SNP accused of avoiding accountability after key appointment is made from within

The previous convener of North Lanarkshire Council’s audit and scrutiny committee has attacked the SNP administration for appointing a party member to the role instead of an opposition councillor.

Denis
Denis

Scottish Conservatives depute leader Meghan Gallacher, formerly a councillor and audit and scrutiny convener at NLC during the previous Labour administration, says that by selecting one of its own members for the role the SNP is avoiding accountability for its decisions.

Audit Scotland recommends audit and scrutiny panels are led by a councillor who is not a member of the administration and is calling for Kilsyth SNP councillor Denis Johnston to be replaced as the party has admitted this was “not fully compliant with best practice.” When announcing the convenership the SNP group also pledged to review this position in future.

Ms Gallacher said: “I was proud to serve as the Chair of Audit and Scrutiny in the last term as an opposition member. It wasn’t without its challenges though. However, I was undeterred in fulfilling my key role in scrutinising the policies and decision-making of the then Labour administration.

“This makes it all the more galling for me to see that long-held process ripped up by SNP members who have appointed one of their own councillors to chair this committee. It is all too typical of them wanting to avoid scrutiny on their decisions so they have parachuted in one of their own members to try and avoid that. It’s the worst possible message for the new administration to send out to the people of North Lanarkshire. The SNP should reverse this decision immediately and appoint a new chair to this committee from the opposition benches.”

An SNP group spokesperson said: “It’s ironic that Meghan Gallacher, who enjoyed a salary as Audit and Scrutiny Committee Convener during her time in council, whilst propping Labour up in administration, is now expressing faux outrage after the fact. Meghan Gallacher should focus on ‘getting on with her day job’ as a Member of the Scottish Parliament rather than obsessing with anti-SNP rhetoric

“Our logic is clear - we have committed to transition to appoint a Convener from the Main Opposition Group in line with a review mid-term recognising our desire to fulfil best practice.”