The regulator released a statement on Friday (29 January) that laid out its commitment to “being a proactive anti-racist organisation.”
The statement begins by defining racism as per the Collins Dictionary definition, before going on to state that “the General Optical Council will not tolerate racism, prejudice, or any discriminatory behaviour.”
The GOC then acknowledges “that in our past endeavours we have been non-racist but passive in championing equality, diversity and inclusion, and in tackling racism.”
It promises that in the future it will “constantly challenge” itself to develop “understanding and create practices and support structures so that equality and inclusion are built into the foundations of the organisation and the values of its people.”
The statement is part of the GOC’s wider commitment to embed anti-racism and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within its organisation and across its processes.
It was drafted in collaboration with GOC staff and Council, and forms part of the regulator’s EDI strategy, which sits within its five-year ‘Fit for the Future’ strategic plan.
Lesley Longstone, the GOC’s chief executive and registrar, said: “Over the past several months, we have been reflecting on our commitment to anti-racism and EDI and how we can ensure it is embedded in everything we do.
“To continue the conversation and actions being taken, we are setting up an anti-racism group, which will review our structures, processes and practices. There will be opportunities to involve our wider community in these conversations and we hope you will get involved.”