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Chorley wants its residents to do things digitally

Chorley Council wants more of its residents to make contact on-line.
Chorley Council wants more of its residents to make contact on-line.
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Chorley Council is set to deliver an increasing number of its services digitally - but has promised not to leave any of its residents behind.

Chorley Council is set to deliver an increasing number of its services digitally - but has promised not to leave any of its residents behind.

Over half of the public’s contact with the Labour-run council is now on-line, a meeting of the authority’s cabinet was told.

But one opposition councillor was worried what that statistic might mean for locals in the later stages of life.

“There are a lot of people out there, certainly of my age, who will never be inclined [to do things on-line],” Conservative Cllr Eric Bell told the meeting at the town hall.

Deputy leader Peter Wilson said the authority would continue to provide access to its services in more traditional ways, but that it was “clearly more efficient” when contact was made digitally.

Papers presented to the cabinet claimed that online transactions can be 20 times cheaper than by phone, 30 times cheaper than by post and up to 50 times cheaper than face to face contact.

Members were also updated on a plan to improve the digital skills of residents in the borough and provide them with easier on-line access.

Four council-run community centres have now been converted into digital hubs, offering free internet access and training sessions for anybody who needs them. Almost 350 people have taken part in courses in the last twelve months.

There are a further 26 digital access points dotted around the borough and the authority is working towards the introduction of free town centre wi-fi.

Meanwhile, council staff are also getting used to new equipment designed to make their jobs easier.

Workers now have access to mobile devices which help reduce paperwork - and keep them up to speed with changes to their daily list of jobs while they are out of the office.

“[The system] allows officers to stay in the field delivering services and not to have repeat paperwork when they return to the office,” Asim Khan, Director of Customer and Digital, told the meeting.

“If an officer is working on a particular job and some additional information comes in, the device knows who the file has been allocated to and it reroutes the [necessary] information to that officer,” he added.