Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twelfth Report


Memorandum by the Privy Council Office


  The Joint Committee has asked for a Memorandum on the reasons for an increase of approximately 40% in a year in the registration and enrolment fees listed in rule 2 of the Schedule.

  The General Optical Council has a duty to protect the public by undertaking its statutory responsibilities for the disciplinary process and also, in appropriate cases, to enforce the provisions of the Opticians Act 1989 by prosecuting offences against that Act. There has been a considerable increase in the work of the Investigating and Disciplinary Committees of the Council in dealing with the allegations of malpractice and misconduct. In addition, legal costs have significantly exceeded the Council budget provision in the year ending 31/3/98. The deficit therefore has to be made good, a reserve fund built up to finance major cases in the future, and the disciplinary hearings and prosecutions for the current year paid for. The costs of the successful prosecution of an offence under s.27 of the Act in May 1998 relating to the supply for contact lenses by mail order is a significant contributory factor. The cost of such actions and of the disciplinary process is met solely from the fees paid by registrants.

  It is hoped that the Joint Committee will find these reasons satisfactory.

1 March 1999

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