About Us

About Us

Nockolds Solicitors has delivered the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) since April 2014. Having been one of the earliest law firms to obtain the Law Society Lexcel quality standard accreditation over 10 years ago and building on this to obtain Gold Standard Investors in People, consumer care is at the heart of our business. 

Regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, Nockolds Solicitors understands the expectations of consumers and the challenges of the professions delivering a service in a regulated sector. A well-established background in clinical negligence work and mediation enables us to offer this holistic independent service to benefit both consumer and members of the profession.

Nockolds Solicitors is a long established professional legal practice with roots tracing back to 1831. Since that time the firm has continued to grow and adapt with society to become an award-winning and recommended law firm. The firm has expanded as a business according to the wishes of the clients and Nockolds is proud to work locally, nationally and internationally from its base in Bishop’s Stortford and its office in the City of London.

Nockolds operates the OCCS, providing complaint mediation for the optical sector regulated by the General Optical Council. As such, the OCCS deals with consumer disputes arising between optical practices (the trader) and the consumer/patient. These disputes relate to the supply of products/goods and services/clinical care of optometrists and dispensing care of dispensing opticians. 

The OCCS provides a mediation process and the effectiveness of the model is achieved through the capabilities and experience of the team delivering the mediation. The team comprises: those with optometric and dispensing experience who have also operated at a senior level within practice, i.e. regional manager within a corporate provider, Director of Professional Services and also a sole practitioner business leader. They have extensive customer care experience, both in terms of operational experience, but also in dealing in-house with complaints and consumer dissatisfaction. Their expertise is then supported by the ADR and complaint resolution offer of Nockolds Solicitors. The understanding of the overlapping different types of disputes is crucial to ensure the complaint is assessed initially to make sure if falls within the remit of the OCCS.

As the optical products supplied are by their nature bespoke and generally manufactured to order to meet the needs of the consumer, it is important to consider the rights and obligations of consumer legislation and best practice in context. The concerns raised regularly focus on whether the product supplied was fit for purpose and whether reasonable care and skill was exercised during the interaction between the practitioner and the consumer. Consumer complaints must also be considered in light of the Opticians Act. 

We are proud to publish details of our resolutions and outcomes on an annual basis. In 2016-17 the OCCS achieved a resolution rate of 98% of the consumer complaints referred to the OCCS. The resolution managers and clinical advisors in the team deploy a highly experienced level of understanding and expertise. This allows them to explore clear and practical proposals and to respond pro-actively to position statements and summaries during the course of mediation.

Meet the Team »

2016-17 has been an incredibly busy year for the OCCS. As practices become more aware of what we do, and consumers learn more about the service, we have seen an increase of 45% in complaint enquiries. There are over 22 million sight tests and eye examinations each year. The overwhelming majority of these are an efficient and positive experience for the consumer and the practice. The OCCS is here to help when a complaint arises and on the rare occasion, that the consumer’s concerns cannot be resolved. Just over half of the enquiries received concern complaints at an early stage and we encourage the consumer to raise their concerns with the practice. If matters cannot be resolved, we are here and I am incredibly proud of the OCCS team’s commitment and dedication to helping find a resolution for both parties. The 2016-17 OCCS Annual Report is now available and provides more information on the OCCS activity during 2016-17 and what we can learn from these complaints and enquiries going forward.