Care homes were the source of nearly half of all complaints to inspectors in 2012/13, according to new figures.

The Care Inspectorate, Scotland's independent scrutiny and improvement body for care services resolved 1815 complaints about services over the year, with 884 or 49.1% relating to care homes.

Nearly one fifth - 18.1% - of complaints were about childminders and 15.7% were about support services. More than 1100 complaints were at least partially upheld - including more than two thirds of all complaints about care homes, over issues including poor health care, understaffing, management of medication or poor communications.

The figures are revealed in the Inspectorate's annual report, which provides an overview of the agency's work and the 14,231 services it regulates.

They show that in 2012/13 inspectors assessed 8835 services, an increase of 1,346 (15%) on the figure for 2011/12. Of the inspections carried out 5295 were unannounced (64%). This is more unannounced inspections than in 2011/12, although a greater proportion of inspections (68%) were unannounced in the previous year. All inspections of care homes for older people were carried out without warning.

The Care Inspectorate has had problems of its own over the past year.

In September, a staff survey carried out by unions representing inspectors and other Care Inspectorate workers revealed concerns about workload and plummeting morale at the Dundee-based care watchdog.

Carried out on behalf of a group of unions representing staff at the watchdog, the survey logged complaints about morale, workload and stress, as well as complaints about management, changing work practices and troubled IT systems.

The inspectorate's management acknowledged the findings and a partnership forum including staff, unions and managers is continuing to meet to tackle the problems the survey identified.

But the annual report shows that 92% of inspectorate staff feel that the work they do leads to improvements in care services.

Staff absence rates of 4.2% are lower than the public sector average of 4.5% the report notes.

The inspectorate has been more visible in moving to close failing services in recent months, with the Clachnaharry care home in the Highlands issued with a closure notice and BUPA's Pentland Hills care home in Edinburgh ordered last month to make urgent improvements or be shut down.

The annual report says care services receiving grades of three (adequate) or lower for all four areas assessed by inspectors are deemed not good enough. Overall 4.8% of all services inspected in 2012/13 fell into this category - up 1% on the previous year.

Overall 37 services were issued with improvement notices last year, including 10 which were threatened with having their registration cancelled, of which two were formally told to close.

Annette Bruton, the Care Inspectorate's chief executive said: "Almost everyone in Scotland will use a care service at some point in their lives. Most care services perform well, but we do not hesitate to act where we have concerns.

"We focus our inspections on the areas of greatest risk. That means gathering and assessing intelligence about individual services and adjusting our work accordingly," she said.

Ms Bruton said the inspectorate had a role in letting the public know what is happening in the sector, as well as simply inspecting and regulating services. The annual report was part of this, she said.

Ms Bruton added: "We focus our inspections on the areas of greatest risk. That means gathering and assessing intelligence about individual services and adjusting our work accordingly."

One area of future change in the inspectorate's work will be a greater focus on partnership working, given the Scottish Government's legislative push towards integration of health and social care.

Ms Bruton said: "There are major changes on the horizon for the care sector, including the integration of health and social care and the implementation of self-directed support.

"As legislation and policy changes support new ways of working, it is essential to ensure the quality of care provided in Scotland continually improves.

"Regulation of itself does not guarantee quality, but is an essential ingredient of it - along with quality standards, better self-evaluation and a real focus on outcomes for people who use services."