23/09/2008

Super-complaint on the cost of calls made by prisoners | Ofcom

Super-complaint on the cost of calls made by prisoners | Ofcom

The National Consumer Council (“NCC”), The Scottish Consumer Council (“SCC”) and the Welsh Consumer Council (“WCC”), supported by the Prison Reform Trust have complained to Ofcom about the pricing of telephony services (mainly calls) for prisoners.

BT run telephony services for HM Prison Service Trust in England and Wales and Siemens Enterprise Communications Ltd run services for Scottish Prison Service in Scotland. Currently all other providers are locked out from providing any kind of services.

The complaint states the high cost of calls are unrelated to the cost of provision, the charges for the systems are high when the cost of ICT is generally dropping, the T&C's of the existing contract explicitly seek to prevent competition and that the contracts themselves are secretive.

Ofcom will ensure that NCC has presented a reasoned case for further investigation and if so it will further investigate and make a decision as what to do by Sept 22nd 2008.
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