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Optical consumer complaints contract goes to OCCS

23 Nov 2007

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today awarded the contract for a consumer complaints mediation service to the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS).

The complaints service is designed to help patients and customers resolve disputes fairly and quickly without resorting to formal litigation, and plays an important role in supporting the GOC’s mission to promote good eye care and protect the public.

A recommendation to re-appoint OCCS, who are the current service providers, was approved at the November meeting of Council. The three-year contract means OCCS will provide an impartial mediation service for consumers who are unhappy with the service they receive from their optician’s practice. Common issues include dissatisfaction with the spectacles dispensed, refund requests and customer service complaints. The service operates independently of the GOC.

GOC Registrar, Peter Coe commented: “We were impressed with the tender proposal, and the experience offered by OCCS. It is important for the public to have a ‘next port of call’ if they cannot resolve a consumer complaint themselves. We are confident OCCS can provide this valuable support.”

In September 2007, interested parties were invited to submit a tender for the contract, which runs until March 2011. The present contract with OCCS expires in March 2008.

The original tender process was postponed in November last year. Council delayed the award of a new contract pending a Department of Health consultation on the introduction of a single complaints process across health and social care. Council are now confident that the findings will not affect the existing consumer complaints service.

Members of the public who would like help in resolving an optical consumer issue can find out more at: www.opticalcomplaints.co.uk. Or contact the OCCS directly on: 020 7407 3990.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Clare Millington
Communications Officer
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: cmillington@optical.org

About the General Optical Council:
The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 22,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

NOTES
1. An invitation to tender was advertised in Health Service Journal, and posted on the MyTenders section of the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) website. Notification of the tender was also sent to approximately 15 other organisations who had expressed an interest in the tender when it was first published (and subsequently withdrawn) in 2006.

2. The selection panel was chaired by the GOC Registrar and included the Honorary Treasurer, the Chairman of the Investigation Committee and an independent scrutineer.

3. Full OCCS postal address: Optical Consumer Complaints Service, PO Box 4685, London SE1 6ZB.


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