Councillor job description

The role of AOP Councillors

Summary of role

The AOP’s Council is the representative forum for AOP members. Each Council member is responsible for listening to and communicating with members, for conveying their views and for assisting them when they need information or support. 

Each member brings their own knowledge and experience to the work of the AOP.

Council members who represent a geographical constituency are expected to work in a team with the other Councillors representing that area. They are expected to share and divide tasks in order to ensure that all activities and duties are covered.


The role is unpaid, but loss of earnings is paid in line with the AOP expenses policy. Expenses, for example, travel, are reimbursed on production of proof of expenditure.

Councillors are expected to undertake some work without reimbursement for loss of earnings. This includes web‐based communications activity of at least an hour a week and attending regional continuing education and training (CET) events, usually two per year, for which only travel expenses will be paid except in special pre‐agreed cases.

Key tasks

  • To attend Council meetings and participate in committee meetings and working groups, taking part in policy‐making, as and when required
  • To propose agenda items for Council meetings
  • To communicate with members, mainly electronically, for example:
    - Reporting the discussions that take place at Council meetings
    - Participating in community forums on the AOP website
    - Seeking opinions on key topics, collating responses and presenting them at meetings
  • To represent the AOP within the represented group, for example attending CET events and participating in relevant meetings
  • To provide reports to Council from the represented group
  • To promote and actively encourage membership of the AOP
  • To take part in AOP events, for example staffing the AOP’s stand at conferences
  • To deal with requests from members appropriately, for example referring members to the right person within the AOP to provide them with answers, advice or support
  • If appropriate, after some experience and appropriate training, to act as a mentor to new Council members


  • To attend at least two meetings out of the annual three, reading all relevant papers before the meeting takes place
  • To act as a ’critical friend’ to the AOP, communicating members’ views to Council and to communicate Council’s decisions and the reasons for them to members
  • To declare any conflict of interest
  • To respect confidentiality rules applying to commercially sensitive information and the privacy of individuals
  • To be mindful when speaking in public forums that one is speaking for the AOP or will be assumed to be so
  • To be familiar with the AOP website and the member advice and policy positions it sets out
  • To regularly read AOP communications to members, including emails and Optometry Today

Person specification

  • To be a working optometrist ‐ or dispensing optician, student or pre‐registration student in the case of the members representing those designated groups
  • Committed to promoting and furthering the ideals of the profession
  • Membership of and commitment to the AOP and the representative group
  • Interest in and some knowledge of optical policy
  • Willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to fulfil the specified duties and activities
  • Willingness to speak on behalf of the group being represented
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of a team
  • Comfort with the use of the internet to communicate and network


To be eligible to apply for and to take up a designated position, or Regional (elected) position, applicants must be AOP members, resident in the UK and must fulfil the criteria for each position laid out below.

 Position  Eligibility
 Regional (elected) positions
An optometrist member, who lives or works in the region they represent
 Dispensing Optician
An AOP dispensing optician member 
 University Lecturer
Must teach optometry at a UK university
 Hospital Optometrist
As appointed by the Hospital Optometrists Committee
 Franchisee/Joint Venture Partner Optometrist  An optometrist who is a Joint Venture Partner or Franchisee
 Early-career Optometrist
An optometrist whose first registration on the GOC’s Opticians Register was between one and five years before the start of the Council year in which the term of office on Council begins 
 Newly‐qualified Optometrist 
An optometrist whose first registration on the GOC’s Opticians Register was no earlier than three years before the start of the Council year in which the term of office on Council begins in June 2020
 Pre‐registration Optometrist
A student member who is entering their pre-registration year in the academic year 2020-21, and expects to undertake a training contract during that year
 Undergraduate Student Optometrist
A student member of the AOP who is in the third or fourth year of their studies for an undergraduate degree in optometry at a United Kingdom university in the academic year 2020-21

Term of office

Before standing down people occupying each role may serve.

 Position  Term of office
 Regional (elected position)
 Up to three, three-year terms
 Dispensing Optician
 Up to three, three-year terms
 University Lecturer
 Up to three, three-year terms
 Hospital Optometrist
 As determined by the Hospital Optometrists Committee
 Franchisee/ joint-venture Partner
 Up to three, three-year terms
 Early-career Optometrist
 One three‐year‐term
 Newly‐qualified Optometrist
Up to three, one‐year‐terms
 Pre‐registration Optometrist
 One one‐year‐term
 Undergraduate Student Optometrist
 One one‐year‐term