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Appendix 'A'
Communications Strategy for
changing telephone numbers
to 0300 numbers
Date: January 2014
Author: Ginette Unsworth, Communications
Account Director
0300 number communications strategy
Background
The County Council's main telephone numbers are a range of 0845 lines. This has been the case
for the last 10 years. In 2012/2013 the Customer Access Service based at Accrington answered
777,497 calls which lasted for over 4 million minutes.
It is proposed that the council changes to using 0300 numbers, which from the customer point of
view would either cost the same as calling a local number, or a reduced or no charge as the 0300
number likely would be included in their telephone package.
Ofcom and the Government are supporting the introduction of 0300 numbers as an alternative to
chargeable numbers such as 0845.
Essentially the replacement of a 0845 number with a 0300 number would mean:



Calls to 0300 numbers would cost the same as calls to geographic numbers (starting 01
or 02) – for the customers.
0300 calls are included as part of any inclusive minutes, discount schemes or bundled
packages in the same way as geographic calls for customers, and will therefore in many
cases be free of charge to the customer. This applies to all types of lines including
landlines, mobiles and payphones and is typically not the case for 0845 numbers.
It is anticipated that government services will be actively switching over. Ofcom, DVLA,
HMRC and others have already made the move to 0300 numbers. DWP recently
promised the Public Accounts Committee they will shortly do the same. Other councils
are progressively also switching.
0300 numbers can only be owned by a public body e.g. the County Council.
There is a requirement to have a numeric number pattern for Services (e.g. 0300 123 67 xx).
Objectives

To communicate to all customers (public and stakeholders) the change of 0845
telephone numbers to 0300 numbers

To reduce the cost to the caller when contacting Lancashire County Council
Target Audience
The change of telephone numbers will need to be widely communicated to ensure that the
majority of callers benefit from the reduction in call fees. The main audience groups split into
the following categories:

Lancashire County Council employees and councillors – who will need to help change
templates, printed materials, websites and signs to communicate the new number

General public who use county council services

Organisations for whom we provide services – i.e. schools
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0300 number communications strategy

Stakeholders who co promote our numbers – i.e. district councils, emergency services,
partner organisations

Suppliers
Key Messages





The change in number to a 0300 number will mean a lower call cost for the majority
of callers, although this will depend on which phone company you are with, whether
it is a land line or mobile, and where you are calling from
Lancashire County Council has decided to change the numbers as Ofcom is pushing the
use of 0300 to drive down the costs of calling the public sector
The change may mean an initial inconvenience to callers, but they will benefit financially
in the long run
Anyone calling Lancashire County Council will still get through on either the 0300 or
0845 numbers and they will be run in tandem for a number of years until all calls via
0845 diminish
Lancashire County Council will not make any money from the change of number
Strategy and Approach
It is proposed that 0300 numbers replace all 0845 numbers at the same time to avoid any
confusion and make it easier to communicate. It is recommended that the switch over happens
from midnight on Thursday 27 March 2014 as this is a mid week date which allows for resource
should any trouble shooting be required.
The strategy outlined ensures that the new 0300 numbers are publicised four weeks in advance
to allow enough time for the public and stakeholders to realise a change is coming, but not too far
in advance so that it is easily forgotten. It is recommended for an unlimited amount of time
(depending on the number of calls still being received on the 0845 number) following the
introduction of the 0300 range, callers ringing a 0845 number would still be automatically
switched through to the Customer Access Service at Accrington. Callers will be provided with the
alternative 0300 number which they can ring instead of holding on the line, or they can stay on
the 0845 number they have dialled and be automatically switched through to the Customer
Access Service. There will be no charge to Lancashire County Council or the customer for
providing this switch through message service.
The communications approach will ensure that various channels are used to communicate the
new numbers.
LCC Staff and councillors
Team Talk
Items will appear in both the January and March editions of Team Talk to ensure that colleagues
are aware of the pending changes.
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0300 number communications strategy
Staff Notice
A staff notice will be issued a few weeks in advance of the change over to remind colleagues that
the number will be changing in March.
Internal contacts
The project team has drawn up a list of internal 'owners' of the numbers and this group will be
regularly updated on timings, progress and actions required.
C First
News items will appear on C First to inform councillors of the changes and timings to help them
inform members of the public.
General Public
Publications
There are literally thousands of printed leaflets, booklets, flyers etc that exist containing the 0845
number and the exact number across the council is not known. These materials would be
changed as and when stocks were depleted and where viable small stickers used to cover over
the old number. However, the sticker option may not be the solution to every printed publication
due to the resource required to put it on the printed material and this must be considered against
the cost of a reprint. It is also not absolutely necessary to use a sticker if the two telephone
numbers for a service are run in tandem for a number of years. With some stocks amounting to
17,000 copies still in store, it is recommended that the 0845 numbers are maintained for a
substantial amount of time depending on the number of calls being received.
Some documents will exist electronically and can be changed to the 0300 number in line with the
implementation date. There will be small design charges in some cases for the numbers to be
changed electronically.
NoWcards
There are 373,000 NoWcards in circulation in Lancashire, Cumbria, Blackpool and Blackburn and
all currently have the 0845 number on the reverse. Of these 255,000 have been renewed in 2013
and have a life span of five years. There are also 87,000 plastic wallets in stock containing the
current 0845 number.
The approach would be to replace the cards and wallets as and when they come up for renewal,
and to continue to use the 20,000 leaflets in stock which have a shelf life of 18 months.
Website
All web pages containing the 0845 numbers will be changed over the course of a couple of days.
A presence on the homepage will be created to announce the change.
Liveried vehicles
Approximately 250 vehicles are liveried with the 0845 number. The livery will be changed as part
of the scheduled replacement of vehicles.
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0300 number communications strategy
Highway signs
Road signage highlighting the Highways 0845 number will be replaced from the change over date
as and when required. The current stocks of up to 1,200 standard signs will need to be replaced.
Recycling centre signs
Each of the 15 recycling centre 'welcome' signs will need a patch replacement over the old
number, which will be replaced over a period of a month.
Media releases
A number of media releases will be issued across Lancashire to help inform the public of the
change. The issue of the releases will be timed around the January cabinet meeting, a reminder a
few weeks before the change and an announcement on the change over day. Depending on the
number of calls being received to the old 0845 numbers, a reminder in April or May will be issued.
Social media
A social media schedule for Facebook and Twitter will be put together to shadow similar timings
to the media releases.
Yellow pages/directory enquiries listings
New listings will be booked for the Yellow Pages and directory enquiries and including on-line
directories.
Organisations we provide services for
Schools portal
Various notices will be published to the schools portal to forewarn of the changes and announce
when the change happens.
Stakeholders and suppliers
Letter to stakeholders
A list of key stakeholders will be drawn from the chief executive and leader's contacts (approx 350
contacts) and a letter sent out a month in advance of the change of number. The standard letter
will be made available for colleagues across the organisation to email to their own stakeholders if
necessary.
Electronic templates
Electronic templates will need to be updated by colleagues to change the number from the
change over date. Templates will include electronic letters, invoices, application forms etc.
Email footers
A message will be included in the email footer of outbound emails for two weeks following the
change of the number, which will be mainly seen by stakeholders and partner organisations.
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0300 number communications strategy
Targets

To encourage 50% of calls to come through the new 0300 number by end of Dec 2014
This target is based on the results from the last telephone number change where after three
years, 60% of callers were still using the old number. This target is also based on the fact that
there are hundreds of publications already in people's possession containing the old 0845
number and the quarter of a million NoW cards issued this year have a shelf life of another five
years. For this reason a more long term target should be considered:

To encourage 90% of calls to come through the new 0300 number by end of Dec 2019.
Timescales
Proposed timescales 2014:
January
-
Cabinet to agree switch over date and timing
February
-
First media relations
February
-
Letters to stakeholders
February
-
Customer Access to request all new voice messages
March
-
Further media relations, social media, web page changes
March
-
Advertising if required. Go live 27th March
March - June
-
Update vehicles, signage and printed materials (if required)
Evaluation
The success of the communication will be measured through:
 Increase in the number of callers using the 0300 number
 Decrease in the number of people calling the 0845 number over the next 12 months
Contact Information
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or would like to discuss any
element of this strategy.
Name(s): Ginette Unsworth
Title(s): Communications Account Director
Tel: 01772 536002
Email: [email protected]
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