Ofcom makes two new 116 helpline numbers available

28 July 2010

Someone dialling number on landline phoneOfcom today confirmed that it will make two new pan-European 116 numbers available in the UK.

Pan-European 116 numbers were introduced last year so that people can call helplines using the same memorable number regardless of which EU country they are in.

This will make it easier for visitors to find the right number when they need help or advice.

Helpline numbers

Three 116 numbers were made available last October and the two further numbers being made available today 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 1 October 2010.

Finite resource

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).

Those 116 numbers run alongside the three organisations' existing helpline numbers.

Calls to the three numbers are free of charge in the UK, whether made from a fixed line, mobile or public phone box.

Read Ofcom's statement on making these numbers available for allocation in the UK