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General Optical Council to procure legal support for fitness to practice cases

The General Optical Council (GOC) is to procure legal support for its fitness to practice directorate for a two-year period from this May.

The requirements of the service are:

  1. Conduct of investigative work on the GOC’s behalf in relation to fitness to practise allegations;
  2. Preparation for, and presentation of, the GOC’s case at substantive Fitness to Practise Committee hearings;
  3. Occasional preparation for, and presentation of the GOC’s case at non-substantive hearings (interim order applications/reviews/extensions, substantive order reviews) and Registration Appeal Committee hearings;
  4. Provision of advice relating to the conduct of individual investigations into the fitness to practise of GOC registrants and also relating to interpretation of GOC legislation/Rules;
  5. Provision of training to Council members, Committee members, Case Examiners and staff.

The GOC said that it was forecast that this year (2018-19) it would open approximately 300 fitness to practice investigations. Approximately 25% of investigation cases are referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee each year.

“We expect to instruct approximately half of these referred cases out to the appointed providers, either for advocacy only, or for investigation and advocacy (for the sake of clarity, we expect to manage the other half in-house),” it said.

“We also expect to instruct appointed providers to undertake initial-stages investigations in a (total) maximum of 10-20 cases per annum.”

The GOC said it was looking to appoint a minimum of two service providers.

The contract is expected to start on 1 May 2019 and run until 31 March 2021. The GOC has retained the option to extend for 12 months.

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