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Departmental Telephone Services

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which agencies under his Department’s responsibilities use the (a) 0845 and (b) 0870 telephone codes for customer enquiries; how many 0845 and 0870 telephone codes each agency uses; and how much revenue was generated for each of these codes by each agency in each of the last five years. (183887)

None of my Department’s agencies use 0870 numbers for customer inquiries. Information on the use of 0845 numbers is in the table:


0845 numbers in use

Child Support Agency


Jobcentre Plus


The Pension Service


Disability and Carers Service


In addition, although not formally an agency, the Department’s debt management service uses nineteen 0845 numbers.

The high number of lines in the CSA reflects a one- time business model which gave each agent a direct dial number that clients could use to contact a specific person. The facility still exists but its use is minimal since the agency adopted an advanced telephony model with an area based single number for clients, which routes calls to the person best equipped to answer the query.

The Department received a rebate of £1,463,738.45 for the period covering 1 October 2005 to 30 November 2007 and this was used to pay for other telecommunication services. No information is available for any earlier period and no breakdown of this figure is available. The Department ceased this arrangement on 14 December 2007 and no longer receives any rebate. This change in arrangement does not affect the charge a customer pays for contacting the Department.