Kids Company: Scathing report attacks ministers for treating charity as a £46m 'special case'

MPs have criticised government ministers for the "staggering" decision to hand failed charity Kids Company more than £40 million of taxpayers' cash over 13 years, despite having no idea what they were getting for it.

In a scathing report, the cross-party committee accused successive governments of treating the charity as a "special case", and said it was "very sceptical" of the charity's "inflated" claims of what it had achieved.

It said government funding to KidsCo was "far in excess of grants paid to other charities", and noted an "obvious unfairness" in so much money going to an organisation which, for much of its 19-year life, only operated in two London boroughs.

£46m

the total amount Kids Company received from central government, local authorities and lottery bodies

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Kids Company, which was run by founder Camila Batmanghelidjh, closed in August just six days after receiving a £3 million grant in a failed final bid to keep it afloat.

Kids Company closed down earlier this year. Credit: PA

Despite Whitehall officials advising against the payment - which followed another of £4.3 million in May - ministers overruled them.

The new report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Commitee claimed government departments passed responsibility for the charity around "like a hot potato", and offered "insufficient scrutiny" of what it delivered.

7.3m

the amount given by the Government in 2015/16 - the largest of any financial year

It added that it was "particularly alarming" that the money was continually handed over for years without the charity ever demonstrating its methods could be applied elsewhere in the country.

So many other charities did not get the same support and it is clear that Kids Company received special treatment - to the detriment of other deserving charities around the country.

Meg Hillier, House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chair
Protests were held outside Downing Street after the charity closed. Credit: PA

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations described the findings as "extremely frustrating reading for the thousands of charities who have to submit highly detailed plans in order to have a hope of funding and who work very hard to produce honest and accurate assessments of the difference they make."

30%

of Kids Company's income came from the public sector between 2002 and 2013

Following the report, the committee has called for a review into the government's grant-making processes and urged ministers to improve monitoring and evaluations of charity payments.

A Government spokesman said: "The Government will consider the recommendations laid out in this report. The welfare of the young people continues to be our primary concern and we are now working closely with local authorities to make sure they have access to the services they require."

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