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Departmental Telephone Services

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what use (a) his Department and (b) service providers under contract to his Department make of (i) 0844 and 0845 telephone numbers and (ii) revenue-sharing telephone numbers for calls from members of the public; for which services such numbers are used; what prefixes are used for revenue-sharing numbers; how much revenue has accrued from revenue-sharing numbers in each of the last five years; what consideration his Department has given to introducing 03-prefixed telephone numbers for calls to all such services; and if he will make a statement. (247351)

The information requested is as follows.

(a) (i) DWP and its executive agencies; Jobcentre Plus, Pension, Disability and Carers Service and Rent Service currently publish 129 primary 0845 numbers for calls from customers accessing their services. DWP do not have any 0844 numbers.


Jobcentre Plus

7 x 0845 Initial Inquiry Lines e.g. Jobseeker Direct, Employer Direct, National Insurance etc.


81 x 0845 Inquiry Lines to the 81 Benefit Delivery Centres


20 x 0845 Social Fund


6 x 0845 Maternity Allowance


2 x 0845 Bereavement


PDCS Pensions

9 x 0845 e.g. Tracing Helpline and E-claim helpline, Forecasting


PDCS Disability and Carers

1 x 0845 Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance


Debt Management

2 x 0845 RFE, Recovery


Rent Service

1 x 0845 number Central Processing Unit, Washington


(ii) DWP do not have any revenue sharing numbers. We ceased any revenue sharing in December 2007. This had been worth circa £500,000 per annum. We do not have an exact breakdown for this and it would be difficult to obtain these figures.

Following detailed consideration of the advantages and disadvantages, DWP have no plans to introduce 03 numbers at this time. This decision will be kept under review.

(b) Service providers under contract to the Department—this information is not readily available and initial inquiries have shown that the cost of obtaining it would be disproportionate.