We’re at an exciting time in Bolton for all things digital.
Over the last few months, we’ve been developing a digital plan to help us do things like modernising the council, improving the services we’re providing, and supporting residents, businesses, and staff to get the training and support they need to be confident about going online.
We have a big programme to deliver, and have already made great progress, so far mostly behind the scenes to get our set-up right. It means that you’ll be able to use our services more easily and flexibly in the future. One example is online payments – we’ve been setting up our systems to take payments digitally and, by Spring 2022, you’ll be able to pay for a replacement bin or for a taxi licence application online, with other services following. This might seem a long way off, but we want to make sure that we get everything set up right to run smoothly.
There’s also been a lot of work going on to support digital inclusion – helping people to get online who currently aren’t, maybe because of the cost, not being confident or not having a device. Our Libraries service has been running training to help residents build skills, knowledge, and confidence. We’re also working with Bolton College, Bolton at Home, Bolton Community and Voluntary Service (CVS), and other partners to develop a support programme for residents to access devices and develop digital skills that local employers are looking for, and to help them access services online.
We also have the opportunity to reach out to organisations such as AbilityNet.
AbilityNet support 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 helpng to build a more accessible digital world.
These are some of the key things we’re working on, and we’ll be adding lots more over the coming months.
- Assistive technology – to help people with care needs stay in their own homes for longer, for example providing falls alarms.
- 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.
- We’ll simplify 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.
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.