Pembrokeshire County Council’s scrutiny system has been labelled a ‘self-congratulatory tea party’ following last week’s scathing reports.

The issue of how officers shared information with councillors and the negative impact that had on members’ decision making were among criticisms highlighted.

The council’s Labour deputy leader, Kate Beckton said the overview and scrutiny function needed to be overhauled.

“The leader, cabinet members and members of the independent group seem to see their role as friends and supporters of senior officers. Shame on them,” said Cllr Beckton.

“Hopefully this reprehensible situation will mean a change, or will it?”

The council is run through the leader and cabinet system with council leader John Davies – also leader of the Independent Group – joined by seven fellow Independent Group councillors on the cabinet. No opposition members sit on the cabinet.

The idea is that the decisions of the cabinet are scrutinised by four overview and scrutiny committees which are also chaired by Independent Group members.

The majority of members on each committee are from the Independent Group.

Liberal Democrat member, Bob Kilmister, added: “The report highlights long standing concerns about the leadership and management of the council, especially the role of councillors in overseeing the actions of the council’s managers. I have said for some time that scrutiny of how the council works is not thorough enough.

“One of the problems is that those councillors leading the scrutiny process are from the same group of independent members that also provides the leadership of the council. This is not healthy and needs urgent reform.”