Business – Phone change chaos warning

Finance directors risk chaos if they don’t ensure preparations are made for a major area code change next month, telephone operators are warning.

According to a consortium of operators responsible for the change, which affects six regions including London, Cardiff and Northern Ireland, unprepared finance departments risk losing their customer information. They also risk losing internal controls which prevent staff making unauthorised calls.

The new code, 02, will be introduced from 1 June, but it can be used with existing local numbers until the autumn. It has been introduced by OFTEL, the telecoms regulator, in response to the boom in UK phone usage.

Howard Sandom, campaign manager for the consortium, the National Code and Number Change, warned: ‘Accounts departments which log calls are in danger of losing control over what type of calls are being made.’

Another worry, he said, is that switchboards at present programmed to bar premium and international calls may let calls slip through if they are not properly prepared.

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