Plans to streamline scrutiny committees and the scrapping of area forums have been passed.

At a full council meeting this evening, Labour passed its plans to axe individual scrutiny committees in favour of one umbrella overview and scrutiny committee which covers all areas.

As a result of the changes, backroom staff who support the committees could be redeployed elsewhere or face redundancy.

As well as the changes to scrutiny panels, the council passed an amendment to the constitution to abolish area forums, and replace them with meetings organised by ward councillors.

This will result the loss of council officers at area forums.

Leader of the Opposition Councillor Terry Neville lambasted the amendment put forward by the council and said: “We cannot support this paper, I was very clear with the original paper at the annual meeting something we not support.

“We believe the changes are a weakening of the formal scrutiny processes. It was put forward as a saving measure which is not quantified in the original report and is not quantified in this amendment.”

However, leader of the council, Doug Taylor dismissed the notion of that the new amendment will reduce scrutiny.

He said: “Our objective is to have an efficient, effective and economic council and we make no apology for the need to make savings.

“The reality is that we must make savings, success is built on change. We will continue to scrutinise, scrutiny, we will have public meetings and scrutiny will be more effective.

“Ward forums will have consultation and there will be ward surgeries, local residents will be able to go to ward forums. There used to be seven forums, there will now be 21. The opportunities of engagement will be great.”

It was also agreed that three new ‘associate cabinet members’ would be appointed to the cabinet at a cost of more than £22,000-a-year in expenses.

However, Cllr Ertan Hurer labelled the description of the ACM’s given in the proposal as ‘complete gibberish’ and claimed the new members are being brought in to help strengthen Labour’s chances of winning Enfield North and Enfield Southgate seats in the general election next year.

In response to Cllr Hurer’s comments, Cllr Taylor said:  “There is a lot of criticism around ACMs which is rubbish. We are not the only council to have ACMs related to their cabinet but we want them to be spaced out.”