LOCSU and Optometry Wales focus on opportunities for the optical sector in England and Wales

21 September 2012

The Local Optical Committee Central Support Unit (LOCSU) and Optometry Wales (OW) have been working together to review their support arrangements for Local and Regional Optical Committees (LOCs/ROCs) following the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 reforms in England. The review has shown that demand for support from LOCs in England and ROCs in Wales is becoming increasingly divergent because of the now very different NHS structures and commissioning arrangements in the two countries.

When LOCSU was founded in 2007 it was a natural step for the three ROCs in Wales to join the new organisation together with the (then) eighty two LOCs in England.

As the separate needs of the professions in Wales increased, the next stage of development was to establish a presence in Wales with an office and part-time Chief Operating Officer for OW. The infrastructure in Wales was funded by LOCSU out of the levy contributions they received from the ROCs.

LOCSU and OW have now moved on to the third stage with all support required by the three ROCs in Wales provided in house by OW with effect from September 1st 2012, with LOCSU focusing its support on LOCs in England.

The two organisations will continue to work closely together and take advantage of learnings from both countries.  As well as day-to-day contact, the Chairs of LOCSU and OW will attend the other organisation’s Board meetings as observers.

 Alan Tinger, Chairman of LOCSU, welcomed this latest stage of development:
“Both LOCSU and OW have developed considerably since the initial agreement in 2007 that LOCSU would provide support for the three ROCs in Wales as well as for LOCs in England. Over time, the approach required to deal with the never ending burden of regulation whilst focusing on the new opportunities to take the professions forward, has become very different in both countries.

“The pace of change in the NHS in England means that LOCSU’s specialist commissioning advice and expertise is increasingly sought and it is important for LOCSU to target its resources at the opportunities arising from this new commissioning landscape.  Likewise in Wales, a similarly dedicated resource is needed to focus exclusively on the needs of the professions in Wales but within the overall partnership framework now in place. In both countries these developments will benefit both practitioners and patients.”

Mike George, Chairman of Optometry Wales, added:
“OW and the three ROCs are very grateful to LOCSU for the support provided over the past five years. Our ever-increasing work and direct contact with Welsh Government now means that OW needs to go a step further with a full-time dedicated resource, and I and colleagues are very pleased that Sali Davis has agreed to become full time Chief Operating Officer for OW, and to build on the significant achievements to date.” 

Notes to editors

  1. The Chief Operating Officer role for Optometry Wales became full time from September 1st 2012 employed directly by Optometry Wales. (Previously this role was part-time in conjunction with the balance of a part-time role in LOCSU and was employed by LOCSU.)
  2. Statutory levy contributions from ROCs in Wales are payable direct to Optometry Wales rather than to LOCSU from September 1st 2012.
  3. All support required by ROCs in Wales is provided by Optometry Wales in-house from September 1st 2012.
  4. Responsibility for funding the running costs of the Optometry Wales office and other associated costs transferred from LOCSU to Optometry Wales from September 1st 2012.
  5. The changes are cost neutral to both Organisations.
  6. All three Regional Optical Committees are members of Optometry Wales
  7. Eighty of the current LOCs in England are members of LOCSU (discussions are taking place with the one non-member about joining LOCSU.)


Media enquiries
Jenny Manchester, Communications Manager at LOCSU at jennymanchester@locsu.co.uk or call 07703 677697


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