Our criticism of Durham County Council for using 0845 contact numbers met with the following response:

Peter Appleton, head of planning and service strategy for children and adults services at Durham County Council, said: “The phone number used by the First Contact Service is an existing one, which people already ring to get information about support for both children and adults.
We began using this 0845 number several years ago when these numbers represented the best value for money for residents as they were charged at a local rate.
As charging for these numbers has changed we are now moving away from using 0845 numbers and are currently reviewing those which are still in operation.”