PLANS to name 'council champions’ sparked debate among Clackmannanshire councillors last week.

The SNP administration put forward nominees on Thursday morning, in line with current committee spokesperson roles. 

Council officers explained that many Scottish authorities have council champions for certain topics who provide an opportunity and platform for particular topics. 

For instance, the current spokesperson for environment and net zero was named as the council champion for climate change, while the spokesperson for health and social care was named as the champion of carers.

The administration based these nominees on the belief that the role of “council champion” overlaps significantly with the role of committee spokesperson. 

“The role goes hand in hand with our current roles as spokespeople,” Cllr Fiona Law, spokesperson for environment and net zero said.

However, the Labour member Kenneth Earle filed an amendment to create “shadow champions” to work beside the current spokespersons.

He proposed Scottish Green member Bryan Quinn as shadow champion for climate change, and he put forward Labour members Kathleen Mary Martin and Janine Rennie for the role as it relates to other areas. 

“We’re a small council,” Conservative member Martha Benny hit back. “We don’t have 80 or 90 councillors in the chamber. There’s only 18 of us. It’s crazy to have this extra level of bureaucracy.” 

Cllr Rennie then replied: “The intention of the amendment was to be helpful, but it’s not been read as that."

The “shadow champion” amendment was voted down, and the administration nominees were approved.

Committee spokespersons were approved as champions of relevant subject areas.

Provost Donald Balsillie will take up the role of Champion for Veterans and Champion for Armed Forces.

Ellen Forson, council leader, is now the Champion for The Promise and Champion for Equalities.

Cllr Graham Lindsay, who is the spokesperson for education is now the Champion for Children and Young People.

Cllr Fiona Law will add Champion for Climate Change to her role as spokesperson for the environment and net zero.

The Champion for Older People will be Cllr Jane McTaggart, who is also the spokesperson for Housing and Property.

And Cllr Wendy Hamilton, the spokesperson for health and social care, was named as the Champion of Carers.