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The Service
Policies & Initiatives

Voice User Policy

This Policy is designed to standardize telephone usage across HFRS.

The guidelines below are basic standards governing all telephone usage. The following headings further explain the convention for specific telephone functions e.g. conference calls and voicemail.

Further Information can be found at-

General guidelines

  • Professional courtesy and good manners are essential at all times.
  • Avoid jargon
  • Aim to answer the call within 20 seconds.
  • Aim not to keep a caller on hold for more than 20 seconds.
  • Do not leave your phone switched to voicemail if you are confident there will be other staff around to answer it. They can use group pickup
  • Try to avoid callers reaching voicemail.
  • Ensure your voicemail message is personalized and where possible offer an alternative number that the caller can try.
  • Create an office policy for answering other people’s phones.

Making A Call

  • All Office phones have a default Class of restriction that will allow users to make calls up to National level including mobile phones.
  • If a User requires to call a number that is not a standard number e.g. International or a Prime rate Number then they will need to get their Line manager to Authorize this with the Telephone system administrator.
  • All other phones will be barred to internal calls only.

Answering the phone

  • The default time before a phone goes to voicemail is 30 seconds.
    • Some department voicemail times are longer.

An example of what to say when answering the phone

E.g. Good morning/afternoon, your name

Good morning, (your Location) (your name).

Voicemail messages

You should provide the following information in your message

  • Your name
  • An idea of how long you are unavailable for
  • Where possible an alternative contact number, mobile number or email.

‘Out of the office’ scripts: If you are away for a short time leave a short message

E.g. "Hello, This is (your name) voicemail. I'm unavailable just at the moment. Please leave a message after the tone"

If you are away for a longer time provide more information

E.g. Hello, you have reached the voicemail for (your name). I will be out of the office from (date) to (date). If you require immediate assistance please call (name) in (Department Name) on (Internal and external telephone number). Thank you for calling.

When you’re not at your desk

It is preferable to answer phones rather than letting the call go to voicemail.

  • If you are leaving your desk you can forward your calls to another extension or direct to voicemail.

NB Please seek permission before you forward your phone to a mobile.

  • Staff in a group office can create a policy to determine whether colleagues should answer each other’s phones (see group pick up).

(You may wish to develop an office policy to communicate when people will be back at their desks so colleagues may provide information to callers.)

Group pick up

It is recommended that stations/offices have their phones set up for group pick up. This allows other staff to answer other phones in the group from their desk.

When answering somebody else’s phone you should give the caller their name.

E.g. good afternoon/morning, Information Services Department, Barbara Windsor’s phone.

Call waiting

Should you receive another call while you are on the phone you will see the ID of the second caller appear on the LCD.

  • Decide whether you will take the call—if you don’t answer the call it will proceed to your voicemail after the default 30 seconds.

  • If you decide to take the new incoming call inform the first caller. You can ask them to hold or tell them you will call them back. Aim not to keep the caller on hold for more than 20 seconds.

Call shuttle

(moving between multiple calls)

  • Nobody should be kept on hold for longer than 20 seconds without providing an explanation.

Transferring calls

  • Tell the caller the name and department of the person you are transferring them to.
  • Aim not to keep the person on hold for more than 20 seconds.
  • Always introduce the caller to the person you are transferring to and give any necessary explanation.

Conference calls

There are two types of conference call:


initiator calls individual attendees to invite them, can be pre-arranged or spur of the moment.

Meet me conferences: pre-arranged by the conference initiator. Attendees dial in at a given time.

  • The maximum recommended number of participants in a conference is 8.
  • The conference initiator is responsible for:
  • Inviting attendees.
  • Ensuring that all attendees are aware of the name and position of everybody else is in the conference.
  • Conference calls should have a chair to conduct the meeting.
  • It is recommended that each person say their name before speaking.
  • Callers can use the monitor button to listen to a conference on speaker.
  • Care   should be taken that no confidential information is passed on in this way.

Private Use of Landline Telephones

There will be occasions when employees need to make short, personal telephone calls on HFRS telephones in order to deal with occasional and urgent personal matters.Where possible, such calls should be made and received outside the employee’s normal working hours or when they do not interfere with work requirements.HFRS landlines may be used for other types of personal calls providing the use is reasonable and that all calls are paid for. Please complete Service Form FM-2-7. Further assistance can be obtained from the IS Admin Department at HQ.

The use of HFRS telephones or voicemail systems for private purposes, which are unreasonably excessive or for HFRS purposes which are defamatory, obscene or otherwise inappropriate, may result in disciplinary procedures.

Where HFRS has grounds to suspect possible misuse of its telephones, it reserves the right to audit the destination and length of out-going calls and the source and length of in-coming calls.This would not normally involve the surveillance of calls but in certain rare circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to suspect serious misconduct.

Misuse of Voicemail

Breaking into the voice mail system or unauthorized use of someone else’s access code of mailbox may result in disciplinary procedures.


  • The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000

  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

  • Interceptions of communications Act 1985

  • Telecommunications Act 1984

  • Human Rights Act 1998

This page printed on 27 Jan 2015 at 05:43

For reference, the url of this document is:

© Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service 2015