13 Aug 2015

Kids Company: Yentob agreed to step down for emergency funds

It has emerged that before Kids Company received a £3m emergency bailout from the government, the charity’s chairman Alan Yentob had agreed to step down as part of a restructuring process.

Channel 4 News has spoken to a number of senior sources close to Kids Company. They have confirmed that the government sent a letter to Kids Company two months ago detailing the conditions the government wanted before paying the £3m of emergency funding.

They included:

  • founder Camila Batmanghelidjh must step down as head of Kids Company
  • the immediate downsizing of the charity
  • a pledge that after the £3m was paid the charity would never operate at a loss again
  • that the charity would receive no further funding from the government
  • that a new chair of trustees be appointed

Alan Yentob, who is also the creative director of the BBC, had served as chairman of the trustees at Kids Company for 18 years. But he agreed to step down as part of the restructuring process.

Mr Yentob told Channel 4 News that conversations between him, Kids Company and the government were confidential and he could not comment. But a source close to Mr Yentob confirmed “it was agreed that Yentob would stand down as chair of trustees, but would remain on the board. That was what he wanted to do, and that was what was agreed on.”

Alan Yentob speaking to Channel 4 News on 6 August about the closure of Kids Company

The senior sources also told Channel 4 News that the charity had been operating hand-to-mouth for 18 years, and “eventually enough was enough”.

On 6 August Mr Yentob told Channel 4 News that allegations of “appalling financial mismanagement” at Kids Company were “complete rubbish”. He said problems at the charity in the last year stemmed from increasing demand and problems rasising funds.

The following day the charity’s founder Camila Batmanghelidjh told Channel 4 News that she had resigned, but the philanthropists who donated much of its money had rejected that resignation, saying they would not work with Kids Company without her.

See the interview in full - Kids Company founder: 'I resigned - but donors wouldn't accept it'.

The sources that Channel 4 News spoke to said despite raising around £150m over the years, the charity kept over-committing, and needed a £9m lifeline. When allegations were made about sexual abuse within the charity, and police started an investigation, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.