This week 18 years ago, Ofcom allocated numbers prefixed with 116. These are freephone numbers designated as ‘harmonised services of social value’ by the European Commission.
The same service can be reached by dialling the same number wherever you are in the EU - as long as the hotline is operational in the country you are in.
On February 20, 2009, Ofcom began the 116 number allocation process. UK numbers were awarded as follows.
- 116000 is the hotline for reporting missing children. It was allocated to Missing People and BT is the service provider. This is operational in 27 member states.
- 116111 is the child helpline. This was allocated to the NSPCC, again BT is the service provider. This is operational in 23 member states.
- 116123 is the emotional support helpline. It was allocated to the Samaritans, with Gamma/Vodafone as the service provider. This is operational in 13 member states.