Ofcom makes two new 116 helpline numbers available

28 July 2010

Ofcom today confirmed that it will make two new pan-European 116 numbers available in the UK.

The two numbers are:

  • 116 006 which will be used as a helpline for victims of crime. This will be a freephone service where calls to this number will be free unless a pre-call announcement tells the caller that a charge applies. This is often the case with calls made from a mobile; and
  • 116 117 for a non-emergency medical on-call service which will always be free of charge in the UK, whether made from a fixed line, mobile or public phone box.

Ofcom will use a selection process to choose the most appropriate service provider to use these numbers, advised by an independent Government panel.

The next stage is for potential relevant service providers to express their interest in using these numbers by 1st October 2010.

Allocating numbers of social value

The two 116 numbers have been made available by the European Commission as part of its aim for certain services of social value to be contactable by the same memorable number in all Member States.

Every year Ofcom allocates millions of telephone numbers to communications providers for homes, businesses and organisations to use. Ofcom's role is to ensure the best use is made of the UK's finite telephone number resource.

In October last year, Ofcom selected the organisations to provide services on the first three 116 numbers: Missing People (116 000), NSPCC (116 111) and Samaritans (116 123).

Ofcom’s statement on making these two new numbers available for allocation in the UK can be found at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/harmonised_eu_numbers/.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Under section 63(1) of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a duty to secure the best use of telephone numbers and to encourage efficiency and innovation for that purpose.
  2. Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.
  3. For further information about Ofcom please visit: www.ofcom.org.uk. Ofcom's news releases can be found at: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/

CONTACT

Media & Corporate Relations Ofcom ofcomnews@ofcom.org.uk (+44) (0)300 123 4000