Ofcom has confirmed that it will make two new pan-European 116 numbers available in the UK. They are designed to provide similar services in every European Union country, so that citizens know who to contact no matter where they are.
The two new numbers are 116 006 and 116 117.
“116 006 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,” said an official Ofcom statement.
“116 117 is 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 has now begun the selection process to choose “the most appropriate service provider” to use these numbers, with further advisement coming from an independent Government panel.
The next stage is for potential relevant service providers to express their interest in using these numbers, before the 1 October 2010 deadline.
“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,” the statement continued.
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).