The disgraced children’s charity Kids Company is expected to close off all of its services today after it received an emergency “sustainability grant” from the taxpayer just last week.
The Cabinet Office released the payment at the end of June to stop Kids Company – which is one of the largest Children’s charities in the country – going bankrupt. It was paid on the condition that serious reforms were made.
On July 2nd BBC Newsnight revealed that the government was withholding a £3 million grant from the charity until the £90,000 chief executive Camilla Batmanghelidjh stepped down.
The government demand followed a series of increasingly serious allegations made against the charity, which culminated with a police investigation into alleged sex abuse, which the BBC exposed on July 30th.
Batmanghelidjh had announced she would step down. However, she e-mailed staff last week to say the government money would be used to pay staff, despite the Cabinet Office claiming the money was to be used for a “transformation and downsizing plan.” Sources have claimed that £800,000 was paid out immediately to staff.
In e-mails seen by the BBC, Batmanghelidjh allegedly wrote to staff: “I just want to let you know that we have just received our funding from the government and are processing payroll right now.”
— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) August 5, 2015
The Prime Minister David Cameron praised the Charity when he came to power, holding it up as a fine example of his so-called ‘Big Society.’ However, it began to be heavily scrutinized in February when an article in The Spectator exposed concerns about its financial management and questioned its claim to have to “reach” 36,000 children.
The Department for Education was so concerned that they had tried to stop its multi-million pound funding prior to the press attention, but David Cameron overruled this and the charity was paid.
Allegations continued to emerge after February’s revelations. Vulnerable children, some addicted to drugs, were handed money in envelopes and even sent on foreign holidays, it was claimed.
The Times found that a BBC executive, Alan Yentob, had secretly lobbied Treasury officials in 2002 over an unpaid £700,000 employment tax bill, after which a £589,000 write off was agreed in a secrete deal.
Jack Widdows, who left the charity in 2010, one of many staff members to resign, described Batmanghelidjh as a “South London Sepp Blatter”.
Iranian-born Batmanghelidjh was educated at the prestigious Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset. She was named in BBC4 Woman’s Hour 100 most powerful women in Britain in 2013 and awarded a CBE.