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FOI Response - Norfolk County Council (Read 19,886 times)
mc661
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FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Jul 14th, 2005 at 10:27pm
 
I refer to your request for information dated 15th June 2005.

In accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I have now processed your request. 

As requested, I respond to your questions below:

1.Do you use 0870 telephone numbers? 
NCC does not, although the Travelline Service does use 0870 608 2608 to which we subscribe.

2.Why do you use 0845 numbers?
Our use of 0845 stems from previous implementation of our contact strategy and was used predominantly to provide a low cost option for callers into our access points.  The strategy has since been revised and these numbers are being replaced with 0844 numbers.

2.1What are the equivalent geographical numbers:
0845 602 1930 01553 778000
0845 606 0242 01603 762247
0845 702 3097 01603 222308
0845 744 4466 Network announcement
0845 758 1761 01603 819800
0845 758 1762 01263 738300

2.2What revenue do you receive per minute and in total from the use of 0845 numbers?

We do not receive any revenue from our use of 0845 numbers.

2.3Are you aware if the revenue collected by your telecom provider, from your callers?

The cost to call an 0845 number from a BT line will be no more than 3.36p per minute during 0600 - 1800 Mon - Fri, and 0.85p per minute at all other times.

2.4Have you considered the revised COI guidelines?
Yes.

2.4.1If so what conclusions did you come to?
That our strategy for moving away from 0845 numbers was the correct strategy.

2.5Do you realise that all calls (local/national) cost the same?
This is not true as call costs may vary if using other, non-BT, network operators or a mobile telephone. 

However the purpose of a 0845 non-geographic number is to provide the same call charges to all callers.  The local call cost from a BT line will be no more than 3.36p per minute during 0600 - 1800 Mon - Fri, and 0.85p per minute at all other times.

2.6Do you realise that 0845 numbers now offer no cost advantage to callers, irrespective of their location, only disadvantages?
No.  We do not believe this statement to be true.  See response for our strategic adoption of 0844 numbers below.

2.7Are you aware of the cost implications to your callers, when using 0845 numbers?
Yes, costs as 2.3 above.
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« Last Edit: Jul 14th, 2005 at 11:53pm by mc661 »  
 
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mc661
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #1 - Jul 14th, 2005 at 10:27pm
 
3.Why do you use 0844 numbers?
In making the decision to move from 01603 numbers to non-geographic 0844 numbers we looked at all the County STD codes. We found that while it cost 3p per minute to call Norfolk County Council from seven codes within Norfolk, if you lived in one of the other 12 STD areas within the county you were charged the National rate of 8p per minute.

This situation does not demonstrate a fair or equitable service to people across Norfolk.

0844 numbers are charged at 4.25p per minute ex VAT (5p per minute including VAT), so irrespective of location every citizen of Norfolk will pay exactly the same for a landline call to our new 0844 numbers (mobile charges will vary by operator).

The costs to NCC associated with 0844 are restricted to the line and number rental, we don’t generate any income from using this number.

[I have added the various departments to the list - mc661]

3.1 What are the equivalent geographical numbers?
Education General Enquiries: 0844 800 8001 01603 638034
Adult Education Brochure Line:
0844 800 8002 01603 222222
0844 800 8002 Network announcement

School Transport: 0844 800 8003 01603 306007
Waste Management: 0844 800 8004 01603 306008
0844 800 8005 01603 306005
Library Renewals: 0844 800 8006 01603 306009
0844 800 8007 01603 222425
Street Lighting: 0844 800 8008 01603 306006
0844 800 8009 01603 306005
0844 800 8010 01603 306010
General Enquiries: (txtphone) 0844 800 8011 01603 223833
General Enquiries: (fax) 0844 800 8012 01603 638041
Trading Standards: 0844 800 8013 01603 306001
Social Services:
0844 800 8014 01493 845009
0844 800 8014 01603 481295
0844 800 8014 01603 306003
0844 800 8014 01603 306002
0844 800 8014 01553 669300
0844 800 8014 01493 850317
0844 800 8014 01553 669326
0844 800 8014 01493 845005

0844 800 8015 01603 306005
0844 800 8016 01603 306005
0844 800 8017 01603 306005
0844 800 8018 01603 306011
0844 800 8019 01603 306005
General Enquiries: 0844 800 8020 01603 306005

3.2 What revenue do you receive per minute and in total from the use of 0844 numbers?
We do not receive any revenue for the use of 0844 numbers.

3.3 Are you aware of the revenue collected by your telecom provider, from your callers?
Yes, The 0844 call cost is 4.25p per minute ex VAT, 5p per minute including VAT

3.4Have you considered the revised COI guidelines?
Yes.

3.4.1If so what conclusions did you come to?
We have implemented 0844 numbers to provide all citizens and council taxpayers of Norfolk with an equitable cost of access to our services.  Although we do not provide a national service our service covers a wide area (Norfolk) that encompasses a large number of STD codes.  Dependent upon where a caller is a variable rate would be paid for access to a 01603 number.  The map depicted below explains this.  We therefore believe that our strategy is fully in line with the COI guidelines - please refer to paragraph 3.50 on page 24.

3.5 Do you realise that all calls (local/national) cost the same?
This is not true as call costs may vary if using other, non-BT, network operators or a mobile telephone. 

However the purpose of a 0844 non-geographic number is to provide the same call charges to all callers.  The local call cost from a BT line is 4.25p per minute ex VAT, 5p per minute including VAT.

3.6 Do you realise that 0844 numbers now offer no cost advantage to callers, irrespective of their location, only disadvantages?
We do not believe this statement to be true.  As stated above callers in locations such as King’s Lynn will be charged at National rate to access our Norwich numbers, there the use of 0844 does provide a cost advantage for such callers.  It is true that callers who have local exchanges with ‘local’ rates for access to 01603 (those shown in yellow on the map depicted below) are at a disadvantage however our strategy is to provide equity of cost across the county.

3.7Are you aware of the cost implications to your callers, when using 0844 numbers?
Yes the 0844 call cost is 4.25p per minute ex VAT, 5p per minute including VAT, and we do not publicise that this is a ‘lo-call’ rate.

Please note that all call costs quoted are based on BT rates and that call costs may vary if using other network operators or a mobile telephone.

Any telephone call (excluding 0800 calls) made from a BT line incurs a minimum call cost of 4.2 pence excluding VAT.

I also enclose a copy of our standard response to questions from the public relating to our use of 0844 numbers.

The documents supplied in response to your request are for your personal use. They are copyright Norfolk County Council and may not be copied, distributed, published, or exploited for commercial purposes or financial gain without the explicit written consent of Norfolk County Council.

...
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« Last Edit: Jul 14th, 2005 at 10:41pm by mc661 »  
 
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Cruz
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #2 - Jul 14th, 2005 at 11:31pm
 
Quote:
3.Why do you use 0844 numbers?
In making the decision to move from 01603 numbers to non-geographic 0844 numbers we looked at all the County STD codes. We found that while it cost 3p per minute to call Norfolk County Council from seven codes within Norfolk, if you lived in one of the other 12 STD areas within the county you were charged the National rate of 8p per minute.

This situation does not demonstrate a fair or equitable service to people across Norfolk.
That is a truly staggering distortion of the truth.

Whoever this is has been totally taken in by the salesman's rhetoric (which, conveniently, obviously ignored the fact that the vast majority of BT cutomers have been transferred onto BT Together Option 1 and so a daytime call to ANY 01 or 02 STD code from ANY 01 or 02 STD code costs the same - 3p/minute).

The alleged justification for moving from 0845 numbers to 0844 numbers is confused as well.  Why can't they just say they want to stop the public bothering them by making it cost 5p/minute instead of the 3p/minute calling the 0845 or geograhic numbers used to cost?
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« Last Edit: Jul 14th, 2005 at 11:32pm by Cruz »  
 
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Dave
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #3 - Jul 15th, 2005 at 4:07pm
 
What a complete load of rubbish! Roll Eyes

Quote:
2.5Do you realise that all calls (local/national) cost the same?
This is not true as call costs may vary if using other, non-BT, network operators or a mobile telephone.

I think that this could be worded better. Clearly they are splitting hairs. They are referring to BT non-discounted rates. IMHO it would be better to ask:
Do you realise that for most people in this country it costs the same for them to call a local geographical number as it does a national geographical number? Do you therefore realise that the rates which you quote are BT non-discounted ones, and that BT removed some nine-million subscribers from its principal non-discounted tariff, BT Standard, onto BT Together Option 1? Are you aware that BT Together is a 'discounted' tariff?

Still, at least we now have a list of alternatives for the database.
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Cruz
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #4 - Jul 15th, 2005 at 5:13pm
 
Quote:
What a complete load of rubbish! Roll Eyes

I think that this could be worded better. Clearly they are splitting hairs. They are referring to BT non-discounted rates. IMHO it would be better to ask:
Do you realise that for most people in this country it costs the same for them to call a local geographical number as it does a national geographical number? Do you therefore realise that the rates which you quote are BT non-discounted ones, and that BT removed some nine-million subscribers from its principal non-discounted tariff, BT Standard, onto BT Together Option 1? Are you aware that BT Together is a 'discounted' tariff?

I agree about the wording - they're obviously getting the hang of this whole FOI thing now so, if you ask a Yes/No question the answer you'll get will, if it suits their purpose, be just Yes or No.

It'd be useful to know approximately what percentage of BT residential customers are now on the discounted schemes (AFAIK, that's BT Together Options 1, 2 & 3) following the enforced migration onto Option 1 of many customers on 1/7/04.  That'd be useful ammunition to refute the continued (and ridiculous) use of BT's non-discounted rates in such replies.

Does anyone have a source?
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« Last Edit: Jul 15th, 2005 at 5:14pm by Cruz »  
 
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #5 - Jul 15th, 2005 at 5:35pm
 
Quote:
...It'd be useful to know approximately what percentage of BT residential customers are now on the discounted schemes (AFAIK, that's BT Together Options 1, 2 & 3) following the enforced migration onto Option 1 of many customers on 1/7/04.
I have sent BT an email over this and asked that very question today after reading the above posts.  I've asked for a approx figure with regards to how many residential landline customers they have and out that how many are on BT's non-discounted tariffs (In Contact Plus & Light User Scheme).  In other words those that are not on a BT Together tariff.
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #6 - Nov 4th, 2005 at 3:34pm
 
I have today received a very detailed response to my own FOI request. Before I publish it, I would like advice on the following paragraph contained within the reply:

<<
Please can I ask you to note that the documents supplied in response to your request are for your personal use. They are copyright Norfolk County Council and may not be copied, distributed, published, or exploited for commercial purposes or financial gain without the explicit written consent of Norfolk County Council.
>>

I am inclined to ignore this as the response is as a result of a FOI request and I can see nothing that warrants the withholding of further dissemination.

Any advice would be welcome. I may well call NCC next week to seek clarification.
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #7 - Nov 4th, 2005 at 4:05pm
 
for commercial purposes or financial gain


That basically means that by you posting their response, you cannot do it, by charging other members of this site a fee, or asking Daniel a fee for your work.

You're posting a reply that you've gone through the trouble of finding out the info, free of charge for the website owners, and members of the forum, therefore it is NOT for commercial purposes or financial gain.
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I realy hait itt wen peeple canot spel proply. Itt getts onn mye nervs sew mutch annd streses mee owt. Knot onley iz itt vary bade speling butt allso bade gramer.
 
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #8 - Nov 4th, 2005 at 5:10pm
 
Quote:
I have sent BT an email over this and asked that very question today after reading the above posts.  I've asked for a approx figure with regards to how many residential landline customers they have and out that how many are on BT's non-discounted tariffs (In Contact Plus & Light User Scheme).  In other words those that are not on a BT Together tariff.

Did you ever get a reply bbb_uk?
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ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL - When are you going to STOP ignoring government guidelines and RIPPING OFF Council Tax payers with your use of 0845 numbers?
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #9 - Nov 4th, 2005 at 5:15pm
 
Quote:
Did you ever get a reply bbb_uk?
I did but it just said this info was available from BTplc.com.  I remember I couldn't find it when I had a look and since then completely forgot about it.
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mc661
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #10 - Nov 4th, 2005 at 7:18pm
 
Quote:
I have today received a very detailed response to my own FOI request. Before I publish it, I would like advice on the following paragraph contained within the reply:

<<
Please can I ask you to note that the documents supplied in response to your request are for your personal use. They are copyright Norfolk County Council and may not be copied, distributed, published, or exploited for commercial purposes or financial gain without the explicit written consent of Norfolk County Council.
>>

I am inclined to ignore this as the response is as a result of a FOI request and I can see nothing that warrants the withholding of further dissemination.

Any advice would be welcome. I may well call NCC next week to seek clarification.


If you look at my response from them, they put that my response, I still posted it anyway.
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #11 - Nov 4th, 2005 at 8:00pm
 
Quote:
If you look at my response from them, they put that my response, I still posted it anyway.
Ah yes, didn't spot that. Whilst my initial thought was (and still is) the interpretation that Shiggaddi posted, I still feel the copyright notice is ambiguous. Does "commercial purposes and financial gain" only refer to the exploitation aspect or does it refer to the publishing part? Perhaps I'm reading this far too deeply and should just go with my first instincts.

I'm not too worried really - are they going to come after me here in Miami if I get this wrong?! Disclaimers from public bodies really annoy me most of the time.
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #12 - Nov 15th, 2005 at 7:35pm
 
Here is my response from NCC:

<<
I refer to your request for information dated 18th October 2005 which we have processed in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  

Please find below, our answers to your questions.

1.      Please provide the equivalent geographic numbers (i.e. overlay numbers) for all services that currently operate using 0844, 0845, 0870 and 0871 numbers.

The table below is a complete list of all numbers that belong to NCC, together with their delivery numbers, which may be more than one.

08448008001      01603306012
08448008001      Announcement
08448008002      Announcement
08448008002      01603306016
08448008003      01603306007
08448008003      Announcement
08448008004      01603306008
08448008004      Announcement
08448008005      01603306005
08448008006      01603306009
08448008006      Announcement
08448008007      01603222523
08448008008      01603306006
08448008008      Announcement
08448008009      01603306005
08448008010      01603306010
08448008010      Announcement
08448008011      01603223833
08448008012      01603306090
08448008013      01603306001
08448008013      Announcement
08448008014      01493845009
08448008014      01603481295
08448008014      01603306003
08448008014      01603306002
08448008014      01553669300
08448008014      01493850317
08448008014      01553669326
08448008014      01493845005
08448008014      01603629583
08448008014      01603729100
08448008015      Announcement
08448008016      01603306005
08448008017      01603306005
08448008018      01603306011
08448008018      Announcement
08448008019      01603306005
08448008019      01603306015
08448008019      01603306014
08448008019      01603228837
08448008019      Announcement
08448008020      01603306005
08448008020      Announcement
08448008021      01603306005
08448008021      Announcement
08448008022      01603306005
08448008022      Announcement
08448008023      01603306005
08448008023      Announcement
08448008024      01603306005
08448008024      Announcement
08448008025      01603306005
08448008025      Announcement
08448008026      01603306005
08448008026      Announcement
08448008027      01603306005
08448008027      Announcement
08448008028      01603306005
08448008028      Announcement
08448008029      01603306005
08448008029      Announcement
08448008030      01603306005
08448008030      Announcement
08456018269      Announcement
08456021930      01553778000
08456060242      01603762247
08457023097      01603222308
08457444466      Announcement
08457581761      01603819800
08457581762      01263738300


2.      Why did NCC introduce 0844 numbers? Please provide any supporting information, for example meeting notes etc.

In making the decision to move from 01603 numbers to non-geographic 0844 numbers we looked at all the County STD codes. We found that while it cost 3p per minute to call Norfolk County Council from seven codes within Norfolk, if you lived in one of the other 12 STD areas within the county you were charged the National rate of 8p per minute.

This situation does not demonstrate a fair or equitable service to people across Norfolk.

0844 numbers are charged at 5p per minute from all STD codes, so irrespective of location every citizen of Norfolk will pay exactly the same for a landline call to our new 0844 numbers (mobile charges will vary by operator).

The costs to NCC associated with 0844 are restricted to the line and number rental, we don’t generate any income from using this number.

The call routing features and comprehensive network statistics available by using 08xx numbers, helps the council to provide a better service to its callers. Also the contingency built into the 08xx numbers allows for calls still to be answered in the event of an emergency.

Appendices A, B and C and the electronic links to our website listed at the end of this document refer.

3.       How much revenue/rebate does NCC receive from its non-geographic 0844 numbers?

None

4.      Which company supplies the non-geographic numbers?

BT provides the numbers as part of our managed service.  

5.      Is NCC aware of the difficulties experienced by overseas callers attempting to dial non-geographic numbers and if so, what steps does it intend to take to alleviate these difficulties?

Yes, we are aware of expressed difficulties and are taking action to tackle these which is set out in the answer to question 6, below.

6.      Has the advice provided by the COI in relation to public body use of non-geographic numbers been taken into consideration and if so, what conclusions were made?

Since we made our decision to implement 0844 contact numbers in 2003, with the data available at the time, there have been significant changes in telecommunications service pricing.  OFCOM and the COI have revised their guidelines to reflect these and Trading Standards have issued a Code of Practice relating to non-geographic telephone numbers. As a consequence, we are currently revising our strategy and will take options to the County Councils Cabinet for decision.

Please can I ask you to note that the documents supplied in response to your request are for your personal use. They are copyright Norfolk County Council and may not be copied, distributed, published, or exploited for commercial purposes or financial gain without the explicit written consent of Norfolk County Council.

If you have any queries regarding the information provided, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to help.  You have the right of appeal through the Council's internal complaints procedure by setting out the grounds of your appeal in writing to me.  
>>

Appendices to follow ...
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #13 - Nov 15th, 2005 at 7:36pm
 
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Re: FOI Response - Norfolk County Council
Reply #14 - Nov 15th, 2005 at 7:40pm
 
[I just knew Capita would be in this somewhere!]

<<
Appendix A Cabinet report 1 march 2004.doc

This report outlines the revisions to the Contact Strategy and also outlines the progress made on the key elements of the strategy.

1.      Background/Introduction

1.1      The original Contact Strategy was developed by Capita and approved by Cabinet on 20th May 2002.  It was always envisaged that the Contact Strategy would be an iterative document with a formal and on-going review process. This is the first formal review of the Contact Strategy and reflects the progress to date. The revision to the Contact Strategy has been carried out by a small working group, led by e-Services and involved departmental Service Improvement Managers, Communication and Policy Units.
1.2      The Contact Strategy has a number of key elements that collectively contribute to a customer handling approach. These elements include :-

·      Website
·      Customer Service Centre
Council Information Centres
·      Other County Council Service Access Points
·      Other Organisation Information Points
·      Telephone Numbering Strategy
·      Letter, Fax e-Mail
·      Customer Care Standards
·      Communications and Employee Development

1.3      For each of these key elements the revised Contact Strategy outlines:-
·      A delivery strategy
·      The key objectives
·      A position statement
·      Targets for 2004/2005 and to 2007
·      Responsibilities
·      Special factors that could affect the development of the particular element.

1.4      A fundamental addition to the Contact Strategy is Appendix A. This outlines the Corporate Customer Care Standards that have been subject to a recent pilot project across the Council, to test a set of draft minimum standards and to explore issues around their possible introduction.
1.5      The Contact Strategy will be made available on the Web for all employees, members and the public to refer to.

2.      Alternative Options

2.1      There are no alternatives for Cabinet to consider.

3.      Conclusion

3.1      The Contact Strategy represents Norfolk County Council’s policy for handling contacts with the public and underpins its approach to customer service and care. It represents the opportunity to take a holistic and consistent quality approach across the whole County Council.

4.      Recommendations
4.1      Cabinet approves the revised Contact Strategy.
4.2      Cabinet approves the Customer Care Standards as outline in Appendix A of the Contact Strategy.
>>
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