The commentators 06-08-15
...on Kids Company
The fact that Kids Company helped to protect vulnerable children is beside the point. The only question is whether the money would be wisely spent. In the face of such opposition from their top civil servant, Oliver Letwin and Matthew Hancock should have bowed to his expertise and withheld the £3m grant. Having ignored him, they enabled Kids Company to spend £800,000 on unpaid salaries (which is not permitted under the grant) before announcing it was shutting its doors at 7pm last night
- Henry Zeffman, The Times
Beginning under New Labour and accelerating until now, authorities have been encouraged to delegate work to charities – not just for financial reasons, but because they are seen as doing a better job in some areas than government ever could. One result, however, has been the growing dependence of certain charities on public-sector funding. This has made some of them – including Kids Company, though its problems clearly run deeper – vulnerable to local government spending cuts. More profoundly, though, it casts doubt on the definition of a charity. If it is not funded primarily by voluntary contributions, but by public-sector contracts, how far should it quality as a charity?
- Mary Dejevsky, The Guardian
Many of the Kids Company staff did a heroic job. Now, it seems, those staff and those youngsters will have to look elsewhere after Camila Batmanghelidjh shut down the charity last night. Was this the action of a woman with her heart in the right place? Or one who cannot face a future out of the limelight? Charities should be judged with heads and not hearts, and Camila and her organisation — for all their good intentions — should be no different
- Harriet Sergeant, Daily Mail
How did things get this bad? Where was the oversight – either at the Charity Commission or within central government? Secondly, were some in power blinded to the flaws of Kids Company by its ties to Camila Batmanghelidjh, its charismatic founder, renowned for her force of personality?
The fallout from such episodes is twofold. Individuals who depend on specific charitable services lose out. But even more significant is the damage that scandal does to public trust in the vital charitable sector as a whole
- Daily Telegraph
The only reason this case from Shoeburyness reached the public consciousness was because someone mentioned age. That turns out to have been a side issue, and we shall probably never know the full story. That may be right and proper, a family's private traumas should not be aired for public entertainment.
But if women are being coerced into signing away the right to look after their children when they are not mentally fit, in order that councils can meet adoption targets - as the grandparents' lawyer and MPs suggest - then we need to know.
The journalists covering this story have fallen for the clickbait angle and missed the real issue.
Editor's blog: Grandparents' tale of woe
Comment archive, 2015
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