Harmonised service of social value
A harmonised service of social value is a type of freephone service available in the European Union, which answers a specific social need, in particular which contributes to the well-being or safety of citizens, or particular groups of citizens, or helps citizens in difficulty. The phone numbers and the corresponding service descriptions are managed by the European Commission and harmonised across all EU member states. Harmonised services of social value use the prefix 116, which is then followed by exactly three digits indicating the type of service.
After the commission has assigned a number, it is then up to the telephone regulator in each country (such as Ofcom in the United Kingdom) to allocate the number to a telephone service provider and providing organisation of their choice. The first telephone numbers to be allocated are 116000 (missing children helplines), 116111 (child help lines) and 116123 (emotional support helplines).
As of March 2010, the following numbers have been assigned by the Commission:
|116000||Hotline for missing children||The service (a) takes calls reporting missing children and passes them on to the Police; (b) offers guidance to and supports the persons responsible for the missing child; (c) supports the investigation.|
|116006||Helpline for victims of crime||The service enables victims of crime to get emotional support in such circumstances, to be informed about their rights and about ways to claim their rights, and to be referred to the relevant organisations. In particular, it provides information about (a) local police and criminal justice proceedings; (b) possibilities of compensation and insurance matters. It also provides support in finding other sources of help relevant to the victims of crime.|
|116111||Child helplines||The service helps children in need of care and protection and links them to services and resources; it provides children with an opportunity to express their concerns, talk about issues directly affecting them and contact someone in an emergency situation.|
|116117||Non-emergency medical on-call service||The service directs callers to the medical assistance appropriate to their needs, which are urgent but non-life-threatening, especially, but not exclusively, outside normal office hours, over the weekend and on public holidays. It connects the caller to a skilled and supported call-handler, or connects the caller directly to a qualified medical practitioner or clinician.|
|116123||Emotional support helplines||The service enables the caller to benefit from a genuine human relationship based on non-judgemental listening. It offers emotional support to callers suffering from loneliness, in a state of psychological crisis, or contemplating suicide.|
The number 116112 will not be used in order to avoid confusion with the single European emergency number 112. In addition, the number 116116 is in use in Germany (see below).
A reservation by the Commission obligates Member States to make the numbers available for registration by interested parties. However, the listing of a specific number and the associated harmonised service of social value does not carry an obligation for Member States to ensure that the service in question is provided within their territory.
Each service is now available in at least part of the EU. The 116117 medical assistance line is the least-widely implemented so far, having only been activated in Austria and Germany. By contrast, the 116000 missing children line is active in 27 countries and the 116111 child helpline is available in 22 countries.
|France||Centre Français de Protection de l'Enfance||Unassigned||Unassigned||Unassigned||Unassigned|
|Germany||Initiative Vermisste Kinder||Weisser Ring||Nummer Gegen Kummer||Die Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung||TelefonSeelsorge|
|Ireland||ISPCC||Crime Victims Helpline||Unassigned||Unassigned||Samaritans|
|Spain||Fundación ANAR||Fundación ANAR||Unassigned||Unassigned||Unassigned|
|United Kingdom ||Missing People||Unassigned||ChildLine||Unassigned||Samaritans|
In 2004, Germany's Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Postal Services (now Federal Network Agency) awarded the number 116116 to Sperr e.V., a non-profit organisation that would forward reports for lost credit and debit cards, SIM cards and key cards. This assignment predates the establishment of the Commission's registry.
On 20 February 2009 the United Kingdom's telephone regulator Ofcom began its allocation process. Missing People were awarded the number 116000; the NSPCC were awarded 116111; and The Samaritans were awarded 116123.
- "Harmonised European numbers for services of social value: Allocation and charging arrangements for 116 numbers in the UK". Consultation Statements. Ofcom. 2009-02-18. Archived from the original on 2009-03-30.
- "Ofcom makes two new 116 helpline numbers available". Statements. Ofcom. 2010-10-01. Archived from the original on 2010-08-05.
- "Commission Decision 2007/116/EC of 2007-02-15 on reserving the national numbering range beginning with 116 for harmonised numbers for harmonised services of social value". European Union.
- "Commission Decision2009/884/EC of 2009-11-30 amending Decision 2007/116/EC as regards the introduction of additional reserved numbers beginning with 116". European Union.
- "Current Digital Policy". European Commission.