The Kids Company, which folded amid controversy over its management in August, was given at least £46m of public funds, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The government consistently gave large payments to bail the charity out of problems, amid threats it would be forced to close without them.
In 2011, in particular, Kids Company received more Department for Education funding than any other charity.
The charity received widespread praise for the work it did with around 36,000 vulnerable children in London, Liverpool and Bristol and its profile was consistently boosted by the media presence of charismatic founder Camila Batmanghelidjh.
Kids Company’s senior figures have denied that management issues led to Kids Company’s demise.
A consistent pattern emerging
The NAO’s report says it recognised a consistent pattern of behaviour over a number of years, observing:
- Kids Company lobby the government for a new funding commitment. If officials resisted, the charity would write to ministers expressing fears of redundancies and the impact of service closures. Around the same time, Kids Company would express the same concerns in the media.
- Ministers ask officials to review options for funding Kids Company.
- Officials would award grants to Kids Company, whether through a wider grant programme or – from 2013-14 onward – as a direct grant award.
Helping vulnerable young people
Summarising the reasons that the charity received so much funding, the report said: “The government funded Kids Company so that the charity could deliver services to vulnerable young people.
“It awarded grants to Kids Company to support the delivery of services to vulnerable young people, replicate its model of service delivery nationally and ensure continuity of support to young people.
“Government records show that grant offer letters included a similar set of required outcomes for each grant between 2005 and 2014. In 2015-16 the Cabinet Office included additional requirements in relation to Kids Company’s financial management.”
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