The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the Professional Standards Authority’s (The Authority) 2016-17 performance review report. The GOC has met 22 of The Authority’s 24 Standards of Good Regulation, the same number as in the previous year.
The Authority’s report notes improvements that the GOC has made to its information governance processes, meaning the GOC has passed that standard when it did not do so in 2015-16. The GOC again met all the relevant standards of good regulation for its Standards, Education and Registration work.
Lesley Longstone, Interim Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “We welcome The Authority’s report and its recognition of the work we are doing to protect the public. We have worked hard to improve our information governance processes over the last few years and are pleased to see this recognised in us meeting the relevant standard.”
The standards the GOC did not meet relate to how it previously recorded fitness to practise triage decisions, and to the total time taken to process fitness to practise complaints. The review covered the period 1 October 2016 – 30 September 2017.
Lesley Longstone added, “In respect of the recording of triage decisions, we accept that this could have been clearer during the period of the review. We are confident that improvements we have already made will have addressed the Authority’s concerns in this area.
“Speeding the FTP process up overall remains a longer term challenge for us but is nonetheless one we are determined to succeed in. The recent introduction of consensual panel disposal and our forthcoming acceptance criteria will help in this area, as will the recruitment of additional staff.”
GOC Chair Gareth Hadley added, “Lesley has set out the work we’re doing internally to address the challenge of FTP timeliness but I also reiterate our call for legislative reform to help modernise the process for all healthcare professional regulators. We welcome that the Government consulted on regulatory reform last year; if there is an opportunity to legislate in this area it would greatly help us all to improve the efficiency of our FTP process in the interests of patients and registrants alike.
“Meanwhile we welcome The Authority’s ongoing work to modernise the Standards of Good Regulation and look forward to continuing to work with them to protect the public.”