Two civil servants were embedded in the troubled charity Kids Company for more than a year, it has emerged, as fresh allegations were thrown at the Government by the charity’s founder Camilla Batmanghelidjh.
Kids Company was forced to close earlier this week after allegations of financial mismanagement. It faced claims that it misspent millions of pounds of donations, including some of the £37m it has received from the taxpayer over the last 10 years.
The Financial Times reported that the Government assigned two civil servants to work in Kids Company’s financial team after evidence that the growing demand for the charity’s services was outstripping its resources.
The two civil servants, named by the newspaper as Deborah Lonnon and Alison Culshaw, were placed at the company from mid-2011 to mid-2012 in a bid to restore the organisation’s finances back to a more sustainable footing.
The Cabinet Office did not say whether the two government staffers had raised concerns over financial impropriety during the year they spent at the charity.
It comes as The Independent revealed that a multimillionaire Tory donor was involved in the campaign to persuade ministers to give a £3m grant to Kids Company, which was against the advice of civil servants.
James Lupton, who is the Conservatives’ co-treasurer and donated more than £1m to the party last year, is understood to have met with ministers on behalf of the charity as its financial woes deepened.
In the latest round of blows to be exchanged, Ms Batmanghelidjh said claims that ministers were unaware that the £3m grant to Kids Company was partly used for salaries were “not true”.
She was responding to reports that the Government’s decision to plug funding for the charity was triggered by the charity using government grants to pay staff.
She said: "I have in my possession an email exchange between us and the Government where they were fully aware we were waiting for their money to come for the salary to be paid.
"This £3 million was part of a repackaging grant so we would have to shrink Kids Company in order to make it sustainable. It is very disingenuous to claim they did not know."
Ms Batmanghelidjh claimed Cabinet minister Oliver Letwin had told her he would find £20 million for Kids Company.
She said: "Because I had warned everyone we would not be able to fundraise anymore because we had been charity of the year for practically every bank, we basically ran out of people we could go to."
Ms Batmanghelidjh also said she felt she was under attack because she was not a typical executive.
"Because I don't wear a suit and I don't carry a briefcase, I haven't sort of bought into the corporate packaging," she said.
"People assume, because I'm a woman and I work with children, that then I don't understand figures and I can't organise systems. Actually, if you really think about it, I organised with my team and we raised £163.4 million.
"That requires quite a lot of work and last year it came from 7,000 different sources. Administratively we must be pretty good to get that amount of money in."
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat