WEST Dunbartonshire Council’s communications and culture boss came under fire last week when the full council met to debate the local authority’s annual performance report.

Labour Councillor Gail Casey rounded on communications chief Malcolm Bennie after a report revealed they had dropped four per cent below the target they were set for 2017/18.

The report stated: “Overall satisfaction with council has deteriorated, further work has been identified to understand issues and causes of this deterioration and identify actions for improvement.”

Figures showed that just 69 per cent of residents felt the council communicated well with them, four per cent target set of 73 per cent.

Cllr Casey hit back: “To try and get a response from the council is not easy and for Malcolm Bennie to dismiss this is unfair.

“Sometimes it takes more than 10 minutes hanging on the phone before you get an answer.”

Figures were even worse for the percentage of citizens who agree the council listen to community views when designing and delivering services. Just 59 per cent felt they were getting value, eight per cent less than the target of 67 per cent.

Mr Bennie, hesitating to choose his words carefully, replied: “The contact centre is experiencing something of a blip at the moment with people moving around to different positions. The governance of the council should have no concerns.

“Things will resolve itself in time with support. The deterioration is only by four per cent, it is not drastic.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “I know you and your staff will address these issues. It is something that this administration takes very seriously and I will assure it is addressed.”

There was further bad news for the council when figures released this week showed that only 66.42 per cent of residents in West Dunbartonshire felt safe or very safe in their local community, well below the target of 98 per cent.

Mr Bennie said in the report: “This has shown a significant deterioration since the previous figure.”

The percentage of citizens who were satisfied with the council website was 99 per cent, massively exceeding the target of 85 per cent.