Consultation on new optical standards of practice

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.

Client feedback
“Collaborate Research carried out an extensive, multi-pronged consultation exercise to test new professional standards for opticians, and new standards for optical students. This involved a public consultation to which anyone could respond, an online survey sent to around 25,000 opticians and students, and focus groups with opticians, students, patients and the wider public. The Collaborate team showed a thorough understanding of the brief and provided very helpful advice on how best to achieve our objectives within the available budget. They worked with us very closely to keep the project on track, notwithstanding the very challenging timetable, and produced a well-structured report that set out the findings from the different consultation strands very clearly and enabled us to pinpoint how to amend the standards in response to the feedback received. Collaborate were responsive to our feedback on the report, while being very careful to ensure that the findings were presented objectively. The report provided a robust basis for our Council’s decision to approve the new standards as amended in the light of the consultation. I was hugely impressed by Collaborate’s enthusiasm, attention to detail and commitment to delivering a high-quality end product.”
Alistair Bridge, Director of Strategy at the GOC