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Don't forget people without internet access, says former council leader
A PLEA has been made to ensure people without internet access are not "swept away" by council services going digital.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, the former leader of Worcester City Council, says many people have yet to get into the online world.
It comes as new details came to light showing how more and more taxpayers are shunning the telephone or face-to-face contact in favour of the internet.
It comes as:
- 84 per cent of applications for concessionary travel across the county are now done online
- A new self-service system of checking when the bins are collected across Wychavon and Malvern has been used 21,000 times in six months since the launch
- 32 per cent of blue badge applications, for disabled drivers, are now done online in Worcestershire
The rise in online services was debated at the Guildhall in a meeting of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee.
In recent weeks several senior council workers have spoken enthusiastically about putting more services online.
Coun Geraghty, Tory group leader, said: "I certainly support 'channel shifting' by getting people to do more online, but we've got to be careful, particularly about older people, and those who aren't able to go online.
"There are still a lot of people who don't use online systems and we've got to make sure we still think about them."
Julie Slatter, who is in charge of performance, innovation and efficiency at the council, said: "We are not proposing digital by default.
"It is important we still have services that are responsive to everyone's needs, and we know not everyone has web access."
She told the committee financial pressures means the council must "look to do things differently" and that would increasingly mean via the internet.
"In a challenging financial climate we do need to do things differently and that is what this is about," she said.
"People are doing things online now that would have meant a phone call to the council previously.
"More of these online services are being made available and people are responding."
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