The GOC standards review: “We want to ensure that our standards are fit for purpose”
OT speaks to the GOC’s standards manager, Rebecca Chamberlain, about the regulator’s Standards Review
04 May 2023
Last month the General Optical Council (GOC) announced that it would review its standards as part of its “statutory duty to protect public safety and maintain public confidence.”
Here, the GOC’s standards manager, Rebecca Chamberlain, talks to OT about the importance of the review, its scope, and how registrants can share their views.
When did the GOC launch its Standards review and why?
The GOC launched the Standards Review in April 2023 in order to revise and update the existing standards of practice, to comply with our statutory duties, and ensure continued public protection. We want to ensure that our standards are fit for purpose and reflect the current context within which registrants practice, students are trained, and businesses operate.
What is the project’s remit?
The scope of the Standards Review project is to review and update the Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, and the Standards for Optical Students. We recognise that changes to those standards may require consequential changes to be made to the Standards for Optical Businesses, however, we are not conducting a full review of the business standards at this time.
We are very keen to hear from as many registrants as possible, to ensure that the project is successful
What will the review involve?
As part of the Standards Review, we will be running a series of stakeholder ‘conversations’ on key topics such as social media and online conduct, supervision and delegation, leadership and technology and artificial intelligence. We will also be commissioning a piece of patient and public research to understand how the public perceive our standards, and their views on the proposed areas for revision.
We will use the data from the stakeholder conversations and the patient and public research to inform draft revisions to the standards. We will launch an online consultation on the draft standards in early 2024.
Where and how can registrants get involved in the review?
We are very keen to hear from as many registrants as possible, to ensure that the project is successful, and delivers standards which are fit for purpose.
Our first stakeholder conversation is being held on 11 May and the topic is social media and online conduct. Our second stakeholder conversation is being held on 24 May and the topic is supervision and delegation.
Registrants are encouraged to attend one or more stakeholder conversations, and can register their interest by contacting [email protected] with the following information:
- The topic they wish to discuss
- Whether they are a dispensing optician or an optometrist
- How long they have been practising, or if they are a student.
If registrants are interested in talking about these topics but are unable to attend on these dates, we would advise them to contact us and if we have sufficient interest, we will offer other dates or make a recording available afterwards.
Registrants will also be able to get involved in the full consultation, which will be launched in early 2024.
Why is it important for registrants to share their views as part of the review?
The purpose of the Standards Review is to ensure that the revised standards are fit for purpose and reflect current practice. To achieve this, we need to understand how well the existing standards provide a framework for safe and effective practice and where there may be gaps in the standards. We need registrants to engage with us, to advise and guide our understanding of the areas which need revision and/or to identify new or emerging issues which we need to address.
The consultation results will inform final revisions to the standards in summer 2024, and the revised standards will be published in autumn 2024, following sign off from the council
When will you conclude feedback gathering and what are the next steps?
The stakeholder conversations will be held between May and July this year, and the patient and public research will be conducted between June and August. We will review the outcomes of both pieces of work in the autumn and use the data to inform draft revisions to the standards. The draft revisions will be shared as part on an online consultation in early 2024.
When and how does the GOC anticipate concluding the review and sharing the outcomes?
The GOC will review the results of the online consultation in spring 2024 and publish a summary report. The consultation results will inform final revisions to the standards in summer 2024, and the revised standards will be published in autumn 2024, following sign off from the council.