CONCERNS have been raised about the strain being put on Bradford Council's adult social care department - as figures showing the number of requests for new clients were revealed.

In 2014/15, the department actioned 29,305 requests for support for new clients - at an average of 80 per day. The numbers are less than in neighbouring Leeds and Calderdale, but almost double those in Kirklees.

Nationally, 1,846,000 requests were actioned at an average of 5,000 a day.

The Conservative group on the Council reacted to the figures by expressing concerns about the functioning of the adult social care department.

Councillor Jackie Whiteley, Conservative spokesman for Adult Social Care, said: "I am concerned regarding a combination of issues, including the number of vacancies amongst senior officers in the department. We have no strategic director and many of the department's other senior officers have departed in recent months, which clearly cannot be good for keeping the boat steady, let alone developing the service.

"We find ourselves in a situation where our officers are unable to cope with the need to conduct Deprivation of Liberty assessments, resulting from changes in the law, for hundreds of care home residents and children in Foster Care. At present we are behind on 500 assessments, with 80 to 90 per cent of these being classed as urgent. The care homes are being required to do the assessments themselves, which is far from ideal.

Cllr Whiteley added: "I understand that this problem is not unique to Bradford and that other councils are also struggling due to the legal changes, with some having contracted out doing the assessments, so I am not saying that Bradford has fouled up, but I am worried about the Adult Social Care Department's capacity to respond to important, urgent situations promptly, when so many key posts are currently vacant. This is a serious problem and a means to resolving it needs to be found as soon as possible."

Bradford's number is split into 21,000 people aged 65 and over, and 8,305 aged between 18 and 64 years. Of all those, 15,445 were signposted to other support, 6,810 received ongoing low-level support, 3,140 got short-term support to maximise their independence, and 3,910 received long-term support.

Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council's executive member for social care, said: "We currently only have one vacancy in Adult Services, which is for the Strategic Director, which we intend to fill by April 2016.

"As for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, the Cheshire West judgment , which widened the criteria for applications, has had a major impact on the workload of all local authorities and in Bradford has resulted in a ten fold increase in the number of applications.

"We take this matter very seriously and have already made plans to increase our capacity and prioritise applications, based on national guidance from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). We have increased our capacity and will increase it further as staff complete the necessary training."