Updating gender on register

Closes 20 Mar 2023

Opened 12 Dec 2022


We are committed to supporting registrants who wish to update their gender on our register and ensuring compliance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and the Equality Act 2010. We have drafted a policy setting out the process for applying to the GOC to update the registered gender. We will agree such applications unless there is a public protection reason for not doing so.

As part of our statutory duty to maintain and publish a register of all those who are fit to practise, we publish certain information about our registrants, which currently includes their gender.

We recognise that this is a sensitive area for some registrants. This policy and process document seeks to make our process for updating gender clear and easy to apply. It also ensures confidentiality under section 22 of the GRA and complies with our information governance framework.

As a statutory regulator subject to the public sector equality duty, we are committed to upholding the Equality Act 2010 including the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment. This document aligns with our commitment to promoting equality, valuing diversity and being inclusive.

The relevant statutory provisions are section 11(2) of the Opticians Act 1989 and rule 21 of the Registration Rules 2005. These do not include a specific requirement to publish a registrant's sex or gender.

The draft policy, together with a draft impact assessment, is available on our consultation hub in the ‘related’ section at the end of the page.

When the consultation has closed we will analyse the consultation responses in line with our Policy on approach to consultation. The final decision on implementing the policy will be made by our Council.

Why your views matter

Our draft policy affects all of our registrants as we will be seeking to ensure fairness to our registrants and applicants who wish to update their gender on our register. We are interested in registrants’ and other stakeholders’ views on this policy and the safeguards that we will apply before we implement these.

Please refer to our privacy statement for more information about privacy, right to erasure and our role as a data controller: https://consultation.optical.org/privacy_policy/

Give us your views