A new chair said electors would “sort out” councillors who don’t attend meetings after a report revealed 40 per cent of scrutiny committees were called off last year.

Cllr Austin Roberts, newly installed chair of Conwy county council’s finance and resources overview and scrutiny committee made the remarks on Monday.

A report into scrutiny committee performance had revealed 40 per cent of meetings were called off in just 10 months.

Scrutiny committees examine the council’s business and hold the authority to account on its actions and its plans.

Plaid Cymru councillor Roberts, who represents Eglwysbach, said: “I am a councillor who is conscientious.

“I find some councillors aren’t and it’s up to the public at election time to sort those councillors out.”

The study showed attendance had improved overall between April 2019 and March 3, 2020, before the pandemic was declared.

However social care and health scrutiny meetings saw attendance from councillors fall from 68 per cent in 2018-19 to 59 per cent the following year (up to March).

It also saw the worst performance in meetings going ahead, with only five taking place out of nine on the calendar.

Cllr Ann McCaffrey (Capelulo ward) said she was concerned at how few meetings had been planned by some scrutiny committees.

She said: “When you reflect back for the year there doesn’t seem to be a lot of education scrutiny planned (eight meetings) and two of those were cancelled.

“Also in social care four meetings out of nine were cancelled.”

Out of 35 scrutiny meetings arranged to discuss council business 14 (40 per cent) didn’t go ahead up to March 3, 2020.

That was a far worse performance than the previous year, when only four meetings out of a possible 55 didn’t take place when they were supposed to.

However attendance in economy and place, education and skills and finance and resources scrutiny committees were all above 75 per cent, an improvement on last year’s turnout.

One positive note, according to head of democratic services Sian Williams, was how remote meetings had seen a rise in attendance including by councillors not even on the committees since the pandemic was announced.

She added: “The committees will meet if items have been put forward for scrutiny.

“It there isn’t anything substantive to put on the agenda that’s a reason to cancel the meetings.”

Cllr McCaffrey added: “I think we all should reflect back because with education I do wonder why we have only felt the need to meet six times.

“I certainly think we should be looking at that.”

Ms Williams said if there was significant absenteeism from a particular councillor, group leaders should look at whether they were the “right member” to be on that committee.