Privacy and cookies

Privacy

We are a statutory regulator, and our role is to protect the public through conducting our four statutory functions.

Our primary personal data processing purpose is in the exercise of official authority or as part of our public task.

We also use personal data to:
• comply with legal obligations, for example we share some personal data with tax authorities;
• fulfil our contractual obligations, for example we use personal data to pay our employees;
• communicate with people who have asked us to provide them with information about regulation and our regulatory activities.

How we use your personal data

How we use your data will depend on your relationship with us. We collect your personal data if you register with us as an optometrist or dispensing optician , business or a student, request to join one of our mailing lists, take part in a consultation, apply to work with us, provide CET courses, raise concerns regarding our services, raise concerns regarding a registrant’s fitness to practise or legal practice, make a freedom of information or subject access requests, or contact us via social media, telephone, post or via email.

When you contact us, we will use the information provided, and may seek further information, to process and respond to your complaint or request including obtaining further information to allow us to do so; maintaining contact with you to manage our relationship, compiling statistics, and you may receive email communication inviting you to complete a customer satisfaction survey. We will use that information to quality assure and audit our processes to ensure we are meeting our statutory obligations and within the legitimate interests of improving our service.

GOC mailing lists

Our website gives users the opportunity to subscribe to a variety of mailing lists. Users are able to subscribe to receive GOC newsletters or alerts about topics such as hearings, consultations or events. We will process subscriber information gathered from either our website or from GOC events, specifically email addresses, for the sole purpose of sending these newsletters and alerts. Users are able to unsubscribe by emailing communications@optical.org. We will never provide your personal data to third parties for their marketing purposes. We will never provide your personal data to third parties for their marketing purposes.

Consultations

We may use our website to carry out consultation exercises or electronic surveys. If you send comments to us via our website we will collect your comments and contact details for the purposes of the consultation/survey concerned.

Third Party Service Providers

We have contracts with other organisations (or third parties) to carry out certain activities or services on our behalf, including but not limited to legal support, translation, research and monitoring, print house, transcribing and bulk mail delivery.

Before we share your personal data with them we will ensure that:

they are only provided with the information they need to carry out the service,
they agree not to use the information received from us for any other purpose than those specified by us; and
they have the proper systems in place to protect personal data.
Information regarding successful and unsuccessful tenders will be held in line with our retention schedule.

Cookie Notice

This Website uses cookies. This Cookie Notice sets out information about cookies and how to control them.  By using the Website, you accept the use of cookies in accordance with this Cookie Notice.  In particular, you accept the use of Analytics Cookies for the purposes described below. For further information on cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set on your device and how to manage and delete them, visit http://www.allaboutcookies.org.

What are cookies?

A ‘cookie’ is a piece of information, like a tag, which some websites create against your computer. The ‘cookies’ we use log your progress through the site and record how you accessed the site. They do not collect information that identifies you.

This use of cookies is important for us to understand how users use our Website. It enables us to track its usability, how easily visitors can find the information they need and the hardware and software they use when accessing the site. This is particularly important in fulfilling our responsibilities under our Equality and Diversity Scheme.

What cookies do we use on the Website?

The Website uses the following cookies:

NamePurposeExpiryContent
CFIDTo provide transaction support across multiple page requests commonly called a sessionPersistent (Until user deletes it)A randomly generated number
CFTOKENTo provide transaction support across multiple page requests commonly called a sessionPersistent (Until user deletes it)A randomly generated alphanumeric piece of text.
SessionnameTo know which error message to display (if a member has been logged out of a session or has not logged in) – applies only to MyGOC areaSession cookieUsername value
PCMS_VIEWTREEPROPERTIESSet by the Preside CMS to improve the user experience.  Not applicable to front-end user, only to GOC staff and web hosts when updating the Website.PersistentA number
cookies_agreeWhen a user closes the banner it installs a cookie so that the banner will not show againPersistent (date of 2040 added in)True value

The cookies CFID and CFTOKEN are used:

Within the MyGOC section:

1) To facilitate registrant log in
2) To facilitate page redirect after registrant log-in
3) To store registrant details after registrant log-in
4) To store registrant activity log on registrant restricted area
5) To store online payment details
These cookies are strictly necessary for the use of the MyGOC section.

Within the main Website:

6) To store search results in several search templates
7) To store form token for form validation

For Website administrators only

8) To store preside edit mode details

Cookies set by third party websites

The cookies in the table below are set by the Google Analytics tool. They allow us to accurately estimate the number of visitors to the Website, volumes of usage and ensure that the Website is available. They help us to understand how visitors use the Website and which content is popular and unpopular. They also help us to fulfil our obligations under the Equality Act and our Equality and Diversity Scheme, and to appropriately tailor the design, content and structure of the Website to our audience.

Information collected by the Google Analytics cookies will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States of America in accordance with its privacy practices. To see an overview of privacy at Google and how this applies to Google Analytics, visit http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/analytics/privacyoverview.html. You may opt out of tracking by Google Analytics by visiting https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=en-GB

Our Website uses the following Google Analytics Cookies:

NamePurposeExpiryContent
_utmaTo accurately estimate the number of visitors to the Website and volumes of usage, to ensure that the Website is available, to understand how visitors use the Website and which content is popular and unpopular and to appropriately tailor the design, content and structure of the Website to our audience.2 years from when setA randomly generated number (Non personal data)
_utmbAs above.30 minutes from when setA randomly generated number (Non personal data)
_utmcAs above.When you close your browserA random generated number (Non personal data)
_utmzAs above.6 months from when setA randomly generated number and information on how the site was reached (e.g. direct or via a link, organic search or paid search)

How to control and delete cookies through the browser

If you do not want cookies to be created on your computer, the four major browsers which the Website supports give you the option to disable or delete them. We do not recommend using other browsers, as the Website has not been tested with them and may not work as intended. You can disable or delete cookies in your browser by following instructions at the following links:

Microsoft Internet Explorer – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/products/ie-8/privacy-statement
Mozilla Firefox – http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/Enabling%20and%20disabling%20cookies
Google Chrome – http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=95647
Apple Safari – https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/safari/sfri11471/mac

Please note that MyGOC will be unavailable if you choose to disable cookies.  Please also note that disabling a cookie or category of cookie does not delete the cookie from your browser, you will need to do this yourself from within your browser.

Cookies that have been set in the past

If you have disabled one or more Analytics Cookies, we may still use information collected from cookies prior to your disabled preference being set, however, we will stop using the disabled cookie to collect any further information.