You cannot have failed to notice the recent furore over Kids Company and its financial mismanagement. It is hard to see why a charity with such varied support – from the Prime Minister, to Prince Charles, to Coldplay – could have run into such financial difficulty. That is, of course, until you start looking closer.
Kids Company has clearly done good work. But its reputation has been permanently damaged by its operating practices. The charity has already received over £25 million from the government, despite a lack of evidence as to what precisely that money had funded.
At one stage, Ms. Batmanghelidjh had five personal assistants. After the recent grant of £3 million from Whitehall, £800,000 was immediately used to pay staff, despite strict instructions from the Government that this was not what the money was to be used for. Whitehall has understandably requested they return the full sum.
Shocking reports have emerged, with one visitor to the project, Harriet Sergeant, describing how she had seen children receiving sums of between £50 and £200 in cash: given to them in ‘brown envelopes’. With operating procedures such as that, it is easy to see why the money soon ran out.
The charity has described their closure as “dangerous and irresponsible”. I would instead argue that it was their operating procedures which were irresponsible, offering no sustainable plan for the existence of their organisation in the long term.
Theodora Dickinson is a member of the Conservative Way Forward Organising Committee.
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