A COUNCIL is set to spend £850,000 upgrading its digital customer portal to allow residents to report potholes, environmental and street lighting problems online.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's existing electronic system for accessing its services is coming close to its useful life.

Officials have now conducted a competitive tendering competition involving 23 suppliers to replace or radically upgrade it.

They have recommended the council's executive board meeting tomorrow night to approve spending £850,000 on improving and enhancing the system.

This will enable it to add easy online access to 'high-volume services' from environmental health department and integrate highways and street lighting into the online reporting process.

These includes pest control, dog wardens, fly-tipping, taxi licensing, selective landlord licensing, noise pollution, tip permits, food hygiene and reporting potholes and carriageway defects, drainage problems and street lighting failures.

A report to the executive board from Cllr Andy Kay, borough finance boss, estimates the move will save the council up to £135,000 a year after the upgrade.

It says: "The current system is going end of life leaving the council no option but to replace it.

"The project will enable the council to harness the opportunities that digital offers to drive improvement across services and customer experience.

"We will free up more face to face or phone contact time for our most vulnerable residents and those who are currently digitally excluded."