What is Kids Company?
Founded in 1996 it helped children affected by poverty, abuse and trauma in London and Bristol. It was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh. Originally a single drop-in centre in Camberwell.
By 2015 the charity claimed to have been reaching 36,000 children, however this number is disputed.
How much taxpayer money have they been given?
Had already received a grant payment of £4.3m for 2015-16
The charity received £46 million of public money over 15 years. An average of over £3million a year.
£44 million came from central government, with £28 million coming from the Department of Education.
Another £2 million was awarded from Local Government grants and £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund and its predecessor.
*A further £458,000 was paid to Kids Company by the Home Office in 2002 and 2003
When was the last payment?
In June 2015 there was a ministerial decision to tell the Cabinet office to grant them £3m extra funding. The charity had already received a grant of £4.3 million for 2015-16. By August they had closed.
Where did the money come from?
The first big central government grant came from the Home Office in 2002. Until 2013 the Department of Education was the big funder, then the Cabinet Office took over from 2013 until it closed in August 2015.
Other departments contributed to government wide, central grants.
Staff from both the department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Education were seconded to the charity of a cost of at least £53,000 to the DWP.
In 2003 the HMRC also wrote off £590,000 tax debts.
Did Kids Company get preferential treatment?
This is difficult to answer as they were providing some unique services, but certainly it was given far more money than other charities in the sector.
In fact it received more money from the DfE than any other charity in the country. In 2008 Kids Company received 20% of the available funding for the grant programme; the remainder was shared between 42 other charities.
In 2011 Kids Company received more than twice the amount received by any other grant recipient.
Moreover the National Audit Office has identified a “pattern of behaviour” from Kids Company which they employed to counter any resistance to further funding.
The charity lobbied Government and would make sure that these same concerns reached the media – the ministers would ask officials to review the funding decision.
These officials would then award funding. This happened six times in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014, the NAO said.
Did they help 36,000 people?
Kids Company claim 36,000 “children, young people and vulnerable adults” are helped by the charity. Its own annual reports site this exact number of people being helped in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
At the same time they said that demand was increasing and expenditure was rising – which suggests that the 36,000 figure, if correct, should also have risen during these three years.
They say this includes 9,700 young people at its street centres, ‘therapeutic surgeries’ and legal centres, 7,200 family members, and 19,000 through its schools programmes.
According to the Spectator an email was sent to a journalist which said this 36,000 children could include “carers i.e. foster parents or parents who predominantly have mental health difficulties, and school staff”.
So far 1,900 cases have been passed to local authorities – 1,699 in London, 210 in Bristol. Even if this is multiplied by 13, the number of years that Kids Company has been receiving central government grants, this would suggest a maximum of 24,700 cases.
Was it fully funded by the Government?
No. In 2013, the last year accounts are available, Kids Company had an annual income of £23m. 20 per cent of this came from the Government, with 77 per cent coming from private donations.
Did the Government check who they were helping?
Government records show that grant offer letters from 2005 to 2014 included a set of required outcomes.
However the NAO say they relied on self-assessments and progress reports from Kids Company.
They had no way of checking on these outcomes – so did not know which children or how many children had been helped, or how.
When were was the Government first warned?
2002 is the first record of Government concern over the charities finances. Briefings to ministers in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2015.