Letter: Engaging matters
Author: Nicola Ebdon, Head of governance, General Optical Council
I write in response to your coverage of our recent Equality, Diversity and Inclusion report.
The report has generated a lot of important information which will help us better understand the professions we regulate and any possible inequalities. The finding that men and BME registrants are more likely to be subject to a fitness to practise (FTP) complaint has generated particular interest and it is important that we work to better understand the reasons behind this and how we should respond.
Our monitoring also allows us to ensure fairness in other areas of our work, such as Council appointments, and education.
To ensure that our data is as accurate as possible, I strongly encourage all registrants to provide this data as part of their renewal. In his letter (March 1) Mr Gill is correct that it is not compulsory and we have amended some of our communications to make this clearer. However, doing this at renewal time is the most efficient point at which to collect the data, making it easier for registrants.
We can assure all registrants that the information is confidential and we hold it securely in line with data protection and other relevant legislation. We anonymise any data so you cannot be identified and it is only viewed by staff analysing the data, not by staff who make decisions about registration, CET or FTP.
About 70 percent of registrants provided this information last year; this is a good response rate but if this figure was even higher then we could have more confidence about the make-up of the professions.