As 2016 draws to a close, it’s been confirmed that the results of two investigations into the scandal-hit charity Kids Company will not see the light of day this side of New Year’s Eve.
The Charity Commission and the Insolvency Service are both, apparently, unable or unwilling to publish whatever findings they have reached.
This leaves taxpayers in the dark as to what these organisations think lay behind Kids Company’s failings almost 18 months after these investigations began.
In its lifetime the charity was given about £50 million of public money – £3 million of which was handed over just days before it bit the dust.
Nobody knows – or will say – what has happened to this £3 million. A series of parliamentary questions to the government asked in recent weeks in the House of Commons and the Lords have been batted away with non-answers.
Is the government deliberately trying to keep secret the extent of Kids Company’s financial mismanagement, and its other misdemeanours, for some reason?
A ‘fade factor’ is likely to take root soon, if it hasn’t already, whereby sufficient time between the charity’s closure and the publication of these reports has passed that most people probably can’t remember much of the scandal anyway.
That would suit the government – and the charity’s senior figures – just fine, of course. Politicians were keen to associate themselves with it for years without really knowing much about how it worked.
The Charity Commission’s inquiry, which has been running for more than a year, is likely to focus less on finances and more on the activities of individual trustees. The highly-paid BBC employee Alan Yentob was the chairman of Kids Company’s trustees.
Tellingly, Yentob has tried to erase this link from the public record. He will be delighted by the fade factor.
The Insolvency Service began its investigation in August 2015. However, a spokesman has revealed that when complete it will not automatically be published. Instead, it will send its report to the Business Secretary, Greg Clark. Unless any trustee or employee is to be prosecuted as a result of the scandal, Clark is allowed under law to keep the contents of the Insolvency Service’s report secret.
How can this be right?
Of course the Kids Company scandal is about more than just self-important trustees or public money.
The whole question of the potential abuse of vulnerable people under the guise of therapy ought to be tackled.
Let’s not forget, the Commons select committee which looked into Kids Company noted this extraordinary piece of information: “We know now that [Kids Company chief executive] Camila Batmanghelidjh had no formal clinical qualifications yet she called herself clinical director and all the clinical decisions were subject to her control. We have one example of someone being referred after email counselling to a hypnotist in Harley Street at hundreds of pounds a session.”
Email counselling? Apparently so. In other words, Batmanghelidjh “counselled” over email someone she had never met and then sent them to a Harley Street hypnotist – presumably using public money – for therapy. How can that possibly have been a good idea?
This from the woman who was so revered by David Cameron that she was made a CBE.
Let’s hope it’s for the best that these two reports into Kids Company haven’t yet surfaced. At least there remains a chance that Batmanghelidjh and her cronies will be held properly to account – if only so that the public is told what happened to the missing £3 million.