COUNCIL officials stand by the “facts” of their consultation of West Dunbartonshire residents, heard the budget meeting on Monday.

The survey had more than 2,700 responses, but questions were raised about how accurate the results could be given anyone taking part could self-declare their identities, such as where they worked or lived.

So the report of the consultation results recorded all 22 councillors took part.

Except Labour councillors Lawrence O’Neill and Gail Casey both said they didn’t. It was unclear if all others had.

Cllr O’Neill asked: “How are we certain that all 22 elected members completed the survey?”

Malcolm Bennie, corporate communications manager and the lead responsible for the consultation, said: “I’m not sure.”

Cllr O’Neill said: “You’re not confident, but you’re confident enough to put it in the survey [report].”

Mr Bennie said: “I’m confident about the figures in the survey. The figures are there.

“It’s up to council what you drew from that information.”

He added it was the first time the budget consultation survey offered an option to self-identify as a councillor.

Cllr O’Neill asked: “If more than 22 self-selected [as councillors], did they grey out after 22?”

Mr Bennie replied: “More than 22 could have filled in and selected to say they were elected members. It was 22. We have just reported the facts.”

Cllr O’Neill also asked how many surveys were abandoned, but Mr Bennie was not able to answer that. He said he had no concern about the sample size.

The report stated it was about three per cent of the population of West Dunbartonshire. The SNP stated in both their budget and during the meeting that they were listening to the public and Labour were not.

SNP council leader Jonathan McColl said: “[Labour] moved a budget that completely ignored the public and staff.”

Cllr O’Neill said: “We are here to represent 91,000 people.”