A guide to the GOC's new CPD exceptions policy

A summary of how the latest CPD exceptions policy has changed, and what help is available

Optometrist examining patient's eyes with a slit lamp

The General Optical Council (GOC) have published the latest version of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) exceptions policy which will apply to the current CPD cycle that ends on 31 December 2024.

Optical professionals on the register are required to meet the necessary CPD requirements set by the GOC over the course of a three year cycle. If you do not meet those requirements, it is possible that you will be removed from the GOC register and will be unable to practise.

Non-compliance with the requirements

The policy sets out the steps that the GOC will take in respect of those professionals who have not complied with the requirements and the factors that will be considered as part of that process.

The process and factors are largely similar to previous versions, albeit with references to ‘CET’ being replaced by references to ‘CPD’. There are some other changes including:

  • The removal of reference to the COVID-19 pandemic at Paragraph 4.2 of the policy
  • The addition of a further factor that the GOC will consider when deciding whether to retain an individual’s registration at Paragraph 4.3.3

“Whether the registrant has completed a personal development plan (PDP) and the reflective exercise based on their PDP. Failure to evidence satisfactory completion of these requirements will not of themselves be grounds for removal from the register but would be considered mitigating or aggravating factors alongside our consideration of a shortfall in requirements”.

Exceptional circumstances 

The policy makes it clear that it is important that registrants look to meet all of the CPD requirements by the end of the cycle if at all possible. If there are exceptional circumstances that have meant you are is unable to complete the necessary CPD, you will be contacted by the GOC following the end of the cycle and afforded an opportunity to make an application to remain on the register.

Worried about your CPD?

Don’t panic: there are many months before the end of the CPD cycle. The AOP has a suite of education on offer online, as well as in-person events in 2024.

If you think that the policy may apply to you or that you may be unable to meet your CPD requirements, contact the legal team at the AOP for assistance.