Collaborate Research recently conducted a large-scale ‘enhanced consultation’ on the General Optical Council’s proposed new standards for both its qualified and student registrants. In addition to the standard public consultation element, we conducted a number of proactive research-based strands including qualitative research with patients and the general public, registrants, students and the GOC’s fitness to practise staff, as well as a survey which was disseminated to all registrants.
There was an unprecedented level of response to the consultation, which included almost 2,000 survey responses, more than 200 responses to the public consultation and close to 150 stakeholders involved in various qualitative sessions. The approach ensured that a range of stakeholders were involved including those who did not respond in great numbers or at all to the public consultation. In addition, the process yielded detailed feedback not just in response to the broad consultation questions but also in specific areas such as the drafting of individual standards. As a result of this work, the new standards have now been agreed and will come into effect next year. The consultation has also provided guidance to inform the GOC’s implementation plan.