Four scrutiny panels have been axed in Kirklees.
But the decision didn’t win the support of all the councillors with both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposing the plan.
Changes approved by 40 votes against 24 will see four committees axed, saving £32,000 a year.
It will leave a single committee, plus a health committee, to scrutinise the work of the council and Cabinet decisions.
But it didn’t go down too well with Conservative Clr Ken Sims who said it “relegated scrutiny to tokenism” while his party colleague Clr Nigel Patrick added: “This proposal will kill the scrutiny process in Kirklees. It isn’t about saving money but the administration controlling scrutiny.”
The previous cross-party system costs around £90,965 per year – £38,360 in allowances and £52,605 in core costs.
The new system will see allowances reduced to £24,203 and core costs reduced to £34,258. It would remain a cross-party committee with one councillor from each party represented on Kirklees Council.
Clr David Ridgway (Lib Dem) said his party also opposed the plan, describing it as a “stitch-up” that does nothing to promote democracy.
Clr Molly Walton (Labour) told the complainants they lacked experience of scrutiny and that it shouldn’t be used as a tool to embarrass the council or Cabinet, adding: “The last few years it has lost its focus, it’s beginning to be used as a party political tool. I am sickened it’s been demeaned to this.”
Council leader Clr David Sheard said all leaders had the opportunity to comment on the proposals before Wednesday’s Annual Council meeting, but his Conservative opponent, Clr Robert Light, said scrutiny would become a “four man club” under the new proposals.
A single Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee will be formed, plus a new dedicated Health Committee. Where specific issues arise, ad hoc scrutiny panels could be formed.
It may mean a greater workload for the four-member committee, plus more frequent meetings.