1x - Social Services

105: Power cut notification

If the power has been cut, people can call 105 to report the power outage to their electricity network operator. This easy to remember number provides people with easy access to their provider.

111, 112: Emergency services numbers

The UK uses two free emergency numbers—999 and 112. 112 is the UK standard, which can be used in all member states of the EU. These numbers are free to call from any landline or mobile and they are used to contact all emergency services, such as police, fire, ambulance, and the coast guard. There is also the 101 chargeable number that can be used for non-urgent crimes and has been in use since 2012, and the 111 non-emergency line to NHS.

116 numbers

Six-digit non-geographic numbers starting with 116 are for public assistance telephone services. The long-term intention of these numbers is that they will be in use across the EU to create a cohesive way to call numbers deemed an important social service no matter what country in the EU you’re in. The EU determines the type of service that is provided on numbers starting with 116, while the individual service providers using the numbers are selected by the national governments.

These numbers have been allocated from early 2010 when the 116 number ranges came into use for social helplines. The first three 116 numbers were allocated for the following services:

116 000: a hotline for missing children

This line takes calls concerning missing children and passes them on to police services and offers guidance to and support people responsible for missing children, and helps support the investigation. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nationwide.

116 111: child helplines

This service is provided for children that are in need of care and protection. It helps link them to resources that can provide them with a place to express concerns, talk about issues affecting them such as bullying or other issues, and also give them the opportunity to contact someone in an emergency situation. While it’s not mandated that these services be available 24 hours day, 7 days a week, the service provider is mandated to make information about availability publicly available, clear, and easy to understand.

116 123: emotional support helplines

These lines are available to people needing to connect with another person to discuss serious emotional issues without worrying about judgment. They can offer emotional support to people feeling deeply lonely, going through a psychological crisis, or who may be contemplating suicide. Like child helplines, the lines do not need to available 24/7, but it does need to be clear when they are available or when they will next be available.

118 numbers - not free

118 numbers are directory inquiry numbers. These numbers allow people to find a specific telephone number related to business or government entity. However, the cost of calling these numbers has risen sharply in recent years and many users don’t realize the cost of calling the number or that they had another alternative. For this reason, Ofcom placed a price cap on these numbers and ruled for more transparency.

The cost of calling directory enquiry numbers (starting 118) is made up of two parts: an access charge going to your phone company, and a service charge set by the organisation you are calling.

The service charge can vary depending on the directory enquiry service you call, and it’s worth shopping around to find the lowest price. As of 1 April 2019, 118 service charges are subject to a cap, which means 118 companies must not charge more than £3.65 per 90 seconds of a call.

Calls can include a one-off connection charge and then a separate per minute rate – this also varies depending on the service. For example, some providers may charge around £2.50 as a one-off charge and then an additional per-minute charge of around 75p a minute.

The access charge – which is additional to the service charge – will vary depending on your phone company, and can range from 8p to 65p per minute. Choose a provider from the table below for more information on their pricing.

Caller’s ProviderAccess charge (per minute)Service charge (per minute)
Asda Mobile8pSee above.
BTBetween 0p and 30p, depending on call plan
EEBetween 11p and 65p, depending on call plan
Giffgaff25p
Kcom12p
Lycamobile23p
O255p
Plusnet9.58p
Post Office14p
Sky15p
Talk Mobile15p
TalkTalk12.5p from landline
25p from mobile
Tesco Mobile25p
Three45p
Virgin Media36p for pay-as-you-go customers
58p for pay monthly customers
Vodafone45p for pay-as-you-go customers
55p for pay monthly customers
Zen Internet11p

123 number

Since the mid-1990s, people have been able to dial the number 123 to get access to a speaking clock in Britain. There are also some mobile phone companies that allocate other services to ‘123’—like voicemail and customer services.

Automated services and access codes

There are a handful of shortcodes beginning with the number ‘1’ that is reserved for mobile service providers’ own functionality. Telecom providers use numbers like 141, 1470, 1471, 1475, 1477, 1571, and 1572 for uses like call return, voicemail service, and other uses.

Public communications network numbers not available for allocation

There are a series of codes starting with the number ‘1’ that is not available for allocation because they are in use without allocation to an individual communications provider or the number is part of a numbering range that was once permitted to be allocated but has since been withdrawn.

Here is a brief explanation of some of these numbers:

Other UK Phone Codes