A BID for an independent public inquiry into corruption allegations at West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) has failed.

Councillor Jim Bollan said the probe was needed after an Audit Scotland investigation largely cleared the local authority.

And he accused the council, as well as its SNP-led administration, of a "cover up" to shouts of "shame on you" from SNP councillors.

Auditors found procurement procedures were not always followed, there was systematic failure to follow policies and personal relationships with contractors were not declared.

They even asked council bosses to reconsider whether disciplinary action should be taken against staff involved. But managers stuck with their original decision and Audit Scotland accepted it.

In a heated council meeting on Tuesday, Cllr Bollan fought repeatedly with council chief executive Joyce White and drew warnings from the authority's chief legal officer that he could be breaching data protection rules and defaming some individuals.

Cllr Bollan has been pushing for more transparency over concerns about £9million in contracts awarded for roads and greenspace services.

He also alleged one tender was reduced over a project in Swindon Street, Dalmuir. Audit Scotland said it was a correction of an "arithmetical" error.

The council noted the Audit Scotland report and an action plan to improve future handling of contracts.

Cllr Bollan, in his attempted amendment before other councillors, said: "Council agrees to commission an independent public inquiry into the allegations of fraud and corruption by senior WDC officers.

"The three most senior officers of the six implicated and interviewed regarding this case should be suspended immediately, under the normal rules, pending the public inquiry reporting.

"Police Scotland continue to investigate this matter."

Read more: West Dunbartonshire Council corruption allegations report remains heavily redacted

Police have previously said they are looking at reports after previously issuing a statement that they found "no criminality".

A total of 72 per cent of contracts in West Dunbartonshire go through a tendering process, which the meeting heard was an improvement from years earlier when it was 44 per cent.

The target should be 90 per cent.

Cllr Bollan pointed out only seven contracts out of a sample of 27 jobs had been put to tender.

But there is no national benchmark or monitoring of that aspect of council spending, admitted Audit Scotland.

And council leader Jonathan McColl said there could be examples, such as when urgent and complex care packages are put in place for residents, where a lengthy tender process might not be appropriate.

One of the criticisms from Audit Scotland was that full details of the allegations and investigation were not passed to the audit committee. Its chairman, Councillor John Mooney, said elected members should have access to full reports as well as summaries going forward.

Cllr Bollan also asked why only one of six staff implicated in the scandal had disciplinary action considered. But council bosses, and Audit Scotland, couldn't even confirm the number because of data protection.

He said: "This council is in a crisis in terms of abusing financial regulations - every single department."

Joyce White said, as she has in previous meetings where the corruption allegations have come up: "We are on an improvement journey."

The SNP backed the council report, while a Labour amendment noting the effect on the council's reputation failed along with Cllr Bollan's.

Read more: West Dunbartonshire Council hears 'fingers in the till' tendering allegations

In a statement after the meeting, Jackie Baillie MSP said: “Audit Scotland’s report on the tendering and contracting of services at West Dunbartonshire Council is damning. It is clear that there are deep-rooted issues at the council and that there was a culture of officers not following procurement practices for a number of years, with the approval of senior management.

“It is staggering that in 2011/12 just 44 per cent of the contracts tendered followed the correct guidance on procurement.

“It is also clear that internal audit’s review of the issues was not best practice. Audit Scotland conclude that the review was lengthy due to a lack of timely co-operation from council staff and that members of the council were not updated during the investigation period.

“Members of the council are responsible to the people in West Dunbartonshire who elected them – it is now clear that the summary of findings presented to the audit committee in December 2018 lacked the level of detail required for members to effectively scrutinise the issues identified by internal audit. This is simply unacceptable.

“The council must adopt all of Audit Scotland’s recommendations immediately to ensure that they are providing best value for the public pound and local taxpayers.”