5 Aug 2015

Cameron ‘personally ordered’ payments to Kids Company

Dominic Cummings, the former adviser to Michael Gove when he was Education Secretary, has given me his full account of how David Cameron personally intervened three years ago to ensure the government carry on funding the controversial charity Kids Company.

This was despite advice from Gove and education officials that funding should stop, and came after the Kids Co founder Camila Batmanghelidjh made a personal appeal to the PM.

Cummings told me today: “Officials came to me and the private office, and said: ‘Here are our concerns.'”

“I had a look at them and discussed things with officials. It was clear that Kids Company should get no more money unless they radically changed their financial management.

“We went through it all with Michael who made the decision they would get no more money.”

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“She (Camila Batmanghelidjh) wrote to Cameron.

“Cameron’s office then told our Private Office that the Prime Minister personally ordered that the money be paid. He was worried about the media.”

“The money was sent.  This was in the period 2011-12.  It rumbled on.

“She knew No.10 would give the money, so Kids Company never got a grip.”

“In the second half of 2014 came the next round of funding.

“Officials tried again to stop it and Cameron again said ‘Give them the money.'”

“Camila went directly to Cameron and it was his decision to overrule officials.  That was why the funding went ahead.  If it had been just an official in No.10 we would have ignored them.”

“This is not an aberration – things like this happen every week in Whitehall because the system for taking decisions about taxpayers money is broken.”

Downing Street have denied Cummings’s account.  They say it does not represent how decisions are made in government.