A watchdog has outlined "serious and significant" concerns with a women's aid organisation that closed following allegations of bullying and strike action.

Glasgow East Women's Aid announced on March 1 it had closed, saying its priority was to ensure the ongoing support of women and children in its care.

Now the Care Inspectorate has said a recent inspection of the service uncovered serious concerns ranging from poor management of the "lengthy waiting list" for the service to record keeping, implementing child and adult protection policies, and staff not being registered with a professional body.

A spokesperson for Unite the union described the situation as a "murky story" and alleged that the charity had run out of funds. 

A spokesperson from the GEWA board said: "Following concerns raised by the Care Inspectorate, as well as other significant operational and funding issues, the board made the difficult decision to close the organisation after a thorough and exhaustive review of all options.

"This decision was taken with the wellbeing and best interest of the women, children and young people we support in mind." 

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: "An inspection has identified serious and significant concerns at Glasgow East Women’s Aid.

"We understand this is a difficult and distressing time for those receiving support and for staff at the service.

"However, our first priority is always the health and wellbeing of people.

"Because of our concerns we have issued an Improvement Notice to the service."

Linda Wilson, Unite industrial officer, said: "The news that the Care Inspectorate had identified serious and significant concerns at Glasgow East Women's Aid is a deeply worrying development but one which comes as no surprise to Unite. 

"For more than six months, we raised our concerns regarding the toxic culture of management at the organisation which in essence led to mass suspensions and dismissals."

"It was only through legal action did we force Glasgow East Women's Aid into reinstating five dismissed workers.

"It's a very murky story which is emerging and one which so far has no clear answers as to why the organisation was placed into administration.

"All we know at this stage is that it no longer had the funds to sustain its operations.

"Exactly why this financial situation came to arise, and so quickly, still has not been clarified but Unite will continue to seek the answers in support of the workers."

Glasgow East Women's Aid announced on its website earlier this month that it is to close permanently.

The charity, based in the economically deprived Easterhouse area of Glasgow, ran services for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

Last year the women's aid organisation ran into trouble when there was a mass suspension of staff and its offices were closed for more than six weeks.

Unite the union, which represents workers, balloted for strike action and five staff were then dismissed.

The Improvement Notice sets out a raft of areas of concern and gives specific dates for the charity to show improvement or lost its registration with the watchdog.

It states that by March 19, Glasgow East Women's Aid must ensure that there is a management structure in place which "provides managerial oversight, supervision, and accountability".

By the same date, the charity was told it must ensure there is a system in place to assess and prioritise referrals to the service and, in particular, demonstrate how the "outstanding and lengthy waiting list" for the service will be addressed.

Further deadlines for action of March 27 and April 10 were given to tackle problems with record keeping, child and adult protection policies and ensuring all staff are registered with a professional body such as the Scottish Social Service Council.

The Care Inspectorate spokesperson went on to say the Improvement Notice, which is now moot, given the closure of the charity, "sets out the significant improvements that must be made, swiftly, so that the support experienced is of a standard they have a right to expect."

He added: "We are communicating closely with partners including the relevant local authority to be assured that those affected experience appropriate support during this difficult time."

In October last year more than a dozen whistleblowers were suspended after making claims of bullying in the workplace.

Members of Unite lodged a motion of no confidence in the board and management and there was a mass suspension of staff.

A spokesperson for the GEWA board said, however, that all service users were still being supported and services, rather than staff, had been suspended and were on full pay.

The dispute led to a ballot for industrial action and Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said at the time whistleblowing staff had been "victimised".

The 13 Unite members who were suspended were women and children’s support workers who provide services for women and children fleeing and experiencing domestic abuse in Greater Easterhouse - one of Scotland’s most economically deprived communities.

Glasgow East Women's Aid further said its priority has been to ensure those who currently use its services, or may need them in the future, can receive the support they need.

The spokesperson added: "We have and will continue to liaise with partners, including the regulator, Care Inspectorate, funders, and the council.

"Our other priority has been to support staff through this transition.

"They have been offered support through the Employee Assistance Programme and we continue to be in communication with them and their representatives to help them through this difficult time."