Wednesday 12 December 2012

General Optical Council agrees to review corporate registration

Satirical newspaper Private Eye has accused Specsavers of using 'unregistered opticians' to test eyes and prescribe glasses.

The accusation was made in the November 16-29 edition of the paper and claimed that over 500 of the multiple's practices were not registered with the General Optical Council.

The article, the second that has attacked Specsavers' corporate registration status (News 28.09.12) also claimed the multiple had run rings around 'useless watchdogs' who had failed to address its regulatory failings.

Reacting to the new allegations, a spokesperson for the multiple said: 'All individual Specsavers' opticians are registered with the GOC and customers can rest assured that their eyes are tested and their glasses prescribed by fully qualified and registered practitioners. Specsavers is the largest employer of registered optometrists and dispensing opticians (around 3,500) in the UK.'

The GOC responded to the story by revealing that it would be conducting an internal review of corporate body registration in March, having already raised the issue with the Law Commission previously.
In its response to the Law Commission, the GOC said its current business regulation framework had limitations which meant significant parts of the business sector were not subject to regulation and described its framework as 'light touch' when compared to other regulators.
It added that it was aware that the current system could also create confusion for business owners, individual registrants and the public.

The GOC's internal review will be formed of independent research, due to take place in January, as well as its own legal advice. The results will be passed on to the Law Commission for consideration.
It has asked registrants from a variety of practice settings and sizes to participate in the research. Travel expenses and a small fee to compensate for time out of practice will be paid.
Those wishing to take part can contact acting communications manager Simon Grier on 0207 307 3478.

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