9. Action we can take and potential outcomes

9.1 We endeavour to act quickly on receipt of any disclosures and to begin the initial assessment within two to three working days of receipt.

9.2 Once we have made an initial assessment we may:

9.2.1 make recommendations for actions to be taken by the employer or educational body5;
9.2.2 open an investigation (by the appropriate team);
9.2.3 identify learning points for one or more organisations and/or individuals;
9.2.4 refer the matter to an organisation with the appropriate responsibilities; or
9.2.5 take no further action.

9.3 For more information about the specific GOC investigations processes, please refer to our website or contact us to further discuss.

9.4 Outcomes of an investigation depend on the type of investigation and can include:

9.4.1 warning;
9.4.2 removal from the register (‘erasure’);
9.4.3 suspension of the registrant;
9.4.4 conditional registration;
9.4.5 financial penalty;
9.4.6 removal of accreditation; or
9.4.6 no further action.

9.5 We cannot:

9.5.1 arrange refunds or compensation;
9.5.2 provide legal advice;
9.5.3 provide a detailed explanation of what happened during a visit to an optical practice;
9.5.4 make a GOC registrant apologise to the person making the complaint;
9.5.5 order a GOC registrant to permit a patient to gain access to their optical records; nor
9.5.6 take action in response to false or misleading advertising.

9.6 We are committed to resolving all cases disclosed to us in the shortest time possible. Dependent on the nature of the concern, the timeline for closing the case may differ from case to case.

5Prescribed persons can look into a disclosure and recommend how an employer or educational body could rectify the problems it finds, either in relation to their whistleblowing policies and procedures or in relation to the issues which form substance of the whistleblowing reports.