Agenda item

Response to Councillor Question Asked at the Full Council Meeting on 20 October 2021

At the last Full Council meeting held on 20 October 2021 Councillor Eade asked Councillor Irvine (as Cabinet Member for Housing) a question regarding Lifeline machines:



What preparations does the Council have in place for the shutdown of the analogue telephone lines and the transfer to digital in the UK in 2025?  What preparations are being made for the Lifeline machines in the future and replacement machines for the residents that have them now, and how will it affect the telephone extension numbers?


The following answer has been provided:



Almost all of the Council’s telephony is digital and has been for some time.  There are a few sites where there are older analogue phones and these are being identified and dealt with at the moment as part of a review of all telephone connections and contracts.  There are also other analogue lines in use that will need dealing with – e.g. lines for alarms, lifts and some older sensor-type systems – these are being addressed as part of the new Town Hall programme.  Technologies have been designed that allow the digital connection into the building to connect to older analogue systems through an interface, converting from new to old.  All of the Council’s sites will need to be reviewed to assess this (multi-storey car parks for instance, for payment machines, lifts etc.) and the plan is to do so once the new Town Hall works are complete.


Lifeline’s telephone providers have confirmed that by December 2025 all customers will be using a fully digital telephone service.  For users in the home, either analogue or digital will work – when a Lifeline is installed it can either be plugged into the analogue system (the telephone box coming in to the home) or if the customer has a digital system the Lifeline can be plugged into the digital router.  A number of customers have already been switched over to the digital system and are using the existing Lifeline equipment so there is no need to replace the machines.  If a customer does not have a landline, which is becoming more common for those who only have a mobile phone, a Lifeline called a Smart Hub can be installed which has a SIM card to make the calls and connect to the Care Centre.


The Council continues to work with partners at Mole Valley Life (Care Centre) and Tunstall (Lifelines) who in turn have been working with the telephone providers to ensure that the switchover to digital is as seamless as possible for Lifeline customers.


In addition, Councillor Eade asked a supplementary question:


Supplementary Question:

Is the Council aware that West Sussex County Council has changed their supplier of Lifeline machines to a supplier called NAS.  The machines are being supplied to residents now using the analogue lines but will transfer to digital at the changeover in 2025.


The following answer has been provided:



Yes.  Since May 2020 NRS Heathcare provide Technology Enabled Care Services (Lifeline) in partnership with WSCC, and the NHS.