ONE thousand concerns reported about adults at risk of abuse went uninvestigated by Bradford Council’s social services, it has emerged.

Council bosses said they were only alerted to the major backlog of alerts after a new strategic director, Bev Maybury, took over the department in October last year.

Bradford Council has since had to spend £34,000 bringing in more staff to look into each of the potential abuse concerns, some of which dated back years.

And the independent chairman of an adult safeguarding board, Jonathan Phillips, said he had been “very, very concerned” when he heard about the situation.

Local authorities have a duty to make enquiries when an adult with care and support needs - often those with mental health problems, disabilities or the elderly - may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Councillor Val Slater (Lab, Royds), whose portfolio at the Council includes safeguarding, said she wasn’t aware of the backlog of concerns raised with them “until the new strategic director uncovered it”.

She said: “That was of concern to me and of concern to the leader [Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe], which is why we immediately put extra resources in to resolve the situation.”

She said she had been reassured that all concerns had now been dealt with, adding: “What has been established is that luckily, no-one came to harm because of the backlog.”

Mr Phillips, who chairs the district’s independent Safeguarding Adults Board, said he too had first been made aware of the backlog last autumn.

He said: “I was very concerned about it, but also the new director came in with a lot of energy to do something about it, so pretty speedily people were appointed to start getting on top of it.”

Mr Phillips said his board had no evidence that anyone had come to harm because of the backlog.

He said it had built up because an “understaffed” Council team had been having to prioritise which alerts to look into.

He said: “It was understaffed and part of that understaffing also meant there were problems in actually measuring the backlog and knowing what was going on.”

Councillor Jackie Whiteley (Con, Wharfedale), opposition spokesman for adult services, said she was greatly concerned by a "general failure in the Council’s system to safeguard a very large number of vulnerable adults in Bradford".

She said: “However, I am thankful that no one was actually harmed by the delay in their assessment but this failure is bound to undermine the public’s confidence in the Council.”

Before Mrs Maybury took on her role, assistant director Bernard Lanigan had been standing in as acting strategic director.

Mr Lanigan could not be contacted at Bradford Council yesterday and it is understood he has been on extended leave from his role for some months now.

Bradford Council has refused to comment on why this is, with a spokesman saying: “We do not comment on internal staff matters.”

The matter is set to be discussed by Bradford Council’s health and social care overview and scrutiny committee when it meets on Thursday.