Helping the General Optical Council understand the potential impact of proposed changes to the education and training requirements for optical professionals

Consultation responses achieved

Focus groups with optometrists, dispensing opticians and patients

In depth qualitative interviews with stakeholders


To be registered as an optometrist or a dispensing optician with the General Optical Council (GOC) and practise in the UK, optometrist and dispensing optician students must complete GOC approved qualifications. To ensure that the current requirements for approved qualifications do not cause increased risk by becoming out of date, and to ensure the qualifications the GOC approves in the future respond to the way the optical sector is changing, the GOC planned to replace current Quality Assurance Handbooks and associated policies with three new documents.

To understand the potential impacts of these proposed changes on all stakeholder groups, the GOC conducted a public consultation entitled ‘Education and training requirements for GOC approved qualifications’. Enventure Research was commissioned to support in the delivery of this consultation, completing independent analysis of the results and feedback.


Enventure Research used both qualitative and quantitative methods to support the consultation. A consultation questionnaire was designed by the GOC, supported by Enventure Research, to ask questions relating to the new proposed documents and the impact they would have. It was designed to allow completion by a range of audiences, including both individual and organisational responses. The online survey was managed and promoted by the GOC and hosted online via its Citizen Space platform. The consultation ran for 12 weeks and during this time, 187 responses were received.

To supplement the quantitative online consultation survey, a programme of qualitative consultation activity was conducted. This included a series of 11 online focus groups and a few in-depth interviews with GOC registrants, 30 in depth interviews with external stakeholders (professional/representative/membership bodies, patient/public groups and organisations, large employers, training and education providers, and government/ commissioner representatives), and two online focus groups with patients.


Enventure Research collated and analysed all of the consultation feedback. A comprehensive report was provided to the GOC which presented the consultation findings. The findings helped the GOC to understand the potential impact of the proposed changes and informed decision making to ensure the qualifications it approves in the future respond to the way the optical sector is changing and are fit for purpose.

“Stakeholder feedback via consultations of this nature is vital for regulators to understand the potential impact that proposed changes to education and training might have on the professions they regulate, and ultimately the impact they might have on patients and the public.”
Andrew Cameron

Associate Research Director, Enventure Research