To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what agencies or units for which his Department is responsible require the public to make telephone calls to them on numbers which charge more than the national call rate; and how much income each such agency has derived from such charges in each of the last three years.
The Ministry of Justice's Central Recruitment Unit uses 0870 numbers for calls relating to recruitment campaigns. The Unit handles approximately 80,000 calls per year and the total revenue generated from these numbers, since they were introduced in February 2004, is £25,503.69.
There is no central record held of the yearly breakdown. The maximum duration of a call is two minutes 59 seconds for which the caller pays a charge of 9p, in addition to the national rate. For shorter calls, the charge will be less. Calls to these numbers from mobile phones are charged at the rate determined by the phone carrier. The Ministry cannot control the charges made by mobile service providers.
From next month the unit is switching to a new system for handling recruitment campaigns and it is anticipated that use of the 0870 numbers will cease.