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Harmonised European numbers for harmonised services of social value (116XXX numbers)

Information on 116 numbers, including register of numbers available in the UK and details of the comparative selection process

The European Commission ('the Commission') is aiming for certain services of social value to be contactable by using the same memorable telephone numbers in all Member States. To further this aim, the Commission has designated the 6-digit '116' number range for European-wide harmonised numbers for services of social value. This means that the same service of social value may be reached when calling a certain '116' number across Europe, giving European citizens 'same number – same service' memorability. The Commission decides which services should be reserved '116' numbers and attaches conditions relating to the use of the numbers.

We set out our general approach to implementation of '116' numbers in the UK in the regulatory statement published on 20 February 2009.

Register of '116' harmonised European numbers for harmonised services of social value available in the UK

Number Service for which this number is reserved Current UK status Further information
(CP – Communications Provider SP – Service Provider)
116000

Name of service:
Hotline for missing children

Description:
The service (a) takes calls reporting missing children and passes them on to the Police; (b) offers guidance to and supports the persons responsible for the missing child; (c) supports the investigation.

Allocated 116000 has been allocated to the SP/CP partnership of Missing People and BT
116111

Name of the service:
Child helplines

Description:
The service helps children in need of care and protection and links them to services and resources; it provides children with an opportunity to express their concerns, talk about issues directly affecting them and contact someone in an emergency situation.

Allocated 116111 has been allocated to the SP/CP partnership of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (the NSPCC) and BT
116123

Name of the service:
Emotional support helplines

Description:
The service enables the caller to benefit from a genuine human relationship based on non-judgemental listening. It offers emotional support to callers suffering from loneliness, in a state of psychological crisis, or contemplating suicide.

Allocated and in operation
116123 has been allocated to the SP/CP partnership of Samaritans and BT

Consultation on making two new '116' numbers available for allocation in the UK

The Commission reserved two additional '116' numbers for harmonised services of social value in its amending decision of 30 November 2009. In order to make these numbers available in the UK, we published a consultation document on 6 April 2010 proposing to add the numbers and associated information set out below to the National Telephone Numbering Plan and consulting on our proposed charging arrangements for the numbers. The consultation closed on 18 May 2010 and responses can be viewed here http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/harmonised_eu_numbers/. We plan to publish the statement concluding the consultation process in July and to start the selection process for allocation of 116006 and 116117 to the most suitable service providers and their chosen communications providers.

Number Service for which this number is reserved Specific conditions attached to the right of use for this number
116006

Name of the service:
Helpline for victims of crime

Description:
The service enables victims of crime to get emotional support in such circumstances, to be informed about their rights and about ways to claim their rights, and to be referred to the relevant organisations. In particular, it provides information about (a) local police and criminal justice proceedings, (b) possibilities of compensation and insurance matters. It also provides support in finding other sources of help relevant to the victims of crime.

Where the service is not continuously available (i.e. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nation-wide), the service provider must ensure that information about availability is made publicly available in an easily accessible form, and that, during periods of unavailability, callers to the service are advised when the service will next become available.
116117

Name of the service:
Non-emergency medical on-call service

Description:
The service directs callers to the medical assistance appropriate to their needs, which are urgent but non-life-threatening, especially, but not exclusively, outside normal office hours, over the weekend and on public holidays. It connects the caller to a skilled and supported call-handler, or connects the caller directly to a qualified medical practitioner or clinician.

Where the service is not continuously available (i.e. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nation-wide), the service provider must ensure that information about availability is made publicly available in an easily accessible form, and that, during periods of unavailability, callers to the service are advised when the service will next become available.

Comparative selection process for allocation of '116' numbers

'116' numbers are allocated to a partnership of a single or multiple service provider(s) and a single communications provider. The selection of the most appropriate partnership will be made by Ofcom following a comparative selection process. We will be assisted throughout the process by the Government-run 116 Advisory Committee. Applications will be assessed against the Service Eligibility Criteria set for each number and against other applications, resulting in allocation to the partnership providing the most appropriate service. The selection process has two stages:

  • Stage One: Ofcom publishes an application template and organisations interested in providing the service on the '116' number complete the application and submit by the published deadline. Information requested will primarily relate to the applicants' relevant experience and current service operation, plus an initial assessment of how this might change if the '116' number was allocated. Evidence of how the service would fulfill the Service Eligibility Criteria is required; and
  • Stage Two: applicants that successfully complete Stage One will be issued with details of the Stage Two process. This will generally include a presentation to the advisory committee at a 'Discovery Session' and the submission of a five-year Business Case for allocation of the '116' number.

We will invite the communications provider from each partnership that successfully completes the selection process to submit an access code application form. Ofcom will decide which partnership offers the most suitable service, taking into account the material submitted during both stages of the comparative selection process, the access code application form and the Advisory Committee's recommendation.

'116' numbers will generally be allocated to service provider(s) / communications provider partnerships for an indefinite period provided that numbers are used in accordance with the National Telephone Numbering Plan. In certain circumstances we may decide to limit the allocation to a five year period following which a new selection process will be run.

Further information on '116' numbers

Further information from the Commission on '116' numbers can be found on its pan-European numbers and services webpage.