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We’re at an exciting time in Bolton for all things digital.

In 2021 we launched our Digital Programme to help us modernise the council, improve the services we’re providing, and support residents, businesses, and staff to get the training and support they need to be confident about going online.

We’ve made great progress already, focusing a lot of our efforts on improving things behind the scenes so that we can work more efficiently and deliver better services that are also more flexible. For example, we’ve made it possible to apply for a taxi licence online, including paying, which means that there’s no need for printing or bringing a payment into the One Stop Shop (although that option is also still available). We’ve seen lots of applications made outside standard working hours, which tells us that the online application process is more convenient for many of our taxi drivers. We now have integrated payment forms in place, so you can apply and pay for services at the same time for recycling bins, licensing, registrars, planning, and environmental services inspections, with more on the way.

See our full list of Online Services

We’re also working hard to move lots of other forms online, so that residents and businesses can apply for services and report issues through our website, rather than having to use email or paper forms, or phone in. Examples include school admissions, reporting a missed bin collection, planning services, licensing, highways and street cleansing.

My Life in Bolton, the directory of services available across the borough, including childcare, advice and information and a What’s On guide, is getting a big makeover. Over the coming months we’ll be making the information easier to find and ensuring it’s updated, working with partners across the borough to ensure we include the information residents need.

One of the areas that we’re really keen to develop further is supporting our residents and businesses to go online. Many people may struggle with things like a lack of confidence, the cost, if they don’t have a computer or other device, or need some training. Our Libraries and Museums Service has a dedicated programme of work to help people develop digital skills and gain employment. There is a scheme to help care leavers and those on low incomes access data packages and borrow devices. Our libraries also continue to provide computers that can be used by the public. The council is working closely with partners like Bolton CVS, Bolton College and University, Bolton at Home and others to make sure we’re offering support across a range of sites and make the most of our resources. More information can be found at: Bolton Digital, Employment and Skills (

We know that there’s a high proportion of disabled people who are digitally excluded, and one of the ways the council has been tackling this has been by working with AbilityNet. AbilityNet supports people of any age, living with any disability or impairment, to use technology to achieve their goals at home, at work and in education.  They do this by providing specialist advice services, free information resources, and by helping to build a more accessible digital world.

We’ve been collaborating with colleagues across Greater Manchester and the GM Mayor to lobby Government and share information about the telephone digital switchover. As a result, the deadline for lines to be switched over has been extended to January 2027 (from December 2025). All traditional landlines will need to move to a digital service. This change is being led by the telephone provider companies, but local authorities have been working hard to ensure that our businesses and vulnerable residents get the right support and information to help them switch smoothly. A key focus has been making sure that falls alarms and other devices that rely on phone lines continue to work after the switch.

These are some more of the key things we’re working on:

  • Assistive technology – to help people with care needs stay in their own homes for longer, for example providing falls alarms. The Helpful House, situated on Victoria Square in Bolton, has been set up to allow people to view and try out some of the assistive technology that is available to make life easier at home and avoid having to move to a care home.
  • Moving application forms online – so you can apply at a time to suit you and save yourself time and money by not having to print the form or post it to us.
  • Publishing more information online – you’ll be able to access a lot more information straight from our website.
  • Simplifying the ways you can get in touch online.
  • Working with infrastructure providers e.g. to deliver better access to fast internet across the borough.
  • Working with employers to look at required skills and provide training to residents to meet those needs.
  • Working with our partners to map out locations where residents can get online  using free WiFi.

Some of this work requires investment. It will also mean we’re saving money by making things easier and quicker for our staff and customers to do things digitally.

We continue to have ambitious plans to deliver our Digital Strategy, and this includes reviewing our work since 2021 and refreshing our plans to make sure they continue to prioritise the right things.