A NEW policy has been agreed on the power balance between elected councillors and council employees.

West Dunbartonshire Council approved the “scheme of delegation” that determines who has final say over a host of local authority decisions.

The SNP-led administration said they were meeting a campaign promise and reversing power, while Labour wanted to go further and the Community Party claimed nothing would change at all.

Previously, the policy said anything that wasn’t reserved for councillors to decide would be “delegated to officers”.

Now it states everything is reserved for councillors unless specifically stated and day-to-day running of the council is left to officers.

Council leader Jonathan McColl told the full council meeting last week: “We, as an administration, are meeting one of our election pledges about changing the balance of how decisions are made.

“It’s the opposite of what’s there currently. We are changing that on its head. We are introducing an extra level of democracy to West Dunbartonshire Council, which I think is needed.”

New wording also means the chief executive of the council should consult the council leader “where clarification is required”.

Labour said they wanted the sub-committee to have the power to make changes to delegated powers, with possible special meetings to discuss issues.

Councillors sat on a sub-committee to determine the new wording but Councillor Jim Bollan repeated a position he had backed in June.

He told the meeting what they were proposing was “as weak as dishwater” and didn’t strike at the heart of power.

He said: “I’m disappointed but I shouldn’t be surprised.”

But Councillor McColl said nobody on the sub-committee proposed any changes to the existing power for officers. He insisted they were making a “huge change”.

The SNP motion passed by 13 votes to eight.