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Phoning the council? You can now use cheaper 0300 numbers

Press release   •   Mar 07, 2014 09:00 GMT

From today it’s cheaper to call Rochdale Borough Council from mobiles, after the council replaced 13 of its most used 0845 numbers with 0300 numbers. The new numbers, which went live this morning, cost the same to call as geographic numbers starting 01 or 02.

Calls to 0300 numbers are often included as part of inclusive minutes, discount schemes or bundled packages in the same way as geographic calls, so will be free in many cases.

Initially the 13 most commonly dialed 0845 numbers are changing, including high volume services such as council tax, housing benefit, payments and bins.  It’s the beginning of a process that will soon see all 0845 and 0844 numbers phased out, making it more affordable to access services said Council Leader Colin Lambert:

“Calling us from a landline has always been charged the same as a local call, but with mobile phone use continuing to rise and 0845s not included in common bundled minute’s deals, residents were being charged more by their mobile provider for what should be a local rate call.  Changing to 0300 numbers is undoubtedly the right thing for us to do and enables the people we serve to contact us via their mobile for the same cost as any other geographic number. These numbers are often also included in people’s mobile phone packages.”

“Ensuring that the existing numbers continue to work means we can introduce new numbers without inconveniencing anyone and can minimise the costs of the change.  Aside from these new numbers, we’re always encouraging residents to try our website first, as it’s the easiest and cheapest way to access many of our services.” 

He added.

Rather than phoning the council, you can use the council’s new website - was re-launched last month with additional features which the council hopes will make accessing their services online easier.  There are more things than ever you can report or apply for online without the need to pick up the phone or visit the council in person - saving time and money. Online you can request a bulky waste collection, report littering or fly-tipping, renew your library books, report a missed bin, pothole, faulty streetlight and more. You can also enquire about other council services including fostering and adoption.

The phone number change is part of a country-wide move to 0300 numbers to reduce the cost of contacting public sector organisations. The DVLA, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Ofcom have already moved to 0300 numbers and other councils across the country are also making the switch.  Lancashire County Council changed to 0300 numbers last month.

Callers to the 0845 numbers will hear a recorded message asking them to redial the new 0300 number at a lower cost.  Work is already underway to update printed materials, but maintaining the existing numbers will minimise the costs of the change by meaning printed material with the old numbers does not need to be replaced immediately.  Existing 0845 numbers will continue to work for the foreseeable future, until the council is sure that the vast majority of calls are being made to the new numbers.

The move was agreed by the council in February. 0300 numbers can be used by government and not for profit organisations.  They cost 1p-9p per minute from a landline, and 10p – 40p per minute from mobiles, but are included in free minute packages.  They are charged as local rates as before. 0300 numbers are cheaper than 0845, 0844 and 0800 from landlines.

The new numbers:

  • Environmental Management 0300 303 8884
  • Council Tax and Housing Benefit 0300 303 8870
  • Environmental Health 0300 303 8871
  • Payments 0300 303 8889
  • Homelessness 0300 303 8548 
  • Job Vacancies 0300 303 8872 
  • Library Services 0300 303 8876 
  • Street Lighting 0300 303 8881
  • Regeneration 0300 303 8878 
  • Highways and Engineering 0300 303 8879 
  • Planning and Regulation 0300 303 8873 
  • Strategic Housing 0300 303 8874 
  • Property 0300 303 8880

If you need access to the internet, you can log on for free at any local library.  Staff can help you set up an email account or sign you up for a course to help you get online. If you do need to phone the council, you can call them for free from the ground floor of Number One Riverside in Rochdale and at libraries in Middleton, Heywood, Littleborough, Balderstone and Milnrow.

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