July 2nd 2024

Trends and Insights from the Latest OCCS Annual Report

The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) Annual Report for 2023-24 highlights several significant trends that provide valuable insights into the state of the optical sector and consumer experiences over the past year. Here are the key trends surfaced by the report:

Increase in Complaints and Their Nature

One notable trend is the increase in the total number of complaints received by the OCCS. The total complaints rose from 1,628 in 2022-23 to 1,756 in 2023-24. This rise indicates a growing awareness and willingness among consumers to seek resolution for their grievances through the OCCS.

The nature of these complaints has also been detailed extensively. The most common issues pertained to “Goods & Service,” making up 40% of all complaints. This category includes problems such as errors with prescriptions, issues with dispensing, and concerns related to eye examinations and surgeries. Customer care issues were the second most prevalent, accounting for 30% of the complaints, reflecting ongoing concerns about the service quality and interactions with optical professionals.

Outcomes of Complaints

The report outlines various outcomes for the closed complaints, shedding light on the effectiveness of the mediation process. The most frequent outcome was “Phase A – Supporting Local Resolution,” which accounted for 58% of the cases. This approach emphasises resolving complaints locally, at the practice level, before escalating them further. This high percentage indicates a proactive approach by the OCCS in encouraging practices to handle complaints effectively at the initial stage.

Demographics and Accessibility

The report includes extensive demographic data, which reveals trends in who is using the OCCS services. The age group most represented among complainants was those aged 55-64, making up 28% of the total, followed closely by those aged 65 or over at 29%. Gender distribution was fairly balanced with a slight female majority (60%), and the majority of users did not report a disability (76%).

Consumer Feedback

Consumer feedback on the OCCS services provides positive insights. Satisfaction with the process and outcome averaged around 7.6 out of 10, and an impressive 87% of users would recommend the OCCS to others. These metrics suggest that while there is always room for improvement, the OCCS is generally perceived as fair, helpful, and efficient by its users.

Future Objectives

Looking ahead, the OCCS has outlined several objectives aimed at further enhancing its services and impact. Key goals include improving accessibility for vulnerable service users, continuing to support the Fitness to Practise (FtP) team to handle cases efficiently, and engaging proactively with the General Optical Council’s (GOC) new strategic plan. These objectives underscore the OCCS’s commitment to continuous improvement and adapting to the evolving needs of consumers and professionals in the optical sector.


The OCCS Annual Report for 2023-24 presents a comprehensive overview of the trends in consumer complaints and the effectiveness of the service in addressing these issues. The increase in complaints, the detailed demographic insights, and positive consumer feedback all point towards a growing and evolving service that is committed to enhancing consumer satisfaction and professional standards in the optical sector.

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