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Public Bodies: Telephone Services

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps are being taken by the Contact Council in relation to public sector bodies that do not charge fees for the use of their services and which use revenue sharing 084x and 087x telephone numbers. (240799)

The use of non-geographic phone numbers is currently a matter for individual Departments. It is their responsibility to balance the costs and the needs of their users and customers.

Some central Government Departments operating 084x and 087x telephone numbers apply additional charges on top of the costs of the call. However the extent of these practices has not been systematically assessed. Therefore the cross-government Contact Council has commissioned research requesting that central Government Departments provide details of how many 084x and 087x telephone numbers they operate, and whether these numbers partake in revenue sharing activities, as part of a comprehensive survey of number usage in the public sector. Once this research has been carried out the Contact Council will issue guidelines on numbering in general, including the use of 084x and 087x numbers. This guidance will be published later in the year.