On the ground at the AOP

An explainer on... AOP Council elections 2024

What is the AOP looking for in a Councillor? OT  finds out ahead of the 2024 election process

A close-up of a group of people gathered around a table with notebooks and a laptop. One lady is writing

The AOP Council is usually made up of 33 Councillors, with 13 elected to represent members in their geographical constituencies, and the rest appointed to designated positions representing particular groups within our membership.

A range of the AOP Council’s geographical seats are up for election in constituencies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are also four appointed positions available for application through appointment. There are positions to represent undergraduate members, pre-registration members, newly-qualified and early career members, and dispensing optician members.

Our Council is representative of the diversity of the profession. We have Councillors across different career stages with different backgrounds, professional experiences and priorities. This diversity enables involvement with Council to be a learning experience for everyone.

Councillors bring their own experiences, opinions and concerns, and those of the members they represent. We encourage Councillors to communicate with the wider membership and use this feedback to inform their involvement in the AOP Council meetings which take place three times each year.

By listening to this depth of perspectives, the AOP is better able to represent our members’ interests in policy-making and influencing of Government and bodies like the General Optical Council (GOC), and to improve the support we provide to members. Council meetings are also a great opportunity for networking with others in the profession.

The GOC will be consulting on the individual professional standards that registered optical professionals must work within. Our Council will help inform the AOP’s response to these changes. The GOC will also be reviewing its regulation of optical businesses, and we will represent the views from across our employee, locum, and employer members that this will affect.

There is likely to be an election in 2024, and the AOP will be pushing the political parties to keep eye care on the agenda.

Members don’t need to have masses of experience to become an AOP Councillor. You simply need to be interested in making a difference to the future of the profession. You will need to attend three meetings a year and spend time communicating with colleagues to be able to bring their views to meetings along with your own.

If you feel that something within the profession should be changed or done better, then applying for the AOP Council is the way to go. Current Councillors have said that our Council is a great networking opportunity, and a chance to learn from each other as well as contribute to debates. They also find the meetings friendly and fun.

Nominations will open on 15 February. Members can put themselves forward for a Council post, with a deadline of 14 March. Voting will open on 2 April and close on 23 April.

The AOP engages a specialist company to manage the election process. Voting is anonymous and confidential. Members will receive emails with links to the details of who is standing in their constituency, and a unique link so that they can cast their vote.

As a member, it is a great opportunity to influence who is representing you on the AOP Council.

Read more about AOP Council, including a description of the role of AOP Councillor, online.

Coming up at the AOP

Don’t miss the big stories from the 10th edition of the optical show. Follow along on social media, or through OT’s dedicated page

Check your communication preferences under the MyAOP section of the website to stay up to date as the AOP releases its spring/summer education programme.

AOP members will have the opportunity to share their views on topical issues impacting the sector as the AOP launches a new Voice of Optometry research survey.