CPD (CET) review proposals

Closes 20 Aug 2020

Opened 28 May 2020


This consultation seeks stakeholder views on our proposals to introduce changes to our Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme to make it more flexible and less prescriptive, allowing registrants greater freedom to undertake learning and development which is relevant to their own personal scope of practice.

These proposals are based on feedback from our 2018 public consultation: Fit for the Future: A lifelong learning review, and further engagement with stakeholder organisations to develop our thinking. We are going to be seeking legislative change in order to be able to implement some elements of our proposals, in particular the proposal to enhance reflective practice for our registrants.

For more information about how the current scheme works, please visit our website.

Why We Are Consulting

We know that some stakeholders will be wondering why we are consulting on such an important issue for the optical sector at a time of unprecedented change to the way we live our lives. Since the current CET scheme was introduced in 2013 the optical sector has changed quite a lot, and the work optometrists and dispensing opticians carry out has expanded and diversified. Devolution of healthcare policy in the UK means that we have already seen a difference in the way optical services are being commissioned and delivered in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and it is likely that these trends will continue in future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of having a highly skilled and flexible workforce, which is able to work effectively as part of multi-disciplinary teams across the healthcare sector.

In light of all these changes, we must ensure that our scheme is agile and able to support an optical workforce likely to see many changes in the coming years. We need to ensure that the scheme more effectively supports registrants to develop and diversify their skills throughout their professional career. We have already indicated that our timeframe for change will be at the start of the new cycle in January 2022. We need to consult now to allow us to finalise our plans and give stakeholders enough time to prepare for change.

Our initial consultation in 2018 and our engagement since then indicate a strong appetite to evolve our scheme in the following ways:

  • Replace the competencies which currently underpin the scheme, as these are seen as overly prescriptive (and within the next cycle likely to be replaced by the new Education Strategic Review (ESR) requirements, ‘Outcomes for Registration’)
  • Allow registrants more control over their learning and development and the ability to tailor it to their own personal scope of practice
  • Enhance requirements for registrants to reflect on their practice
  • Change the name of the scheme from CET to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). In line with this, from here on in this consultation, we will refer to any future scheme and activities within it as ‘CPD’, and the current CET arrangements as ‘the current scheme’
  • Introduce a new proportionate system of CPD approvals

We would like to hear your views on the proposals in the consultation to help us develop and finalise our policy changes - the consultation is divided into five main parts:

  • Section 1: Change of name
  • Section 2: Freeing up the scheme
  • Section 3: CPD categories
  • Section 4: Non-approved CPD
  • Section 5: Reflection
  • Section 6: CPD approvals

We encourage you to respond to all the questions, but you are free to respond to as many or as few as you choose.

Consultation data will be securely shared with our research partner for this work, Enventure Research, for independent analysis and reporting. 

Privacy Statement

The information you provide to us, the GOC (as data controller), will be processed and used in line with our statutory purpose under the Opticians Act as a public task in order to set standards for optical education and training, performance and conduct. For more information regarding how we  process your data please see the full privacy statement on our website.

Right to Erasure

Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulations provides data with the right to erasure; this is known as the right to be forgotten. Right to erasure requests should be sent to the Data Protection Officer (FOI@optical.org) and will be responded to within one calendar month of receipt.

Data Controller

We are registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office, registration number Z5718812. We are committed to maintaining robust information governance policies and processes to ensure compliance with relevant legislation. Any information you supply will be stored and processed by us or on our behalf, by approved and verified third parties, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018.

Give Us Your Views