The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the charity Kids Company after it spectacularly imploded earlier this month amidst allegations of mismanagement and sexual abuse.
The inquiry will address concerns about the administration, governance and financial management of Kids Company and identify wider lessons for other charities and trustees.
A statement released on Friday night by the commission outlined the terms of the inquiry. It said, in part:
‘In light of the intense public scrutiny and speculation over the charity’s activities, and the increasing number of allegations in the public domain about its governance and financial management, the commission has now formalised its engagement in a statutory inquiry in order to investigate and put on the public record whether or not these allegations are found to be true. This is in line with the regulator’s duty to promote public trust and confidence in charities.’
The announcement came just hours after a separate investigation revealed Kids Company, founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh, hugely exaggerated the number of high-risk young people it was helping. The failed charity publicly claimed to be helping 16,000 high-risk people, but new claims reveal the number may be lower than 500.
According to BBC Newsnight, Kids Company handed over the details of just 1,692 adults and children in London, including 331 designated as high-risk. Bristol City Council was given details of a further 175 clients.
Even if all the Bristol individuals were high-risk, the charity would have been in charge of only 506 high-risk clients – just 3 per cent of the 15,933 high-risk individuals Miss Batmanghelidjh identified earlier this month.
A ‘high-risk’ client is someone under the age of 21, who is from a low-income family, or at risk of abuse, neglect or psychological damage.
A senior figure who used to work at Kids Company said the discrepancy was down to timing. The charity would have looked after about 16,000 high-risk individuals over the course of a year, but the figure was much lower at the moment ‘because you can have clients who move from medium to high risk in a matter of days’, the source said.
According to the Daily Mail, the damning new evidence emerged as it was claimed that the Cabinet Office expects to lose £1.2million of taxpayers’ money that it gave to Kids Company earlier this month.
The government initially withheld the funding amid concerns over financial mismanagement. It eventually relented, but regretted the decision after the police opened an investigation into Kids Company over allegations of sexual abuse.
Meanwhile Miss Batmanghelidjh yesterday attempted to relaunch part of the charity as some former volunteers started a ‘pop-up’ food bank in South London. They opened the Kids Dining Room near Loughborough Junction station.
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