Council officers are drawing up plans to drag Bradford Council into the computer age in a scheme which could cost about £40 million.

The project, Bradford-i, will employ state-of-the-art technology to speed up services and make it easier for residents to interact with departments.

At yesterday's meeting of the Council's executive committee, members voted to give officers the go-ahead to develop their proposals and research funding possibilities.

The Council's deputy leader, Councillor Richard Wightman, said: "This decision shows the wind of change is blowing outside that window. It is going to mean a fundamental difference to the way we operate, the details of which will come at the contract stage. This decision is an act of faith that we are going to proceed in a new direction."

Officers are now investigating how new information communication technology could change the way the Council operates and how the technology will be paid for.

It is believed the overhaul will improve services, increase the responsiveness of the local authority and make it easier for residents to contact the various departments.

The new system will also help to make the Council more efficient, reduce work duplication and connect the 1,000 different lines of service it operates.

It is thought that capital and one-off investments will cover the majority of the cost and the rest can be picked up in Government grants.

Initial funding in the region of £25 to £30 million would have to be found, with top-up costs of an extra £9.5 million needed over the course of the seven-year programme.

But other members of the committee were concerned by the scale of the project.

Liberal-Democrat group leader Councillor Jeanette Sunderland said: "What concerns me is the size of the impact on the rest of the Council.

"I can't say how the money is going to be found unless there is a massive redirection in authority funding."

Councillor David Ward (Lib-Dem, Idle) described a report into the proposals as "vague" and "littered with jargon".

He said: "It is an awful lot of money to spend on this without knowing what the benefits will be."

Labour group leader Councillor Ian Greenwood said he supported the proposals but was concerned what the effect on staff would be further down the line.

But the Council's director of finance, Steve Morris, said: "This is about transforming how the Council works and how services are provided.

"If it isn't done some of our strategies will not be able to achieve their potential and the delivery of services will remain fragmented. We will also struggle to meet Government targets."

The committee's decision will be considered at the next meeting of the full Council.