Skip to main content

Departmental Telephone Services

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what use (a) his Department and (b) service providers under contract to his Department made 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. (247342)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a Travel Advice line (0845 850 28290). The line offers an alternative method for accessing the same travel advice available on the FCO website. In the last six months, 2,642,989 people accessed FCO Travel Advice from the website, 52,251 used the Travel Advice phone line. Calls are charged at the standard rate from a British Telecom line (up to 5p/m) and the FCO receives no financial benefit from the arrangement. We are committed to providing the best possible service to British nationals seeking advice on living and travelling abroad and as part of this ongoing process the introduction of an 03 number will be considered as part of this year’s Review of Consular Services.

UKVisas became part of the UK Border Agency International on 1 April 2008. Until that time, UKVisas was part of the FCO. UKVisas did maintain a live 0870 public inquiry line, but this service is not now operational and is unlikely to be used in the future.