In focus: GOC’s business standards and first equality report

The 230th meeting of the GOC saw new standards released for optical businesses but also shed light on equality, diversity and inclusion in the industry, with some troubling results presented. Sean Rai-Roche reports

Last year was the first time the GOC had collected full monitoring data for registrants; previous years had only measured age and gender. The new data, presented to council at its quarterly meeting in central London, threw up some difficult issues that both the GOC and profession must work together to address.

In its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Report for 2017/18, the GOC found that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) registrants were ‘more likely to have a Fitness to Practise (FTP) allegation made against them and are more likely to be referred for a FTP hearing’. Furthermore, a ‘disproportionate number of BME optometrist registrants (predominately Indian and Pakistani British) are subject to FTP investigation’, compared to the GOC’s registrant profile. Linked to this, ‘a disproportionate number of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh registrants are subject to FTP complaints,’ said the report by Nicola Ebdon, head of governance at the GOC.

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