At least £46m of public money was handed to Kids Company despite repeated concerns raised by officials about the way the charity was being run.
The charity, led by its high-profile founder Camila Batmanghelidjh, relied on taxpayer funding and would issue public warnings about its future whenever there were concerns about the continued supply of government money, the spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), has found.
It was “unbelievable” that the money was handed over to Kids Company with “little focus on what it was actually achieving”, Meg Hillier, Public Accounts Committee chairwoman, said.
The NAO’s report found that Kids Company had received public funding for at least 15 years, with at least £42m in central government grants – including £28m from the Department for Education (DfE) and its predecessors – around £2m from councils and £2m of lottery money.
The report found that despite the huge sums being handed over, until 2013 the Government relied heavily on Kid’s Company’s self-assessments to monitor its performance. It was shut down in August, amid concerns that it was wasting public money.
Ms Batmanghelidjh was a figurehead for governments’ work with charities and the report noted Kids Company was able to lobby for funding whenever it seemed taxpayers’ money may be cut off.
The NAO “observed a consistent pattern of behaviour each time Kids Company approached the end of a grant term”. It noted that in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Kids Company lobbied the Government for a new funding commitment and “if officials resisted, the charity would write to ministers expressing fears of redundancies and service closures” and express these concerns in the media. This led ministers to ask officials to review funding options and then grants would be awarded.
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