8. How we will consider concerns raised with us

8.1 All concerns that are raised with us are taken seriously. Any information received by us will be treated sensitively and we will investigate the matters raised in a responsible manner, following the investigation process contained in annex 4.

8.2 We are not required to investigate every disclosure made to us. For each concern raised with us (including FTP concerns), we will make an initial assessment and decide whether:

8.2.1 the concern is within the scope of our regulatory duties;
8.2.2 the concern relates to an individual or business registrant of the GOC;
8.2.3 investigating would make the most effective use of the resources at our disposal in safeguarding the public interest; and/or
8.2.4 we are the right organisation to investigate the concern or another organisation is best placed to deal with the concern.

8.3 If the concern is within the scope of our regulatory duties and relates to an individual or business registrant, the concern will be assessed as to whether it amounts to a FTP allegation. If so, the investigation will be conducted in accordance with our FTP Rules.

8.4 If the concern is within the scope of our regulatory duties, but does not relate to an individual or business registrant or does not amount to an FTP allegation against an individual or business registrant, we will consider whether to investigate the concern in accordance with our illegal practice prosecution protocol, by our Education department, or refer the concern to another agency such as: trading standards, the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS), Citizens Advice and/or the Police.

8.5 If the concern falls outside of our remit, we will always endeavour to refer the concern to the appropriate organisation(s) who may be able to assist, or provide the person raising the concern with their details.

8.6 If there is not enough information for us to initiate an investigation, we may make follow-up calls with the person raising the concern to seek further clarity in the assessment of a concern.

8.7 We recognise the importance of providing regular feedback to the person raising the concern, and will allocate a single point of contact within our investigation teams for each disclosure. This means there is always an avenue to discuss new or ongoing concerns.