The running of an Ayrshire children's home has been strongly criticised by the Care Inspectorate following allegations of abuse.

Inspectors from the watchdog body published their damning findings following an unannounced two-day visit to Woodside Farm, a two-home farmhouse complex near Coylton, in late March.

Managed by Paisley-based private care company Spark of Genius, the facility provides residential care for up to six young people.

The Care Inspectorate report said: "Within the past year there has been a serious concern about the conduct of a staff member towards a young person.

"There was initially a delay in reporting this concern to the police, and the staff member was first moved to another service for young people before being suspended and then having their employment terminated when a police investigation evidenced misconduct.

"The delay before taking appropriate action could have compromised the effectiveness of the police investigation and young people within the other service were placed at risk of harm.

"The way that this allegation of misconduct was handled showed a lack of confidence and clarity about child protection procedures."

The inspectors found the home 'weak' in the areas of supporting children and young people's rights and wellbeing.

They said: "Whilst we identified some strengths, these were compromised by significant weaknesses which impacted on outcomes for children and young people."

Their report added: "Some young people told us that there had been some occasions when the other young people living in the house have made them feel unsafe.

"Sometimes there was a tension between what the staff team assessed to be safe and what the young people's social workers thought was acceptable and in keeping with their rights.

"It was not clear what work had been undertaken with young people after incidents to repair relationships and to help young people to learn from difficult experiences."

The two inspectors also identified several 'significant' incidents that were not notified to the Care Inspectorate, or were notified well outwith timescales.

However they also had some praise for the staff and the home.

The report added: "Young people told us that their views were sought and listened to.

"The staff team were committed to promoting and supporting young people to spend quality time with their families.

"Young people's interests, talents and achievements were recognised and celebrated by the service.

"Although at the time of the inspection there were some young people who were not currently in education or work, the staff team were creative about finding positive ways to nurture talents and interests."

The report also made a number of recommendations over the future running of the home.

It said:"This should include viewing child protection procedures to ensure these are fit for purpose and comply with Scotland’s national guidance for child protection.

"Staff members should not be deployed to work with children where there is an allegation of abuse.

"The provider should inform the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Social Services Council timeously following an allegation of misconduct."

A spokesperson for Spark of Genius declined to comment.

Woodside Farm is one of nine facilities in Ayrshire run by Spark of Genius, while the company also has facilities in Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, Stirlingshire and East Lothian.