It is staggering that the government has given over £40 million to Kids Company over the past 13 years and still has no idea what it was getting for taxpayers’ money. It was not part of this inquiry to assess the outcomes of Kids Company’s work. We object to the obvious unfairness of central government directly funding a charity which operated in only two London boroughs for most of its existence, with around £4 million a year, at the expense of other charities and young people across the country. Despite repeated warnings and concerns about Kids Company’s financial situation and the impact it was achieving, funding to the charity continued and was never seriously questioned, let alone stopped. Instead responsibilities were passed between departments like a hot potato. All the warning signs of a failed and expensive experiment had long been there but it was not until June 2015 that officials finally stood up to ministers, said enough was enough, and sought ministerial direction before providing more money. By then it was too late. Kids Company was a favourite of successive ministers but Accounting Officers have to make decisions, sometimes under pressure, to safeguard taxpayers’ money: in funding Kids Company for so long they have not served taxpayers or children across the country well.
Prepared 11 November 2015