“The head of two adult safeguarding organisations has resigned, saying government cuts could lead to “a serious incident or death”.
The BBC has learnt Bob Spencer had “serious concerns” about the ability of both Torbay and Devon Safeguarding Adults Boards to deliver services in the face of “relentless budget cuts”.
He became chairman of the Torbay board in 2009, and the Devon board in 2013.
The government said it had provided councils with £3.5bn for social care.
In his resignation letter, Mr Spencer said he had seen how vulnerable people were “hardest hit” by the cuts to these agencies, and “with another four years of cuts, Devon and Torbay will struggle to provide a safe service”.
“We will, I fear, be facing a situation when services are reduced so significantly that those most vulnerable are at risk of abuse on many levels.
“Ultimately neglect, poor care and criminal actions may lead to a serious incident or death,” he said.
Safeguarding boards are statutory organisations which bring together councils, the NHS, and police, to oversee protection for vulnerable people, such as those who have learning disabilities or the elderly.
Mr Spencer said his decision to run as an independent candidate in the next election for the crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly acknowledged the “tireless” work done by staff and volunteers in the partnership safeguarding agencies.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said councils in England would have “almost £200bn to spend on local services” during this parliament, which it said was a reduction of “just 1.7%” annually in real terms.
A spokesperson for the department said: “By the end of this parliament local councils will be financed from local revenue, such as council tax and business rates rather than central government grant, which is something local government has spent decades campaigning for.”
Interesting to have an independent stand for police commissioner and one who has been at the sharp end of austerity cuts.
One to watch.