LOCs fulfil a number of important functions including:
- Informing, advising and negotiating with local NHS England teams and CCGs on matters including delivering GOS, delivering local extended primary care services, and acting on other issues relevant to the local optical community
- Responding to relevant consultations
- Facilitating and encouraging local contractors and performers to formulate collective views
- Disseminating information among local contractors and performers to help them to understand and comply with their duties
- Conveying the views of local contractors and performers to the national representative bodies
- Contributing to the development of national policies
- Liaising with other LOCs and LOCSU to support the LOC in developing and achieving their objectives
- Obtaining support, advice and training services from LOCSU and/or the national representative bodies
The committee must have a minimum of six elected members and should be made up of equal numbers of local contractors and performers. Up to three members may be co-opted to achieve the exact balance between local contractors and performers. LOCSU recommends that at least one local dispensing optician who is not a contractor is properly included in their membership.
LOC Officers such as Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are elected through the committee. Observers such as optometric advisors should be invited and encouraged to attend LOC meetings, if only for part of the agenda.
Chair – the chair/vice chair has a strategic role to play in representing the vision and purpose of the LOC. The chair/vice chair ensures that the LOC functions properly, that there is full participation at meetings, all relevant matters are discussed and that effective decisions are made and carried out.
Secretary – the role of the secretary is to support the chair in ensuring the smooth functioning of the LOC. In LOCs without staff, the secretary may take a greater role in the day-to-day administration of the organisation.
Treasurer – the overall role of a treasurer is to maintain an overview of the LOC’s financial affairs, ensuring its viability and ensuring that proper financial records and procedures are maintained. The treasurer must be aware of his/her fiduciary duties to the committee.
A Guidance document for Treasurers is available here
Business Manager/Administrator – the business manager/administrator is expected to provide support to the LOC committee members in their various roles and to develop an understanding of the committee’s functions.
Job role descriptions are available from LOCSU on request.
LOC expenses should be met by means of a statutory levy on the GOS sight test fees payable to local contractors. The committee’s proposed expenses should be incorporated in the annual budget or business plan, which needs to be agreed at the AGM. The LOC should notify their local NHS England team of any budget and levy changes.
Declarations of Interest
As part of the LOC’s activities as the body representing local contractors and performers providing general ophthalmic services in the LOC’s area, it is essential that committee members of the LOC state any interest or position that they and/or a family member hold in any other organisation participating in NHS commissioning processes in the field of eye health care, or other specialisms in the health and social care sector.
Responsibilities and Support
LOCs should meet regularly, including an annual AGM. As the recognised local representative body, LOCs and their committee members carry certain responsibilities, requiring specific skills which LOCSU can help you develop – contact your Optical Lead for support.
Our Optical Leads can assist with activities such as liaising and negotiating with NHS CCGs about the commissioning of new services, as well as LOC development such as succession planning. LOCSU provides a range of training opportunities such as our Facilitated LOC Induction course and Leadership Skills course, as well as specific training for LOC Treasurers.
As part of service development work LOCs often oversee a survey of the local workforce and the equipment that is available in practices. LOCSU has developed a template and guidance for LOCs to use which can be downloaded here.