We offer a specialist Professional Regulatory service to optical professionals regulated by the General Optical Council (GOC).
The GOC is the regulatory body responsible for optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses in the UK; it is illegal to work as an optometrist, optician or to run an optical business without being registered by the GOC. As part of their duty to protect the public, the GOC have the power to take action by either removing or restricting a professional’s registration if they fall seriously short of the high standards expected.
The GOC Fitness to Practise Committee considers allegations of impairment of fitness to practise on grounds including misconduct, lack of competence and ill health.
The investigation process
1. If an allegation is made to the GOC, it will first be assessed by a triage team, which collects evidence and passes the case to an Investigation Committee.
2. The Investigation Committee will consider the allegation and then may decide to take no further action, refer the case to the Fitness to Practise Committee or undertake further investigation.
3. If the Fitness to Practise Committee considers the allegation to be serious, a full hearing takes place. The Committee can then impose:
- A financial penalty (except in a health case)
- Conditions (ordinarily to be followed by a review) for up to 3 years
- Suspension (ordinarily to be followed by a review) for up to 12 months
- Erasure from the register (except in a health case)
The Committee will also consider applications for restoration to the register and appeals if an individual is refused entry to the register and they wish to appeal against the Registrar’s decision.
At any stage, you may be subject to an interim suspension order while the appropriate committee considers your case.
How we can help
There is comprehensive information in our Employment pages on the support we can offer for any workplace situation, including:
- Drafting grievances
- Harassment and bullying
- Internal disciplinary investigations & hearings
- Employment tribunal litigation
- Disclosure & Barring Service representations
- Investigation by the GOC
- High Court Injunctions
- GOC Fitness to Practise Hearings
- High Court Judicial Reviews
- GOC Interim Orders Panel Hearings
If you have been suspended or are under investigation, please contact us as a matter of urgency. It is much better to get advice at this stage, rather than risking the potential consequences for your career if the matter goes further. Anything that calls into question your suitability to remain on the GOC register can have far-reaching consequences.
As a member of a regulated profession, we are fully aware that any investigation or disciplinary process is very stressful, as it will usually go to the heart of your professional practice.
We can support you throughout this process, with pragmatic, considered advice. Should a Fitness to Practise decision go against you, you may be able to appeal any sanctions. We can advise you on the likelihood of success at appeal and can represent you robustly in proceedings in the High Court or Court of Session.
Professional Regulatory Contact
For more information on our Professional Regulatory services, please contact Riz Majid – Head of Employment – +44 (0) 20 7429 3906