Lay Advisory Panel

We want to encourage our members to involve patients in all aspects of their care and the development of eye care services, and the Lay Advisory Panel play a key role in achieving this.

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Panel members provide a vital link to the public and patients, enabling us to understand areas of interest and concern. They provide an alternative viewpoint and question and challenge our established activities.They also provide specialist advice, based on their particular area of expertise.


Emeritus Professor David Caplin
Lay Advisory Panel Member

David is Emeritus Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, where he has spent most of his scientific career. He maintains an international research activity in electronic materials, particularly magnetic and superconducting compounds; in the past, he has had some interests in the optical properties of materials. He has extensive experience of appraisal and review of research programmes, both nationally and internationally, and  has published about 300 research papers. 

Since retiring, David has been a Lay Member of the Bar Standards Board Conduct Committee, and was one of two Lay Vice-Chairs (2006-2008); he is currently the Vice-Chair on two National Patient Safety Agency Research Ethics Committees, and is a Lay Partner with the Health Professions Council.

Andrea Clerk MBA, CIPD
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Andrea has extensive experience in governance and regulation and has worked within the legal and medical professions with responsibilities for professional training, standards, compliance and continuing education.  She is skilled in modernising product ranges and service approaches, notably through an emphasis on blended learning.  Andrea is passionate about giving individuals the right training at all stages of their careers, in order to ensure they have the proper skills and experience to deal confidently and professionally with challenges as they arise.

Tony Cowburn BSc
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Tony is a physics graduate from the University of Southampton and has worked his entire career in scientific research and development (R&D).  He started his career as semiconductor process engineer with Phillips and then became an R&D manager at the IBM UK Development Laboratories, developing magnetic disc drives. He was involved in a management buy out  at IBM and became Technical Director for ADFlex, before completing his career as Technical Director for City Technology (electrochemical & optical gas sensors).

Tony is now semi-retired and works occasionally as a consultant. He has had a deep interest in all eye care matters since experiencing a serious eyesight problem as a teenager.

Katie Engel LLB
Lay Advisory Panel Member

After graduating, Katie worked as a solicitor in private practice and in-house. In 2009 she moved into the regulation of the legal profession, working for the Law Society's Legal Complaints Service and then the Legal Ombudsman. She is currently an adjudicator for an ombudsman scheme and enjoys the variety and challenge that the work brings.

Katie has a keen interest in optometry due to her family's eye conditions and has had several operations relating to her eyelids over a number of years.

Geraint Griffiths BSc Mech Eng, Dip Schoolvision, Dip Sportvision, M.ASvP, MSc Optometry, MCOptom
Council Member - East Midlands

Geraint is managing director of SVUK Ltd and Optical3 Ltd in Leicestershire. He is founder and CEO of the Association of Sport and Schoolvision practitioners (ASvP) which delivers diploma courses in Sportvision and Schoolvision practice, and runs the annual SVUK conference. He is an examiner for the College of Optometrists and represents the College at the British Standards Institute (BSI) as a Sports Vision expert.



Clare Harrington LLB (Hons) LLM
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Clare is a barrister practising principally in the areas of personal injury and employment law. She is a director of 13 King’s Bench Walk Limited and a member of her chambers’ management committee. She is also a practitioner lecturer at The Inns of Court School of Law.

Andrew Kitchen BSc (Hons) ACMA MBA
Co-opted Lay Trustee

Andrew has worked in international banking for more than 15 years and is currently Finance Director of one of the leading Wealth Management firms in the UK. His first degree was in Finance from Loughborough University and he is a qualified UK Chartered Accountant. He also has an MBA from the London Business School. Andrew has a very keen interest in optometry as a result of historic and ongoing eye problems which have brought him into close contact with the profession.

Andrew McGregor BSc MCOptom
Council Member - North East

Andrew graduated from Bradford University in 1990 as a mature student, having spent seven years as an army officer. He has run an independent high street optometric practice with his wife in Ashington, Northumberland since 1991. During this time he has also been employed an optometric adviser for NHS North of Tyne and was appointed to the Professional Executive Committee of NHS North of Tyne as an optometry professional between 2007 and 2011. He is a trained College facilitator.

Andrew has served on the Wansbeck District Council and Ashington Town Councils and is currently the Vice-Chair of the Ashington Town Team.


Pratik Patel
Lay Advisory Panel - Optometrist not on Council

Rekha Randhawa LLB (Hons), MA
Lay Advisory Panel Member

After completing her undergraduate law degree at University College London and a Master’s degree in Medical Ethics and Law at King’s College London, Rekha was Called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 2007.  Following extensive experience working as a legal assistant in healthcare and non-healthcare disciplinary prosecution work, she cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2012.  After qualification, she specialised initially in claimant clinical negligence work, working for major London firms in that field and representing primarily children with cerebral palsy following birth hypoxia. Latterly, she worked as an in-house solicitor at a leading medical defence organisation, defending doctors and dentists from medical/dental negligence claims and disciplinary proceedings.

Mark Redhead MA, MBA, FRSA
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Mark’s career to date has been in health policy, management and sector development. Following a variety of roles in membership organisations and a regulator, Mark currently heads up the strategic planning function at the Royal Free London NHS foundation trust. 

Mark is also chair of a national patient charity, Ehlers-Danlos Support UK, and is keen on working with behaviours - pursuing an interest in coaching, facilitation and group relations. 

As a user of optometry services and a keen supporter of the role colleges play in the development of professions and services, Mark is delighted to join the lay advisory panel.

Amarpal Takk LLB (Hons)
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Amarpal is a graduate from City University London having read Business Law. He started his legal career at a leading international law firm focusing on company and corporate law and then moved to the banking and finance sector. He is currently Head of Legal of Capital Markets for a leading UK bank. 

Dr Magdalena Zarowiecki
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Magdalena is Senior Cancer Analyst at Genomics England, a company set up by the Department of Health & Social Care, with the aim of delivering breakthrough genomic analysis to NHS patients, making UK the first country in the World to integrate genomics into standard-of-care. She has more than 15 years’ experience of working with genomics and stratified medicine projects, looking at a range of different genetic and epigenetic data, she has written statistic analysis and bioinformatic pipelines working at Institute of Cancer Research, Kings College London, Imperial College and Wellcome Sanger Institute. 

She has published high profile research papers, and extensively supported programmes for quality assurance, equality, diversity and career progression.



Professor Edward Mallen BSc PhD MCOptom
President, Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

Ed graduated in optometry from Aston University in 1998, and completed a PhD at the same institution in 2003. He is now Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, and Professor of Physiological Optics at the University of Bradford. He also holds the position of Honorary Professor with the School of Health Professions, Plymouth University, and Visiting Professor at Aston University. Ed was appointed College President in March 2018.

Ed is the Ex Officio of the Education and Standards and Research Committees and the Lay Advisory Panel.