To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many telephone lines with the prefix (a) 0845, (b) 0844 and (c) 0843 his Department (i) operates and (ii) sponsors; how many calls each such number has received in the last 12 months; and whether alternative numbers charged at BT local rates are available in each such case.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
1 July 2014
(a) Number of customer helplines with a prefix of 0845 is 139
(b) The Department does not operate any 0844 numbers
(c) The Department does not operate any 0843 numbers
Data sources and metric definitions will be placed in the library.
All numbers currently owned by Network Services relate to calls either managed entirely within the Department or split between DWP and outsourcing partners. If the Department sponsors any numbers on behalf of third parties data is not included within Network Services reporting.
During 2014 DWP are introducing 0345 numbers to run alongside existing 0845 numbers to provide a choice for the caller based on the arrangement they have with their telephony provider. Using 0345 numbers allows DWP to use the same last 7 digits as its 0845 range.
Charges for calls to 0345/0845 numbers vary and depend on the person's contract with their provider. When charges apply the costs are shown on the following web page for the Gov.uk site (www.gov.uk/call-charges)
If a customer raises concerns over the cost of a call we will offer to call them back from our enquiry lines. The Department also provides controlled access to telephones for claimants who require one in support of their jobsearch or benefit enquiry.
The department does not operate any prefixes that begin with 0844 or 0843 therefore no alternative numbers are available.