General Optical Council - Case Management Meetings

Closed 25 Oct 2019

Opened 7 Oct 2019

Feedback Updated 3 Feb 2020

We Asked

We asked stakeholders to provide feedback on a case management process, being introduced to facilitate the effective running of GOC hearings.  The process is designed to encourage both parties to prepare their cases efficiently, to co-operate with each other in order to keep delays to a minimum, and to and make the best use of hearing time.

You Said

The general feedback was that the case management process was a positive proposal to assist with the timely management of cases.  There were some elements that could be tweaked in order to achieve the best outcomes and take into account the practicalities of case preparation and presentation in relation to both parties.

The general feedback suggested:

  • The process should commence at an earlier stage, to ensure both parties are equally being held to account.
  • A review of the timing of the first call should be undertaken as meaningful discussions are unlikely to occur two months after GOC disclosure in the majority of cases.
  • Additional support and guidance should be provided to unrepresented registrants.
  • Clarify why costs have been referred to in the plan.

We Did

We reviewed the feedback from the plan and associated documents, and decided whether to accept, reject or incorporate the feedback in an adapted form.

The following amendments have been agreed:

  • We propose to launch the case management meeting process as a pilot in February 2020.  This will enable us to seek and review feedback from all parties at six, nine and twelve month intervals before implementing a finalised policy in February 2021.
  • We have commenced the process, at the point of referral by case examiners, taking into consideration the GOC’s own disclosure obligations.  This will ensure both parties are now equally being held to account.
  • We have reviewed the timing of the first call.  This call will now take place at three months from the date of disclosure by the GOC to the Registrant, when it is hoped parties will still be able to hold some meaningful discussions.
  • We have reviewed the guidance and support that will be provided to unrepresented registrants throughout this process, offering additional telephone conferences and guidance information, to assist understanding of the processes.
  • We hope it is now clearer that costs have been included in the plan as a reminder that under Rule 52 and 53 both parties have the option to  apply to the FTPC  for a costs order.  

We continue to invite you to relay your thoughts and experiences with the case management process throughout the pilot as we continue to develop the plan.

Overview

This consultation seeks stakeholder views about introducing an pre hearing case management process.

The case management process is intended to ensure cases are hearing ready, to reduce delays and make the best use of hearing time.

The case management procedure is primarily intended to:

  • Facilitate the effective running of GOC hearings
  • Encourage both parties to prepare their cases and cooperate with each other in order to keep delays to a minimum
  • Minimise the stress on the Registrant/witnesses at a hearing by setting up an effective channel of communication during the prehearing period and seeking agreement about a number of key issues.

The process is designed to minimise delays that can arise during the pre-hearing preparation period, which have led to hearing dates being vacated, and at the hearing stage, where valuable time is often spent dealing with preliminary matters which can ordinarily be resolved before the hearing.

The procedure will normally focus on up to two discussions between parties.  In most cases, these will take place over the telephone. 

The first telephone conference will be held 2 months from the date of disclosure to the Registrant.

A second telephone conference will take place 4-6 weeks prior to the start date of the hearing.

Why We Are Consulting

We would like to hear your views on the proposal to help us develop and finalise the case management meeting plan.

We encourage you to provide as much information as possible.

What Happens Next

The consultation will remain open for three weeks – closing on Friday 25 October 2019.  We will use the information and feedback that we gather from this consultation to further develop our plan for the case management process.

We will publish a report to summarise the findings of this consultation and explain how we have used the feedback.  We reserve the right not to publish responses which contravene our Acceptable Behaviour Policy.

If you have any queries about the consultation, then please contact Vineeta Desai – vdesai@optical.org