Over the last two years or so, various government departments and agencies and other public services have gradually moved away from using 0845 and 0870 numbers, mainly adopting new 0300 and 0345 numbers in their place. Calls to 03 numbers are always charged at the same rate as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and on mobiles.
DWP began introducing replacement 0345 numbers in March 2014, but retained many of their old 0845 numbers in parallel with the new 03 numbers. This was for the benefit of a small number of landline callers on odd tariffs where 0845 calls are charged at a discounted rate. Most people should have been calling the new 03 numbers, usually within their inclusive allowance, from day one.
During the past few weeks, DWP has started to switch off all of their old 0845 numbers. Within months, DWP will use only 0300 and 0345 numbers.
There is now no need to go looking for alternative numbers, no need to look on sayNOto0870 and no need to use an app. Just call the advertised 03 numbers.
Following Cabinet Office guidance issued in December 2013, most other government departments, agencies and public services have also made a similar move in adopting new 0300 and 0345 numbers. Some have temporarily retained their old 0845 numbers in parallel. Others have not. By July 2015, most, if not all, of those 0845 numbers will also have been switched off.
If an 084, 087 or 09 number is being advertised by a third-party website and is claimed to be a customer helpline for a retailer, trader, or passenger transport company, for a bank, for a government department or agency, or for a healthcare organisation, then the number is probably out of date or is fake. When you are looking for a telephone number, always refer to the official website of the organisation in question. More and more you will find this will be an 03 number.
@Ian i got a letter from dwp last week and it had the 0845 number to contact them.
Changing over thousands of phone lines is a big job and takes a while. Updating thousands of web pages, documents, forms, letterheads and the many other places these numbers are mentioned takes very much longer.
If you call one of the numbers that has been taken out of service you will now hear a message similar to:
"This number has changed. Please redial replacing 0845 with 0345. You have not been charged for this call."