Plans for new operating model at optical regulator

“The need for the GOC to change is urgent,” chief executive, Vicky McDermott emphasises in reshuffle announcement


The General Optical Council has entered into a staff consultation on a new operating model, with a provisional launch date of November 2018.

Chief executive and registrar, Vicky McDermott, emphasised that the proposed new model would help the regulator to improve operational performance and efficiency, as well as providing a more flexible and targeted approach to regulation.

The suggested changes would also “generate an operating model that is at break even or better to create an organisation that is sustainable and provides value of money for both registrants and the public.”

Ms McDermott explained that she has spoken to stakeholders and learned about the ways in which the optical sector is changing after joining the GOC seven months ago.

“It has also given me the chance to reflect on the organisation’s performance and structure,” she added.

The optical sector is undergoing rapid change, Ms McDermott shared. Factors reshaping the professional landscape include the demands of an ageing population, technological advancement and the roles of optical professionals changing as more clinical care takes place in the community.

She highlighted that there is also a growing pressure on all regulators to demonstrate public benefit and value for money.

“The need for the GOC to change is urgent,” Ms McDermott emphasised.

Benefits to registrants

It is expected that the proposed model will speed up the handling of fitness to practise cases and support registrants by sharing lessons drawn from the cases.

The changes will also make it easier for patients, registrants and stakeholders to share their concerns with the GOC and help the regulator to respond more quickly to changes in eye care delivery and technology.

“It will also ensure the organisation’s financial stability,” Ms McDermott highlighted.

The proposed new operating model will involve three phases. The first is delivery of operational improvement plans across each of the GOC’s regulatory areas, from now until March 2019.

The second phase is the launch of the new model which is provisionally scheduled for November 2018 – although this is subject to the outcome of the consultation.

Phase three will incorporate increased automation and self-service within the new model.

Ms McDermott highlighted that the GOC will be seeking stakeholder views on the proposed changes.

Further insight following staff consultation

When approached by OT after the announcement, Ms McDermott said that she would not be able to provide further detail about the new model until after the staff consultation.

“We will listen to the views of our staff and consider what we feel to be the best model,” she shared.

“Once staff consultation has been completed and we have a confirmed new operating model we will look forward to working with stakeholders across the sector and beyond, on how we will make it work, and how we can improve our service to registrants and to the public,” Ms McDermott concluded.