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Nockolds Solicitors to run consumer complaints service

12 Feb 2014

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The GOC has appointed Nockolds Solicitors to run its independent mediation service for optical consumers from 1 April 2014. Nockolds were the successful candidate in an open tender process launched last year.

The mediation service for optical consumers does not have formal powers but acts as a mediator in disputes between consumers and practitioners. For example, the service may help consumers resolve customer service issues such as obtaining refunds for faulty glasses. The service can also advise registrants who receive consumer complaints.

Complaints that call a registrant’s fitness to practise into question will continue to be dealt with by the GOC.

Nockolds Solicitors are a regulated firm of solicitors with substantial mediation and complaints-handling experience. They also specialise in clinical negligence cases and will be able to draw on a panel of experts in optometry and optics in seeking to resolve consumer complaints.

Gareth Hadley, GOC Chair, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Nockolds to run our independent mediation service and we look forward to working with them.

“We were particularly impressed by Nockolds’ commitment to excellent customer service and to gathering high quality information about complaints that will help us better understand the public’s experience of the optical professions.

“They demonstrated a clear vision for delivering a professional and independent service that will help consumers and registrants to reach amicable resolutions to customer service disputes.

“We would like to thank Richard Wilshin and his team at the OCCS for their hard work and dedication to the interests of optical consumers over many years. We would also like to thank the professional bodies – AOP, FODO, ABDO and the College of Optometrists – that established the OCCS and continued to support it after responsibility for funding and overseeing the service passed to the GOC.”

The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) will continue to provide a mediation service for the GOC until 31 March.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Simon Grier
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478
e: sgrier@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, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 26,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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