- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
On Thursday 16 October 2014 Valerie published the Second Report into the use of higher rate telephone lines by Government departments.
“I am concerned that nine Government departments continue to operate higher rate telephone numbers. This is too high. The Ministry of Justice and the Department of Work and Pensions, who have contact with some of the most vulnerable in society must put in place as a matter of urgency local rate phone lines.”
“My Second Report, which is published today, builds on the First Report and shows that Arms-length bodies and private contractors who deliver public services should also follow the Cabinet Office Guidance, published in December 2013, in the same way as central Government. There should be no financial barrier to contacting Government departments or their Arms-length bodies when a member of the public needs their assistance.”
“I tabled further written questions in June 2014 to the Government departments who were using higher rate telephone numbers in November 2013. I tabled further written questions in September 2014 to ask for a timetable for the phase out of their higher rate numbers. The findings of these questions showed that 0845, 0844, and 0843 telephone numbers are still being used by nine departments.”
“I welcome the fact that ten Government departments do not use higher rate telephone numbers. This is up from six Government departments in November 2013. Other Departments are following the Guidance and have started the transition from 0845 numbers to numbers that are charged at local rates.”
“I have called on the Cabinet Office to set a deadline of 31 December 2014 for the phasing out of higher rate telephone numbers in all Government Departments.”
The report is available to download here.