefited from Glenn’s knowledge and experience as he supported me in the role of Senior member. On behalf of my fellow Council members, I place on record our warmest thanks and appreciation, as well as good wishes for the future.”

Recruitment of two new Council members is in progress, and recommendations have been made to the Privy Council.

Read the full December 2022 Council meeting papers