Features

The trouble with Kids Company

It’s a favourite charity of David Cameron and many celebrities. But does it do what it claims to do?

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

In 2006, when David Cameron was leader of the opposition, he made an infamous speech that is remembered as an exhortation to hug a hoodie. Feral youth, he said, should be helped rather than demonised. He was reaching towards what he hoped would be a new, ‘compassionate’ conservatism inspired in part by the charismatic social activist Camila Batmanghelidjh.

She was the perfect lodestar for the young Tory leader. She began her drop-in centre — the Kids Company — in 1996 and within a few years, was helping thousands of disadvantaged inner-city children. She’s colourful, powerful but also a former Sherborne girl with whom Cameron and other members of the establishment felt at ease. Cameron told his shadow ministers that Camila embodied the Big Society. He suggested they study her work and design policies that reflected it.

The cash has rolled in to Kids Company. It has received more than £25 million from the government, and another £4.25 million has just been agreed. Prince Charles is a fan; the rock group Coldplay have donated £8 million. Then there’s Richard Branson, J.K. Rowling, Jemima Khan, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, John Lewis and more.

Good for Camila Batmanghelidjh, you might say, but there are a number who believe that Kids Company has perhaps grown too quickly and would, despite its undoubted achievements, benefit from a review of its operations and controls. They worry that Kids Company has become too famous, untouchable, and now acts as a drain on well-meaning donations that might otherwise go to better causes. Having investigated the charity for several months, I’m afraid I agree.

I first became interested in Kids Company after meeting and writing about a recent benefactor of theirs, Joan Woolard, who sold her house just over a year ago so as to give the proceeds to Kids Company. Less than a year after making her enormous donation, of about £200,000, she became so disillusioned that she complained to the Charity Commission and is demanding back her money. I wrote about Mrs Woolard, a 76-year-old widow from Lincolnshire, for the Oldie magazine. My piece covered her wider life, which included working as a Labour MP’s secretary. But one observation I made was this: ‘What is perhaps most bizarre about this tale is that Joan has no idea what has become of her money. The charity has never informed her how it has been or will be used, despite her being its largest individual donor.’

Ms Batmanghelidjh does not take criticism on the chin. She wrote to the then Oldie editor Richard Ingrams insisting he ‘repair’ the ‘incredibly damaging narrative’. She stated Kids Company had ‘worked very carefully’ with Joan for more than a year before accepting the donation.

Is that right? Not according to Mrs Woolard: ‘Contrary to what she claims, I never received a personal letter from Camila thanking me for making my donation. I had a few meetings with her in the 15 months before I made my donation but it’s not correct to say I “worked” with her.’

So much for hurt feelings — more interesting are Joan’s other misgivings. After the Oldie spat, by way of making up, Joan spent a week volunteering at Kids Company, to see how donations were spent.

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One of its therapy centres she attended was the Morgan Stanley Heart Yard in south London. It was bought with £1.6 million given by the London arm of the American investment bank after which it was named and opened by Joanna Lumley. What struck Mrs Woolard was the absence of children. She says: ‘Camila said that the charity is “short of money” because summer is a busy time because so many more children need to be fed and looked after during the school holidays. But I was told by staff that during the summer holidays there are fewer children to look after. I can’t square this fundamental contradiction.’

Nor, as it happens can some other former senior members of Kids Company, who claim that there are ‘exaggerations’ in the numbers of people it says it helps. In the charity’s annual reports, the numbers increased from 13,500 in 2008 to 16,500 in 2010 before jumping to an astonishing 36,000 the next year. That figure of 36,000 has been used in Kids Company literature ever since, but some ex-staff members have questioned it. In response to this, the charity stated it uses a computer system tracking all the children, young people and families with which it works, recording why money was spent on them and what outcome arose, and that the earlier figures were under-estimates.

This all sounds very professional, but it turns out it is not just children who are included in the much-touted 36,000. In an email to me the charity wrote: ‘When we refer to clients they include children, young people, young adults with special needs, carers, i.e. foster parents or parents who predominantly have mental health difficulties, and school staff.’ Strange to include parents and school staff in the number of those helped.

On to Joan’s next concern, which she heard from staff in Kids Company HQ. Some employees are former ‘clients’ — people helped by the charity itself when younger — and the complaint from regular staff was that some of these former clients did not bother turning up to work. Joan told me: ‘One girl had apparently swanned off for the whole summer, to the obvious annoyance of colleagues. I was also told that others who visit the charity are given cash allowances to supplement their Jobseekers’ Allowances and to prevent them from stealing or dealing drugs. I don’t think private donors or the government give Kids Company money so that it can be handed out to young people in cash?’

When I put this to Ms Batmanghelidjh, she said: ‘Money is only spent on the most destitute of our clients.’ She said this included ‘trafficked mothers’ unable to access welfare despite having children born in the UK, and young people in education who ‘receive food vouchers and a bus pass’. She said: ‘I want to be very clear that at no time have we paid or do we pay clients to come to us.’

However, I’ve spoken to former Kids Company employees who might disagree. I’ve also spoken to a former Kids Company member of staff, Genevieve Maitland Hudson, who left the charity in 2009. She told me that young people were given cash and travel cards. She said: ‘On Fridays in 2008, little packages of cash were handed out to every young person through a window in the Urban Academy reception. It was always tense. There were tears. There was shouting. There were threats. There were fights.’ What prompted Genevieve to leave Kids Company was not the challenging work and certainly not the young people, about whom she has only good things to say, but the ‘culture’ of the charity.

Finally, last August — six weeks after it was promised — Joan Woolard received the report setting out where her money had gone. It had been overseen and written off personally by Ms Batmanghelidjh. But instead of allaying the widow’s concerns, it only increased them. Five of its 11 pages were simply photographs of children. Within the text were three boxes referring to what her money had bought. This included the claim that £44,181 of her donation went on ‘the entirety of our food budget at Kenbury [one of its London centres] between September and December 2013’.

Mrs Woolard found this odd. A Kids Company report produced for the government — covering the period 2011 to 2013 — had stated: ‘In the past year, £174,379 was spent providing meals at four of our centres’ — including Kenbury. This suggested that the average monthly budget for each of the four centres was only £3,600. Yet according to the report given to Mrs Woolard, the monthly average for Kenbury during the period her money was spent on food there was £11,045 — three times higher. The charity says it’s confident about its figures.

Its special report for Mrs Woolard stated that Kids Company fed ‘approximately 3,000 children each week’. An article in the Evening Standard last October also stated that the Kenbury Street centre serves 3,000 hot meals each week.

The figures are confusing. Are 450 youngsters being fed a meal there daily — a total of 3,000 meals a week? Or are 3,000 youngsters getting one meal there each per week? Mrs Woolard tried to find out by visiting the Kenbury Street centre unannounced. She estimated that the dining space had enough room for 60 people at any one time. To serve 3,000 meals per week would require seven separate sittings per day, seven days a week. She feels these numbers just do not add up.

Camila Batmanghelidjh dismissed my concerns about the treatment of Mrs Woolard, saying in email: ‘We have been concerned about Joan Woolard and her mental health. A few months back we discussed our concerns with the Charity Commission and placed the evidence with them.’ Quite apart from the distasteful nature of the accusation, and the fact that I found Joan Woolard to be perfectly sane, the question remains: if Kids Company really thinks Joan Woolard might be mentally unwell, doesn’t it have a duty to return her £200,000?

Camila Batmanghelidjh claims that Kids Company has an open-door policy, and she invited me to spend time there, as Mrs Woolard had. I daresay I’d be charmed by Camila, as so many others have been. But I’m not sure a casual day-long visit is the solution for Kids Company. Like other charities in receipt of vast sums of taxpayers’ money, it needs to be able to demonstrate to donors — and the outside world — that the money is being used as well as possible, however worthy the objectives. If a government department, say, or a donor like Joan Woolard or a former staff member has concerns about a charity, they must be properly addressed.

Charm is no substitute for transparency. Or at least it ought not to be. Officials in the Department for Education, for instance, were so unimpressed by Kids Company’s financial management that they persuaded ministers to stop millions in funding. Ms Batmanghelidhjh’s response was to contact the Prime Minister, who personally intervened with the Department for Education to make sure Kids Company got its cash. Not a word of the argument leaked.

Who can blame Camila for fighting for her charity? But this sequence of events exemplifies the problem: if you’re too well connected for anyone to criticise you, if you’re always pulling strings, you risk losing transparency and therefore accountability — however well intentioned you are.

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Show comments
  • Rik

    Any government funding of “charities” is farcical if i wish to donate i will,how dare you steal my money through taxation and take that choice from me.
    Let us remember “common purpose” is a charity.
    An utter disgrace.

    • https://twitter.com/jockitsch Jocelyn Kitsch

      Except that charities provide both services and often leverage unpaid resources such as volunteers, pro bono work and community donations that the government could never get for free. So government funding of charities can deliver very good value for money.
      What is at issue here is accountability and also the governance of a charity and the people who work for it.

      • Aaron D Highside

        ‘pro bono’ work in this sector often leads to hugely lucrative legal work for many high profile MPs’ spouses.

        • http://www.giving-evidence.com/ Caroline Fiennes

          Aaron, do you have any evidence for that statement?

          • Molly

            I do. I’m a lawyer in this field

    • Jen The Blue

      Dear God, it makes my blood boil to think of all the taxpayer cash going to the evil Common Purpose.
      Common Purpose is a secretive and sinister political organisation.

      • http://eztv.it Dr Rob Johnston

        ‘Common Purpose’ just sounds common. Wouldn’t it be better if it were, say, ‘Rarified Purpose’ or ‘Genteel Purpose’. Then, I’m sure, we could ALL support it!

  • http://www.giving-evidence.com/ Caroline Fiennes

    Kids Company is perhaps a bad case of a common disease: charities’ transparency about their activities and results is generally pretty poor. That’s not entirely their fault. Many solutions are known and available. Giving Evidence studies these problems and creates fixes for them. The causes of the problem and fixes are outlined here: http://www.giving-evidence.com/kidscompany

    • https://twitter.com/jockitsch Jocelyn Kitsch

      Excellent link. Camila Batmanghelidjh has a lot of questions she must address … In general to be honest I’ve found her quite charmless with the donors, I’ve been at big events where she has been oddly thoughtless, for example forgetting the name of the lead singer of Coldplay when he is doing a gig for you at the O2 … so unfortunately her treatment of Joan Woolard is the norm rather than a unfortunate oversight. She needs to be very upfront about her methodology and evidence her outcomes to refute what is a devastating critique of Kids Company

  • Jane R

    Having previously worked for a charity myself, we always advised donors that all donations would go into the pot and could not be allocated to specific projects regardless of the size of the donation.

    • http://www.giving-evidence.com/ Caroline Fiennes

      Jane, that is perfectly normal behaviour. The complaint which Miles reports (as I understand it) is that KC’s reporting on its work / spend / impact is unclear and insuffiecient. Gen Maitland Hudson in her accompanying piece makes further observations/allegations around management and governance. Here: http://osca.ultrasimplified.com/2015/02/need-talk-kids-company/

  • Damaris Tighe

    When Kids Company was first started Camila was also teaching at a school of psychotherapy where I studied for my first year. She was certainly one of the most inspiring teachers. At that time KC was a struggling new charity, & many of its volunteers were school trainees doing their internships (I wasn’t one of them).

    To paraphrase Acton: power corrupts. Camila’s dismissal of Woolard on the grounds of ‘mental health’ is the lowest of the low. For a start, Camila living & breathing the norms of psychotherapy knows that whatever she thinks of Woolard’s mental health, it’s private & confidential.

    Secondly, using that accusation to dismiss Woolard’s claims is a sinister use of psychology to shut down criticism. If it’s true, Camila, you should be ashamed of yourself. I know you care passionately about your work, but you seem to have reached a point where you’ll even sacrifice your own values to defend it.

    • Penny

      It’s certainly unethical. I’m not sure how interacting with someone at a few business meetings could allow for such an assessment. You might have an inkling, but I’m wondering how that amounted to “evidence”?

      • Damaris Tighe

        I just know what this article tells us Penny.

        • Penny

          Sorry if my “you might” seemed directed at you, Damaris! I meant “You” in the general sense – as in someone with a background in psychology might think a behaviour to be of concern but without a professional assessment cannot really turn that into a statement.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Agreed, although someone with a lot of experience can have an inkling after a short time. The point is Camila knows full well that according to the ethics of her own profession, you don’t talk about it to a third party without permission. You don’t even talk about it with the person concerned unless they’ve asked for the conversation in the first place.

          • Penny

            Quite agree! Psychology was my degree subject and the ethics and practice elements were very much emphasised in my very first year. My son also studied psychology and I found his experimental design procedure – ethics-wise – to be even tighter than in my day.

          • cartimandua

            Was the woman in question a patient? The only duty of confidentiality is to a patient. One is entitled to use professional expertise in “normal life”.

          • Damaris Tighe

            She probably wasn’t, but – if true – it’s certainly against the spirit of the profession to share her professional opinion with a journalist.

          • cartimandua

            No it isn’t. It is perfectly legit to make a comment. People do it all the time especially when under attack.

          • PaD

            So you defend this womans disgusting comments? Joan Worral may have been somewhat foolish to part with so much money..but the total lack of gratitude and transparency re its use smacks of someone with a messianic complex …so full of tbeir own importance that such normal civility is beneath her..and Then! describes the donor as having mental health issues..
            shes poison..and more thsn one person has been poisoned by association with her…so yes go on ..defend that ..

          • cartimandua

            CB gave up her own home to fund KC. We don’t know there was “no gratitude”.
            CB did that same thing herself.
            When CB is working 18 hours a day when on earth do you think she “spends ill gotten gains”?
            CB has created a service for children getting nothing from their parents or any government body.
            The government doesn’t want to know about them.
            They will later when they end up expensively in prison.
            The government don’t want anyone else to know about them either.
            It is an extreme thing to do to give up ones home. It is only not nutty if one is say starting up a charity or business.
            Was JW starting something? Or did she expect to become
            a Director or an executive?
            She seems confused about what “donation” means. It doesn’t mean the charity endlessly involves you.
            If she is young enough was she a volunteer? If she is elderly did she leave money to KC and not her relatives?
            Does this hatchet job come from distressed relatives?

          • PaD

            You seem to know a lot about CB…
            We the public(taxpayers if you will) on the other hand don’t.
            What we NEED to know though is, where is all our money going.?
            if CB cant be arsed to provide accounts…you know.outgoings/income… two simple columns of figures..she’s not THAT famous to avoid this straightforward request.

          • cartimandua

            Therapists are not accountants. Accountants cost money. Since most of the helpers at KC are volunteers the public get more than they ever pay for.

            It goes one imagines (having read the book Shattered Lives)

            on feeding children directly, making their homes better than filthy slums, paying for clothing and cleaning of clothes, for schools, transport to schools etc. The salaries of paid staff would be the easy bit to account for.
            These children have parents who do nothing for them at all.

            If one puts it into context. A child in Care (if ever lucky enough to be nearly dead enough to get a service) costs 1 million per child.

            The riots cost 133 million and none of KCs neglected and abused client children rioted.

            The number of children offered services by social services and health is minute compared to the need. The rest get nothing.

            I should think the “fuss” about the donation came from someone leaving major assets away from family.

            That is rather an odd thing to do and the family may be devastated and angry.

          • Mr B J Mann

            “CB gave up her own home to fund KC.”

            So she’s sleeping on the streets?!?!?!?

          • Johnnydub

            Not on £90K a year she isn’t.

          • Zarniwoop

            With 5 personal assistants and a chauffeur on £40k

          • PaD

            People say this shit when theyve been caught redhanded you mean

          • Damaris Tighe

            ‘People do it all the time especially when under attack’: precisely, it’s a sign of weakness & below the belt. Totally wrong for a psychotherapist to use her insight in this way.

          • PaD

            I would have thought duty associated with being a decent human being eclipses duty of confidentiality

          • Anglocynic

            You think wrong, ask any priest.

          • pewkatchoo

            Aha, so this is where you are hiding these days. Still trumpeting the same tired old claptrap though.

          • mrsjosephinehydehartley

            Well why not use “one”? As in; any ordinary member of the public who might reasonably have some common sense. But then it takes one to know one, as we say.

          • Pickle

            >CB has created a service for children getting nothing from their parents or any government body.
            This is the problem with charities. We have the 7th most expensive welfare system in the world, but they always want more more more!
            This is why I despise the Left’s Charity industry. All they do is moan and grasp. Which is why the BBC loves them so much.
            And our hero only made £90k per year? I wonder how many therapists make half that.
            Never give to these scams.

    • Mc

      If you are correct, among many warning signs about KC, I’d say an easy to identify give-away is that the founder taught psychotherapy.

      • cartimandua

        Which has made it ground breaking and successful.

        • Mc

          Yes, when a new pseudoscience (psychotherapy) comes along, its adherents think it’s groundbreaking and successful. But we already know from past conversations that you are scientifically and logically illiterate. Even the notoriously scientifically weak field of psychology now recognises that psychotherapy has no scientific grounding.

          • SheRoar

            No one needs psycho-analysis to surmise that you sound like a total nobend.

          • Mc

            Thanks

          • ForensPsych

            This isn’t factually true. Proper scientific evaluation has shown that psychotherapy (of whatever school) can be effective to some degree, and has also identified those factors most likely to contribute to this. The most important factor is probably the “therapeutic alliance” of collaborative working between therapist and client. This also applies to personality disorders, notoriously the most difficult to treat. However, there is improvement rather than cure in most cases, and in a minority of cases people get worse.

          • Mc

            Could you point me to those scientific papers please? Specifically, the papers need to be for randomized control trials that have been vetted via systematic reviews.

            On those occasions where psychotherapy does produce a positive outcome, I suspect the benefit derived is no greater than having a sympathetic conversation with someone. Of course, the same can be said for the benefits of conventional, conversational talking therapy. The difference is that Psychotherapy is largely based on theories that are laughable nonsense. In addition, those who are scientifically rigorous are happy to question and test the claims of psychotherapy and conventional therapy – something that psychotherapists, as with alternative medicine believers, are not prepared to countenance.

            Freud and his followers’ pontifications had virtually no scientifically rigorous underpinnings. Any claims they made that are supported by current science are mostly due to fluke and some basic common sense that accidentally intruded on the psychotherapists’ thinking. It is no surprise that a great many of Freud’s claims of fact have been found to be fraudulent. Nor is it a surprise that such a scientifically light movement found its natural home in the U.S.

          • ForensPsych

            First, I agree with most of what you wrote! I also confess to using the term “psychotherapy” too loosely, because most people haven’t heard of most types of therapy, but do recognise that particular term. I agree that Freud’s theories were (mostly, anyway) bunk. Even he said he was glad he wasn’t a Freudian.

            There is plenty of evidence that therapies of various kinds can help a lot of people, at least to some extent.

            I suggest you look at Ken Pope’s website, specifically this page:

            http://kspope.com/hospices/meta-analyses.php

            Pope has collected scores of references on many areas in psychology. These meta-analyses are not all about therapy, but many of them are.

            “Therapy” (notably alleged “cognitive behaviour therapy”) aimed at changing behaviour in areas other than mental disorder has been unsuccessfull, in my view. Some programmes with offenders have even been shown to make people worse. (Cochrane Collaboration website, meta-analysis by Dennis et al).

          • Mc

            Thanks, I’ll have a look at that link

          • ForensPsych
          • Jeffrey Vernon

            Poor old Freud. It’s easy to poke fun at psychobabble, but SF’s idea that unhappiness is organic, and can be treated, was a real breakthrough in its day. Whether we accept it or not, we all live in Freud’s shadow. The test you propose – randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, reputable journals – still does not prevent cobblers from being published (I read it for a living); and if strictly applied, it would undermine the case even for conventional drug treatments of mood disorders, which are in the main no better than placebo (for the avoidance of doubt, I am not advocating herbs, homeopathy, pendulums, mindfulness or anything else as an alternative). The reason that science is still a profession is that we don’t have a blinking clue about the answer to some quite pressing questions: for example, ‘What is the cause of diabetes?’ Given the uncertainties, you can easily prove that all current theories on this question are wrong, unsupported, or even ‘fraudulent’. It would be more charitable to say that there is no strong evidence as to cause, but that in principle evidence could be obtained. It’s obviously harder with talking cures, since they can’t be dose-controlled, and the patients are not well stratified as to their symptoms, but that’s the problem that all non-drug therapists are faced with. Are we to condemn all the patients to unscientific treatment? Or to say that treatment is entirely the wrong way to proceed?

          • Mc

            You’re correct that rigorous science is very fallible (especially when the area of study concerns the mind, feelings, thoughts, personality, etc). And it seems too many scientists aren’t aware of this, or happily exploit it for their own gain.

            Nevertheless, Freudianism – and its bastard cousin Jungianism- was and continues to be based on very little science and a whole lot of psychobabble. It doesn’t take much natural logic to see that, before one even tests it in a lab.

          • Sarah E Gillen

            You’re not a pharmaceutical rep by any chance?

          • Mc

            Read my comments again and you’ll see that it is highly improbable that I’m a big fan of the pharmaceutical industry’s ethics and practices. But in the very imperfect world we live in, Big Pharma is still more scientifically rigorous than any of the pseudosciences.

          • ForensPsych

            Except that part of rigorous scientific method is publishing your results (ALL of them) in order to allow peers to examine them. This they definitely do not do, however rigorous they may be in the laboratory.

          • Mc

            Agreed, it’s a scandal that enforceable regulations don’t require publication of full details of all studies

          • pewkatchoo

            Sounds like gobbledegook to me.

          • ForensPsych

            If true, and not just being snide, that says more about you than anyone else. Of course, even if snide, it still says more about you than anyone else. Looking at your many bad-tempered and ill-informed comments to others I think it was just snide. You understood perfectly well what I wrote, so why pretend you didn’t?

        • SuffolkBoy

          At the moment there is in a Suffolk, and I suspect elsewhere in the UK, an important re-assessment in progress to assess and reverse the damage caused by the rollout of psychotherapeutic interventions in mental health disorders. The problem is that, prima facie the programme has generated far more problems than it has solved.

          The typical problem is that sufferers of dramatic personality disorders (typically borderline, though bipolar is included) wind up with false memories of being the victims of child abuse. That is, they begin therapy with a reasonably accurate memory of their life experiences in narrative form, but with impaired ability to regulate their emotions and emotional transactions. They exit therapy with a false `recovered memory’ that they had experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse a child or even during early adulthood or marriage. They then attribute their emotional dysfunction to that spectral abuse. Sometimes this helps them: it is much healthier (for a parasuicidalist or homicida borderliner) to believe that their suicidal obsessions are the result of something unpleasant that happened in the woodshed thirty years previously rather than something intrinsic in their mental functioning. Unfortunately this thought pattern can become external: encouraged by their therapists, they come to believe that true relief from their emotions can be achieved only through making false (to them, true) allegation of abuse and for the perceived abuser to be exposed and convicted or similarly punished, based on evidence which is spectral and emotionally delivered in court. The side effect of psychotherapy is miscarriage of justice caused by the presentation of false memory of an alleged victim.

          If psychotherapy were subject to the same safety regulations as pharmaceuticals, it would have been banned years ago when these side effects, which affect everyone else far more than the patient.

          Groundbreaking psychotherapy wasn’t: it dates back decades; successful it wasn’t: it merely paid the therapists’ mortgages and landed innocent people in prison and wrecked families. Epic fail on all counts!

          • just me

            You talk through your backside! I WAS abused far worse than you could imagine as a child, have been diagnosed bordline, i DO NOT NEED to make up what i have been through and am totally insulted in what you have written here! I think you need to find a career more suited to your lack of intellegence and understanding of HUMAN BEINGS, who suffered enough without your misunderstanding of them!

          • Julian

            I attended a London clinic recently. I terminated therapy after 6 months when my mental functioning diminished as a result of “treatment”. I was told by clinicians that ” something happened to me” and I was to discuss “what happened” as a child. I started to believe “bad things happened to me as a child” Although I have had a colorful life, My early childhood “memories” do not influence my behaviour today. I had bills to pay and was stressed out. I was attending group therapy, Violent Group members were encouraged to recount “sexual abuse” , one patient with borderline personality disorder went to the police. This imagined “abuse” helped the borderline patient identify with his victims, the therapist used it as a tool to stop his violent behaviour. It felt as if the state was manufacturing victims so patients wouldn’t go on to become violent. The clinic also self regulates, when incidents occur they are not reported. I was amazed by the lack of transparency and accountability within the organisation. If the truth be told the funding would be withdrawn, the annual reports often overstate the work done in the interests of the clinic. The institution of psychology polices its self with lack of clinical auditing or rigorous scientific evidence. The clinic I attended claims to have successfully treated compulsive behaviour, as a member of a group , I would have to disagree, many members were still acting out, or simply dropping out of “treatment”. Negative outcomes in psychotherapy are rarely published. I would question the validity of many of these treatments and interventions and whether they are cost effective.

        • PaD

          So successful funding is being withdrawn…!
          this whole thing has a bad smell…notice Camilla whatsername is a Common Purpose ‘graduate’ as well as a ‘Psycho-therapy one..the NLP coming in handy I suppose…a little bit of knowledge is very dangerous…still applies.

        • Jack Rocks

          Successful? Ahahahahaha.

    • Brunel

      Anybody who sells their home in order to give it to a charity, if not mentally ill is certainly unable to manage their own finances.

      • Sarah E Gillen

        If you are an elderly person and have no one, or no one you consider suitable, to leave your house to I think it is a clever and forward thinking solution to leave your house to a charity of YOUR choice by selling it ahead of time. Personally I would far rather do this and I’m a very good ACCOUNTANT.

        • Latimer Alder

          Why? Why sell it before you’re dead? You can leave it in your will if you want. But why deprive yourself of it prematurely?

          • Knowles2

            She was probably downsizing.
            I guess she decided to do that so she could see the results of the money she giving away.

    • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

      You’ve misunderstood what happened. It’s very likely that Miles Goslett wanted you to believe that this is what happened. It was Goslett, not Camila, who made public the debate that was going on about the donor’s mental capacity. Read him again, and then take a look at the post by Mike Tims elsewhere among these comments. He’s got the facts straight.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I’ve read Miles Goslett’s article again. He does say that the comment about the donor’s mental capacity was made in an email. I also qualified my own post with the words ‘if it’s true’.

        • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

          Thank you for reconsidering and altering your post. Questions now arise as to whether Miles Goslett did proper research, and if he acted ethically. The answer to both is probably not. He works a great deal for the Daily Mail, who turned this article down. That seems significant, and should have been a warning to the Specator. The Spectator itself can only “defeat” Camila by editing out a key paragraph from her reply. Not good.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Alan, you misunderstood me. The ‘if it’s true’ was in my original post from the beginning.

          • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

            I see: sorry. But let’s move on to what the Spectator has done here, which is to attempt to damage a children’s charity by inadequate reporting.

          • Caractacus

            Do you understand what reporting is? A reporter can only follow a story, no matter their ability in doing so. If the charity was whiter than white then there would be no story in the first place.

            There were plenty of questions hanging over this charity long before this article occurred and plenty of other websites and blogs who have turned up similar concerns about this charity – again, long before this article occurred.

            This article is an attempt to report something. It may be accurate, it may not. But you are making a nasty, nasty accusation there, that has absolutely no merit. You are either ascribing a personal vendetta to a journalist – which would be instant grounds for dismissal, or you are saying that no journalist should ever publish anything truthful that might even remotely damage a personage or company, bearing in mind that no journalist would ever publish something they know to be untrue, for fear of the instant massive libel suits that would crash on their heads and the utter destruction of their reputation and career (see Johann Hari).

          • Jeffrey Vernon

            Weren’t you betrayed by Cartimandua?

    • brockbabe

      You have no idea of the context of CB using the statement about Woolard and why wasn’t the email published? No worryingly the journalist has taken a few words out of context, always dangerous. If it’s true that CB has, without considerable evidence, tried to question the mental health of Woolard then it is awful, you however have decided it is true with any evidence.

    • Garnet Thesiger

      Great post Damaris, measured comments and it’s great to have info from someone really in the know..

    • PaD

      Julia Middleton..’founder’ and ceo of Common Purpose also suggests that when meeting resistance and persuasion doesnt work..undermining and bullying are useful tools..check out her opinions..CB is also Common Purpose trained

  • Charlie

    Despite reputedly having ‘spoken’ to a number of sources who portray Kids Comapny in a poor light, Miles only chooses to directly quote one source, the other apparently direct quote being an out of context excerpt from an article written by Genevieve Maitland. For someone who ‘investigated the charity for several months’ this is an article seriously lacking any facts or attempt at impartiality…

    • Miles Goslett

      Charlie – whoever you are – how is it that you presume to know how many people I’ve spoken to? You know nothing of what I’ve discovered since I began looking into this charity. Other readers of Charlie’s post should take note of this.

      • Charlie

        What are you talking about Miles? My point is that if you make grand and serious claims about this charity you should back it up with evidence, quotes and names rather than unsubstantiated heresay.

        • https://twitter.com/jockitsch Jocelyn Kitsch

          I think there is enough there to warrant serious concerns about Camila Batmanghelidjh

        • The Amazing Dog’s-Mess

          I’d add that it harms the author’s credibility that he refused the open day. While I certainty take his point that it wouldn’t account for everything, it nonetheless would’ve afforded an opportunity to get behind the scenes of the charity, which is the very subject of the article.

          • http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html TNT

            There is little truth in any ‘Open Day’.

          • David Booth.

            Potemkin Village.

      • David Booth.

        Sounds like you’ve stirred up a hornets nest Miles, keep poking lad the more they yell and complain the more you need to investigate.

      • Anon

        Sadly, Miles, you are spot on in this article.

      • http://eztv.it Dr Rob Johnston

        Can you make clear whether this is an ongoing ‘investigation’ and you intend to follow it up with some properly stated accusations of wrongdoing? Or is it just a piece of mudslinging? I’m genuinely interested because I find C. Batman-etc a trifle fishy.

  • Paul

    We have had a similar experience with Camila and declined to Donate and she became nasty and rude… We’d happily furnish this journalist with the story of our experience too…

    • Damaris Tighe

      Very sad. As I said above, I knew Camila at the beginning of KC. She was an inspiring teacher & utterly committed to ‘making a difference’ to use an outworn cliche. It shows how too much adulation & power can ruin even a good person.

      PS: I started to worry about Camila when she threw her weight & influence behind the ‘satanic abuse’ witch hunt.

      • Miles Goslett

        If of interest, please email: miles.goslett@gmail.com

        • Lucy

          This article is both spurious and full of inconsistencies. The charity commission looked into the claims of Mrs Woolard in December 2014 and agreed there was no case to answer. You should be aware of this but have chosen to ignore it in order to gain a sensational headline. This article does nothing apart from create un-necessary ill feeling for a charity who does nothing but good. And you know who ultimately suffers? Not Camila and the staff of Kids Company.. It will be the kids. Shame on you for your inaccurate and irresponsible journalism (if you could even call it that..)

          • Sean L

            I missed your rebuttal of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies. . .

          • Mc

            The Charity Commission may well have reached the correct conclusion regarding Woolard’s claims. However, it is also possible that the Commission reached the wrong conclusions. For example, there are very well known examples of some very dubious conclusions they’ve reached in the past. My experience of regulators is that they seldom find against the entities they are meant to regulate and are shockingly poor at pro-actively regulating entities. That’s not surprising considering that regulators and their staff are unaccountable.

          • PaD

            Most if not all so-called ‘regulators’ are a plain sop….over-paid chancers with high opinions of themselves

          • PaD

            ps..I meant ‘regulatory bodies’…are sops

          • PaD

            The charity commission …

            And just who sits on this august body?
            Anyone Common Purpose alumni?

      • Mc

        Oh dear. If true, belief in satanic ritual abuse is the clincher for staying away from KC.

        • Damaris Tighe

          This was a long time ago Mc.

          • Mc

            I’m not sure if the passage of time is relevant, in the same way that one should be circumspect about people who were public supporters of PIE or psychotherapy, for example.

            Going on the hypothetical assumption that someone was a believer in satanic ritual abuse (SRA), are they still a believer? Did they stop publicly agitating about SRA because it went out of fashion and would be embarrassing to continue espousing it? Have they publicly stated that SRA is nonsense and that those falsely accused of SRA should be apologised to?

            The point is that belief in SRA and psychotherapy points to someone who blindly believes in something, without any sound evidence as a basis. Having someone like that running a charity sounds problematic, as they may be spending millions with little evidence that their expenditure has any measurable impact.

          • Damaris Tighe

            All good questions, except there is an evidence base for some sorts of psychotherapy. Also any sort of listening can be therapeutic, especially if a child hasn’t been listened to before. I think the main conceit of psychotherapy is that the theoretical orientation matters much. I suspect that success is more to do with the personal qualities of the therapist.

          • Mc

            On the positive side, I’d be surprised if psychotherapy provided a benefit beyond the positive feeling gained from having someone to talk to. Going by the tosh that much psychotherapy is based on, it sounds like it could be highly damaging to some patients.

            I reckon it would be more beneficial and cheaper for people to ditch psychotherapy and go to a petting farm. A win-win for human and animal 😉

          • In2minds

            All a long time ago? As are most of the abuse cases the police are now trawling through.

        • In2minds

          In the case of CamilaB it’s the belief in her own power and not the belief in ritual satanic abuse that’s the problem!

      • Mr B J Mann

        ” She was an inspiring teacher & utterly committed to ‘making a difference'”

        But isn’t that also a sign of the s0c!o/psyc0pathic “leader” (I’m asking here as a curious utter and total layman – I’m not planning to use your reply to achieve world domination or anything!)?

        • Damaris Tighe

          That’s always the danger, hence my quote from Acton in my main post, ‘power corrupts …’.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Ah, but what I was wondering was whether she sought power because she was already “corrupt”?!

          • Damaris Tighe

            Although many do, in this case I doubt it. Many are so passionately wedded to their cause that for them the ends justify the means. I don’t think Camila was power-hungry when I knew her. But she was completely invested in her cause & people like that can be ruthless if given the opportunity. Control over an immensely powerful charity as well as personal adulation can make a person over-confident. There is no one holding them to account (ethically as well as financially). Perhaps they start to feel that they can walk on water.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I would suspect that not everyone reacts to power in that way.

            But that only those that do actually manage to “make it”!

    • Miles Goslett

      Please contact: miles.goslett@gmail.com

    • PaD

      Good for you….the defenders on here need to read your remarks..and ex-collaborators..

  • Fraser Bailey

    A charity is not a charity if it receives govt money. The whole thing is a massive disgrace. Most of them are nothing more than tax funded vehicles for attention-seeking do-gooders, and all funding should be removed.

    • Jen The Blue

      Absolutely…it a government agency.
      The NSPCC long since stopped being a children’s charity and seems to spend most of its cash lobbying the government to ban smacking…..a political campaign.
      Whether smacking children is wrong….or a subjectively “worse” form of discipline than psychological punishments like confining to bedrooms, or naughty steps or whatever is debateable. But my taxpayer cash is being spent lobbying the government to criminalise what I believe to be the best method of bringing up children.
      It is a farce.

      • Caroline Byrne

        The NSPCC goads people with malintentions to report on neighbours- this happened to me. Due to their successful ‘dont wait till your sure’ campaign – a nervy over protective neighbour picked up the phone and made 11 allegations about how I treat my son. 9 of them were false- and the other two areas (leaving my 10 year old son for 15 miutes alone in the house so I could go to the shop) were dismissed by the local social worker, but NSPCC need to improve their ‘filters’ before wasting social worker time and inflicting huge pain and shame on families- giving absoulute anonymity to meddlers relieves the trouble makers from consequences. Luckily for me supportive neighbours ‘drew out the rat’ and I was able to confront her

        • Jen The Blue

          That is a terrible tale Caroline, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. I long since stopped giving money to the NSPCC.
          This what happens when charities become over-grown political lobbyists…..they lose touch with reality and normal, decent people end up getting hurt.

          • PaD

            and when they are run by lazy middle-class troughers who cant or wont get a job elsewhere…and who glide through the charity gravytrain until BIG pension day..picking up along the way 100s! of thousands of yearly salaries

          • Minstrel Boy

            It is the middle-class forte. Find a worthy cause, join up and milk it. Got to be financially recompensed for all that money driven nous, you know. Troughers of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose, unless you blab!

      • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

        Violence is best? Judging from the name you give yourself, I imagine your children are black and blue. Lucky them.

        • Jen The Blue

          AlanG, you are pathetic! Utterly pathetic! Rather than argue a case about gentle smacking over other punishments which amount to psychological torture…you assume that anyone who uses smacking, must necessarily beat their children black and blue. You pathetic, sad git!
          What is so great about psychological deprivation over a short, sharp smack, which is over almost instantly then the love can be resumed? Rather than making a child stew over their punishment? Making the child think their parents hate them?
          Well, I am not judging that……that is for parents to decide……if you think that is best…..then OK. Not for me to interfere.
          Not for you to tell me how to behave either. I believe the psychological torture you would inflict is far worse……who is right?
          Prove you are!
          Or f**k off back to the Guardian where your biased and twisted worldview is considered normal.

          • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

            Ah, a right-wing smacker! I get it now: Whack! (resume the love). Bang! (resume the love). Tears! (resume the love). Very good, Jen.

          • Jen The Blue

            A reasoned argument beautifully put…
            Now explain how psychological torture is less hurtful?

            You might also like to tell me why your opinions are superior to mine.

            I mean, genuinely argue the point, rather that pretending that because I approve of smacking, I must obviously believe in thrashing children……

            Go on….have a go !!

          • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

            Didn’t realize I had to explain more, apologies. What you already do will cause psychological damage.

          • Jen The Blue

            Ah so everyone over about 40 is psychologically damaged?
            B***ocks!

            No you wouldn’t understand that you have to make a coherent, well argued point……lefties never do…..

          • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

            No, no, you don’t understand. I’m saying that if you hit children – as you say you like to do – it causes them psychological damage.

          • Jen The Blue

            Firstly I did not say that I like to hit children. Secondly, I dispute it causes psychological damage.

          • http://satireinteractive.tumblr.com/welcome AlanG

            Oh dear. Let’s just say that some would disagree with you.

          • Jen The Blue

            Of course some people will disagree with me. That is my point. Let people make up their own minds. A difficult concept for the left who wish to impose their opinions on others. Look at the ban on fox hunting. If you think fox hunting is wrong…..then don’t go fox hunting…..moreover, if you want, try to persuade people of your view point. But if I disagree, tough. I should not have your morality forced on me. It is called FREEDOM.

          • totallygone

            I think JTB should be given a sharp and thorough slap around the chops for her aggressive attitude and use of foul language.

            But that would be illegal, because she’s an adult.

            However, JTB. Do you agree that you should be smacked when you misbehave, as an adult?

            Extensive research shows that spanking is psychologically damaging and has profound lasting effects. This has, interestingly, been reported – not in the Guardian, but the Daily Mail.

            Your comments about how the ‘love can be resumed’ are somewhat chilling, and smack of psychological damage – so to speak.

          • Jen The Blue

            She is not an adult actually, but he is.
            Do I believe in corporal punishment for some law breakers? In principle I guess I cannot really see why not but in practice we have it anyway. But I am not campaigning to bring back the birch.
            What is the rule of law but state sanctioned violence against people? Extensive research eh…..and obviously that research is entirely repeatable and there has never been any research to the contrary and it was carried out exactly in accordance with normal “smacking” rather than beating with belts etc. Honestly, the last refuge of a desperate woman …sorry ..man.
            Another typical lefty…my view is right…no one can disagree…so my views should be imposed by law and thus state violence.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Do you agree that I should be allowed, nay, FORCED, to upend women, wh!p off their undercrackers, and slather their nether regions with baby o!l?!?!?

            Because if I DIDN’T do that to my baybees I’d be arrested!!!!

            By the way, the left argue that h0mosexuality should be promoted because it is “natural”, even ANIMALS do it!

            Well, yes, they do, when they are in an unnatural situation, along with eating baybees and rap!ng females and young.

            So how come physical chastisement, as practiced in, errmmmm, the animal kingdom, isn’t promoted too (outside of L!berty, Lab0ur and P!E?!?!?!

          • Helen Taylor

            Murdering people is also wrong, your extrapolations don’t hold up.

          • Numbnutter

            Not quite sure I get your point here? Jen’s argument is logically sound so far as I can see. I may not personally agree with the ad hominem attacks. But then that seems entirely her point.

            How do you tie this in with murder??

          • Helen Taylor

            Just that we don’t have freedom to act in any way we choose, you can’t extrapolate the fox hunting argument to any degree, even if you thought that was ok in the first place.

          • Numbnutter

            Ah the fox hunting – fair enough on that one I tend to agree with you – it is barbaric behaviour.

          • Shorne

            Ah yes, you try to argue reasonably but when opposed you cannot refrain from verbal violence as in ‘You pathetic, sad git!’ and ‘f**k off back to the Guardian’
            I can imagine you in similar mode when, unable to persuade your children to do as you wish, you viscously lash out. Just keep in mind your children may well remember, and not in the way you wish.

          • Jen The Blue

            “Verbal violence”? You pathetic sad git! It is truly pathetic, the paucity of your arguments on the issue. I didn’t tell anyone to “f**k off back to the Guardian”. I suggested a choice of either arguing the point OR departing for the leftist rag where the use of phrases like “verbal violence” is tolerated.

          • Shorne

            Interesting that you don’t seem to realise that you have just proved my point.

          • Jen The Blue

            You lefties have no sense of humour have you?

            If we are being pedantic, the correct phrase would be “written violence”. A concept even more ridiculous than “verbal violence”.

            Though I imagine use of such phrases by the PC left is just the next stage of criminalising opinion they don’t like by pretending to be a victim of violence.

            Having thought long and hard about it, I have concluded that someone who would even consider using such a phrase can accurately be described as a “pathetic sad git”!

          • Shorne

            Keep it up…by the way I’m a 64 year old grandfather who voted Tory and used to work in a prison, not really ‘leftie’ material. You can’t handle being disagreed with in a calm rational way can you.

          • Jen The Blue

            I don’t mind being disagreed with at all. It is just that on the subject of smacking I haven’t seen an argument against. All I have seen is opinion. Which is fine. I am not trying to change the opinion of those who disagree with smacking. I am just pointing out that they should not be trying to criminalise my viewpoint.

            Whether you are a Tory grandfather who used to be the last hangman in the UK makes no difference to me. If you use meaningless, pathetic, PC, lefty phrases like that you deserve to have all the urine extracted that can be.

            I am stll chuckling to myself…….”verbal violence”…..what next? “Vicious comforting”?

          • Shorne

            More of the same I see.

          • Jen The Blue

            Send me your address Shorne and I will send you some raw steak to soothe the bruises i caused, and some antseptic ointment for your soul.

            Shorne, I don’t doubt you are a decent chap….why would I? But hell will freeze over before I give in to the perversion of language that is PC and rampant feminism.

          • Shorne

            I wasn’t in the least bothered by what you wrote, I was just noting how typical it was of the way reactionaries respond when somebody disagrees with their rigid thinking…what on Earth has feminism got to do with it?

          • Mr B J Mann

            And YOU don’t seem to realise that that was a long way after the “discussion” was kicked off with:

            “Violence is best? Judging from the name you give yourself, I imagine your children are black and blue.”

            In the circumstances her replies have been remarkably polite and restrained.

          • Shorne

            Err..I didn’t say that.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I didn’t say you did.

            Sorry, I didn’t realise you needed it S_P_E_L_L_I_N_G – O_U_T to you.

            She was attacked, viciously, from the off.

            You are attacking her for eventually responding in kind.

            C_L_E_A_R_E_R ? ! ? !

            Oh, and I didn’t ‘shout’, I formatted to help emphasise and clarify for the hard of thinking!

          • Mr B J Mann

            Oh, and you did accuse her of:

            “I can imagine you in similar mode when, unable to persuade your children to do as you wish, you viscously lash out.”

            And don’t bother to come back with some weaselling about imagining:

            You clearly said you where imagining the mode you though she would be in WHEN “you viscously lash out.”

            NOT that you imagined she did WHEN she was in that mode.

          • Shorne

            OK then I was a Probation Officer for 30 years, 13 of which were spent working in a prison and for the first 8 I had a parallel role as a Family Court Welfare Officer. At the request of the Courts I have interviewed very many parents who had been convicted of hurting their children. All of them almost instantly reverted to violent language to justify their behaviour when I challenged them, many would hit furniture, probably wishing it was me. That is why I said I could imagine and I have every right to do so based on years of experience. You see all that said with no capitals.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Right.

            I see.

            Having spent your life in the company of people “c0nvicted” of hurt!ng their children (like those “c0nvicted” of causing harm to them by “shaking” that car crash test experts say is physically impossible for the strongest human being to deliver).

            You feel you have the right to accus3 people of causing similar harm because of your claimed recognition of their “vi0lent” language.

            Bit like that medical/psychiatric expert who used to ring up the p0lice and accuse parents of murd3r based on his “analysis” of a 30 second TV interview?!?!?

            Would you then argue that if someone came forward to say they had spent even longer working with utterly and totally harmless people who stayed that way by venting their frustrations through “vi0lent language” all those “convicted” people you worked with must actually have been innocent?!

            Oh, and by the way, if, in fact, those people were, in fact, innocent, then they were surely being remarkably restrained and peaceable if:

            “All of them almost instantly reverted to vi0lent language to justify their behaviour when I challenged them, many would h!t furniture, probably wishing it was me.”
            Especially if you were as sanctimonious and offensive then as now!

            How would you “imagine” those parents who were arrested and torn away from their child who they were taking abroad for better cancer treatment, and all the rest of their children too, felt and reacted?

            With “vi0lent language”?

            Maybe they “would h!t furniture, probably wishing it was” the officer who dragged then away from their children in a foreign country?
            How about those mothers who, because their IQ was below average (and how high an IQ does a cat or a dog, never mind a chimp, have?) have their kids dragged away from them, so that social workers can “hit” (what does t_h_a_t tell you about them?!)their adoption “targets” (and that!)?
            You often claim you’re not a lefty.
            But you seem to love “projecting” just like them!
            And, see, just like you, and unlike those “vi0lent” headline writers and sub-editors, not to mention those psych0path!c sign-writers, no caps!
            And the point is?!?!?!

          • Shorne

            You have totally misunderstood my role, perhaps deliberately. I wasn’t a Social Worker and had no powers to take children away from anybody and had nothing to do with adoptions. My task was to try and make the best of a bad job. In the Family Courts I was ordered by Judges and Magistrates to interview all the parties, including the children if they were old enough so as to try and reach a recommendation that was in the children’s best interests. In theory this should have been easy as the best thing for the children would always have been to live with both parents who were in a stable loving relationship where nobody bullied, hit or otherwise harmed anybody physically or emotionally. By definition this was not possible and I always tried to achieve the next best thing. By this time the parents would have been through mediation etc which would not have worked and I would be questioned on my report by lawyers, sometimes for hours on end. I would deal with mothers who were plainly making malicious allegations and fathers who were furious that they had to pay maintenance as well as supporting their new partner’s children. So many of them seemed to regard their children as chattels and weapons to use against each other.
            In the criminal Courts the offenders had been found guilty by a Jury, not social workers or similar. Most Appealed and over 30 years I can only remember on who was acquitted on Appeal. Examples of the offences would be prisoners who were outraged that they could not see their children when they had abused them. This was often made worse when cell searches revealed they had given the detailed Prosecution evidence, which they were allowed to have, to similar offenders as a form of pornography. I remember another who had killed his partner and placed the body in bed. Heartbreakingly one of the children brought up a cup of tea the next morning and found out what had happened. The murderer furiously demanded to see the children as he was ‘all they had’.
            So I am not impressed by you railing against me as a result of things you have read in the papers. I do agree there have been some appallingly bad ‘experts’ and I rather think the cancer treatment case arose as much from medical arrogance as anything else

          • Mr B J Mann

            And you have totally misunderstood my post, perhaps deliberately:

            It came in more than one part.

            Non of which you’ve addressed.

            Returning to your “reply”, are you now trying to paint people who give their kids a short sharp slap to protect them from running out into traffic with people who k!ll their spouses and them put them to bed to frighten the kids?!?!?

          • Mr B J Mann

            So you “challenged” v!ctims of our infamous Family Destruction Courts?!?!

            How very abus!ve and “vi0lent” of you!

            No wonder you got the reaction you did!

            Some “welfare” officer!

          • Mr B J Mann

            None of which alters the fact that you specifically referred to imagining her mode when you accused her of “viscously lash out”.

            Not the lashing out, which you specifically accused her of.

            So you think that someone who might be innocent isn’t entitled to hit furniture in frustration.

            But it’s OK for you to “lash out” passive aggressively!

          • KT Thornton

            Yeah, you sound really well-balanced.

      • Bernie Barclay

        Smacking is the best way to bring up children? ha ha ha

        • Mr B J Mann

          As I’ve pointed out, the “progressive” left insist on promoting h0m0sexuality because even animals do it.

          Although they only usually do it in extremis when they are also eating their baybees and rap!ing their females and offspring.

          So how come they don’t apply the same logic to the widespread natural physical chastisement animals also indulge in?!?!?!

    • Madi Maxwell-Libby

      Their work is disgraceful, is it? How would you propose to deal with children who go to school on an empty stomach, who don’t have a winter coat, who have never had the chance to leave their borough, who are suicidal, who are wearing shoes far too small for them, who have a reading age of half the pupils in their class, who have siblings in prison or in gangs, who have witnessed stabbings, who, at the end of a school trip, become hysterical and look you in the eye saying ‘please, please don’t let me go home’? I have volunteered for over 4 years with Kids Co and these instances are just a handful of examples. Kids Company delivers frontline services that social services are too stretched to provide. There is nothing attention-seeking or do-gooding about what Kids Co does, it is essential work that has to be done to save lives. I dare you to volunteer for a day at Kids Company and see first-hand the services they provide for children in situations you can barely imagine.

      • JabbaTheCat

        None of what you say, in any way, is an excuse for KC avoiding answering the very legitimate question to a charity, where has the money gone…

        • sherin

          Come on with a name like this ? Jabba the cat ? You are a joke

          • JabbaTheCat

            Come on with a name like this ? Sherin ? You are a joke sock puppet for Batsh*t…

          • Julie Deacon

            Jabba, make yourself known rather than hiding behind a cat.Fool.

          • mattoid

            mmmm….. juvenile name-calling. that”ll sort it out.

        • Bob

          Have you actually read the article JabbaTheCat? I guess not as if you read it you would see that there is not one legitimate question that Kids Company has not answered. It is shoddy journalism.

          • Caractacus

            They have indeed answered all the questions asked.

            But if you had read the article, you would know that the answers given contradict each other.

      • judyk113

        Since all the children are self referring, how do you know all these atrocity anecdotes (which Kids Company always puts up) are true? Have you encountered all these examples at first hand or been told about them? What processes does Kids Company use to get these stories checked out? What child protection training are Kids Company staff and volunteers getting? Does Kids’ Company not consider that it has a duty to report children who have no responsible adult caring for them or who they have decided have abusive backgrounds to either the police or social services? How do you know that social services are too stretched to provide for the kids unless they are reported and Kids Company is given access to social services’ decision making?

        • Lisa Moodie

          You raise many questions, but also imply you know the answers – that Kids Company consists on unprofessional, untrained staff, who have no safety measures in place for the protection of children, and who refuse to work with statutory organisations.
          Nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps the following may put your mind at rest a little.

          All children and young people that attend Kids Company are subject to a formal (and lengthy) assessment. These are recorded, as are any further concerning disclosures that are made. During these assessments, our privacy policy makes it clear that we may have to share this information with other agencies. We have safe guarding teams, including qualified social workers and mental health professionals. Every assessment and further concerning disclosure has to be screened by two independent workers from these teams, to input into care plans going forward, and to make any necessary referrals to Social Services. We do this in the same way as other organisations, through the proper referral process. Sometimes, the system fails, and this is indeed reported. We report, advocate, and if necessary, go to court to ensure the young person receives the service they deserve.

          Kids Company has the same duty of care as any other organisation this field, and do frequently refer cases to Social Services. We have the utmost respect for social workers and other professionals like the police, and know that like us, they have a very difficult job to do with limited funding. Not all of our young people are referred to Social Services, as often the abuse or situation is an historical one, and there is not imminent risk to the child. However, the impact that this historical abuse has had is still affecting that child and impacting on their life and decision making.

          You are correct in saying that due to confidentiality, child protection documentation cannot be shared by Social Services to Kids Company unless the child (or guardian) has agreed, but this is generally the case. As staff, we attend a great deal of child protection conferences, and work with Social Services and other agencies involved to secure the best outcome for the child.

          In terms of externally validated evidence that our work is effective, there are regular audits in addition to our own stringent recording measures. We have government audits, audits by the NHS, Ofsted and various other independent audits. In addition to this, we have partnerships with over 35 academic institutions who do their own research projects on the work that we do. On a personal note, I regularly come in contact with social workers, police, mental health professionals, teachers, judges and the like who praise the work that Kids Company do.

          Finally, the issue of training for staff and volunteers is raised. All of us are mandated to do child protection training before we commence work, regardless of if we have had it before. The therapy (or clinical supervision) for staff is a weekly occurrence, performed by clinical, qualified supervisors. This is mandatory, and part of our jobs. As our service is not statutory, we cannot mandate for the children to have therapy, although it is strongly encouraged if it is needed. Indeed, this is the advantage of working alongside statutory services, as if therapy is part of the child protection plan, we can offer this service more quickly than often statutory waiting lists allow.

          On a final note, you question the qualifications and training of the staff team. Our staff team are diverse and dynamic. Some come from professional backgrounds and have professional qualifications. We have social workers, clinical psychologists, probation workers, therapists, youth workers, CPN’s, nurses and various other professionals. We also have staff that used to live the lifestyle many of our young people do, but who have turned it around and now want to help others do the same. The combination of those professionally qualified, and those who have lived it (in many cases individuals have both), means that we can offer a service where children and young people are both cared for and understood. All staff must undergo various mandatory training, and additional training is offered every week. Let’s not forget that we also have robust safeguarding procedures as mentioned earlier.

          Frankly, I feel privileged to work at a place like Kids Company. It is upsetting that people feel they need to bring up things like Rotherham, Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris to prove some kind of point, that has nothing to do with the good work being done.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Hi Camila!;-)

        • Laura Barker

          You’re right Judy. Nobody’s in pain. No kids are getting raped by their uncles, no child is living in poverty, no local authority has ever failed to respond to warning signs because too many children who have definite bruises are on their books. They’re just all liars who are living dreamy lives full of cupcakes and kittens who are just acting out because they’ve been on too many school trips to the British Museum. What are you even talking about? Do you want Kids Company to hire personal detectives to go and make sure that children who turn up underfed in clothes too small for them are, in fact, under resourced? Would you think that’s a good use of money? I know personally that Social Services are overstretched because social workers have told me.

      • greggf

        There’s no answer to your post Madi…… you must be some sort of Heroine (or Hero).
        However in a nation where welfare is comprehensive and generally generous it does perhaps merit a thought of how it, the nation, still needs such services you provide. And my post is not some idle comment lamenting little change because I used to teach at a secondary school in Newcastle upon Tyne, now closed, where some children fitted your descriptions.

      • PaD

        where has the money gone?

      • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

        I expect their intentions were honourable. It just sounds like they also stretched their resources too thinly. If you try and give everyone unlimited help, you’ll end up being unable to help most of them.

      • Jack Rocks

        Really? Or do kids just show up for some cash and a bit of banter, then bugger off.
        That’s not “charity”. It’s stupidity.

    • Bob

      Miles,
      you journalism is very inaccurate and you obviously did not do your
      research! I used to volunteer for Kids Company and they do an amazing
      job supporting vulnerable children! First of all the Morgan Stanley
      Heart Yard is a therapy centre so you would have no more than a
      couple of children there at any one time. It is not like the after
      school clubs where there are over 100 children at any one time.
      Secondly in the summer most of the kids go on residentials so they
      would not be around the centres.
      You then claim that the Charity has never informed Mrs Woolard where her money went and then go on to say that Camila sent her an 11 page report detailing where her money had gone.
      The you say Kids Company claims to feed 3000 hot meals a
      week but then you only take into account one centre when the claim is
      made about all the centres.
      Therefore I am not sure exactly what you complaint is? All you have said is that one ex donor is unhappy and
      one ex worker. It must be the end of the world having one ex worker
      unhappy with their previous employer.
      Lastly, every outcome for a child at Kids Company is recorded on the same computer system used by Social Services so everything is accounted for. Services user questionnaires are also used every six months.
      Get your facts right before you write an article which could have a negative effecton many vulnerable children.

      • Caroline Byrne

        Thank you Bob for sharing your experiences. Im disgusted that the Spectator allowed this shambolic reporting to be published. Its easy to find one or two dissatisfied ex-volunteers in any field and the fact that this ‘journalist’ didnt bother to interview more Kids Company staff to find an opposing, positive stance, and chose to inflict great damage on this wonderful charity, potentially cutting off more donations- is disgusting. I am going to call the editor of the Spectator and express my outrage at this depraved piece of journalism. I hope you continue to stand up for Kids Company, I now want to volunteer and intend calling them tomorrow!

        • Julie Deacon

          well said

        • Molly

          Thanks Camila

          • Anon

            that’s a bit childish Molly

        • Disillusioned Ex-Staff

          Easy to look at the tin isn’t it…that is what I did..there are many disgruntled staff, far too frightened to speak up!

        • PaD

          my outrage at this depraved piece of journalism. ..

          oh come on…
          what IS depraved is labelling someone with ‘mental healt issues’ when confronted by wrong-doing.

      • judyk113

        The Kids Company stresses that the children are all self-referring. They just turn up. So how does Kids’ Company know the stories are true? What is the therapy the staff are reputedly offered, and what are the qualifications of the people who offer it? It’s on offer, but what records are there are volunteers and staff taking it? What child protection training are the staff getting? Does Kids’ Company not consider that it has a duty to report children who have no responsible adult caring for them or who they have decided have abusive backgrounds to either the police or social services?

        “Lastly, every outcome for a child at Kids Company is recorded on the same computer system used by Social Services so everything is accounted for. Services user questionnaires are also used every six months.”

        What the hell do these two sentences mean? Are all Kids Company self-referring children reported to Social Services or not?

        Child protection privacy legislation would make it impossible for Social Services child protection documentation to be shared with an agency like Kids Company without also the full involvement of the children.

        Or does the first ambiguously written sentence mean both Kids Company and Social Services use Windows computers? What are “outcomes for a child”? Number of meals eaten? Visits to a centre? Those are not outcomes for a child. “Everything is accounted for” But what is this “everything”

        What does “Services user questionnaires are also used every six months” mean? The kids get a little pro forma every six months asking them what? Who devises these “services user” questionnaires? How are they validated? What real value can they have as objective measures of progress with children supposedly abused, starving etc etc? Could they be no more than “I like coming to Kids” Company” “YES/NO/MAYBE”. Are they completed under conditions of complete confidentiality? Or are the children aware that there may be benefits to answering the questions in certain ways?

        • greendoorhandle

          I couldn’t agree with you more. Every time I have heard Camilla being interviewed she has always struck me as someone who is very careful with her words. Your comment of both organisations using Windows is spot on. The casual reader is going to take the original sentence as meaning that KC and SS are inter-connected through a mutual computer system.

          In today’s LBC interview (Shelagh Fogarty I think) she contradicts herself regarding children having been given cash, and then comes out with some BS about how society thinks only middle-class children are allowed pocket money. She can turn on a sixpence without breaking stride that one.

          She’s a professional rescuer, needs to be adored and as much as it pains me to say it… Kids Company is for her, not the children. So sad for those who work in the company and have good intentions of course.

      • PaD

        This included the claim that £44,181 of her donation went on ‘the entirety of our food budget at Kenbury [one of its London centres] between September and December 2013’.

        Are these the words of your charismatic leader or not?
        And like others commented(including professional therapists) her remarks about Joans ‘mental state’ are beneath contempt…the words of a bully and someone with something to hide.

    • greggf

      A disgrace I fear is all to pervasive Fraser.
      For example: perhaps this Kids Company scandal epitomises the reasons why Cameron, and certain other leaders, are often seen as out of touch with the common issues of the voter.

      They move in echelons of persons of a sycophantic disposition peddling an issue here or there for funding, arguing in dulcet tones often with a similar accent with a persuasive narrative and never in fear of any discouraging acrimony. They come to believe this environment is real, representative and rewarding – until, that is; they find it the opposite and, usually, just another freeloader.

      There must be a group, some would label it a cabal, of like-minded individuals as Camilla in every sphere of social connection, could we say the establishment, who have the ear of gullible leaders and politicians, and whose sole aim is to persuade them of their innate worthiness of funding despite any well hidden treachery.

      • PaD

        Absolutely spot on greggf.
        Silver-tongued persuaders feathering their own nests..been going on for bloody years.
        CB is also a Common Purpose graduate..it’s where they learn to persuade and if not successful…bully

    • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

      That’s semantic quibbling. If a private organisation (be it a business or a non-profit) can do a better job than the state, it makes sense to subsidise or outsource to it.

      The real issue is that all-to-often we don’t subject those organisations to proper scrutiny.

  • Alexsandr

    I think we need a discussion about government giving taxpayers money to charities. I think charities should raise money from the public, not go scrounging public money

    • Lucy

      Kids Company needs to raise 24.5m per year to keep the wheels turning. 90p in every pound goes to frontline services. Their end of year reports are completely transparent and they are audited to within an inch of their life by independent regulators. There are no deep reserves. With government cuts in funding for Social Services the onus on Kids Company becomes even greater and demand for help and support heightens. Kids Company are completely right in asking for financial support from the government for what they believe should be funds going towards children services in this country. “Scrounging” is a pitiful and inaccurate way to describe an intelligent approach to request funds for much needed services. The plight of these children is desperate. Did any of you know that there are over 550k calls for help each year in the UK from vulnerable children and young people. And did you know that 27% of the children in this country live in poverty? No, you probably didn’t. Perhaps if all of you read the facts instead of laying the blame at the door of someone who simply wants the best for children – and nothing else – you might direct your criticisms elsewhere i.e. to the author of this article who has written an inflammatory few paragraphs based on untruths and hear say. How can you expect people NOT to “yell and complain”. When an unjust article is written there must be an opportunity to redress the balance.

      • Alexsandr

        nice advert
        now explain why it would not be better diverting the KC funding to social services.

        • Madi Maxwell-Libby

          Riiight, you don’t get this clearly. See Bob’s point below about the distinction between child protection services and charities. Kids Company exists precisely because of the staggering shortfall in social services provision for vulnerable young people. Social services are at absolute breaking point, each social worker has far too many caseloads to be able to meet the needs of the child in every case. Kids Company exists to care for those whom social services have given up on, and to intervene early so that kids don’t end up having to be dealt with by social services. Yes, in an ideal world, there would be no need for Kids Company. But until inequality becomes less rampant and we take into account the impact deprivation and poverty has on the mental health of children and young people, the need for Kids Co will increase year on year.

          • Alexsandr

            I am struggling to understand why its a good idea to divert some of a finite amount of money available for childrens protection from the ‘proper’ social services to a charity. I understand people think JC is doing worthwhile work and seek to donate to do so which is it should be.
            Or are you saying social services are cr@p and we need a parallel child protection because of the ‘proper’ social services failing.
            BTW I dont its wrong for the gov to pay a charity for a specific service for which they have tendered. Its splurging money at a charity in the hope they may do some good that is bad government.

          • judyk113

            Could you please supply some evidence of social services being unable to provide for the children whose child protection level needs you have described anecdotally above? Does Kids Company make decisions about which children social services need to deal with and which don’t? If so, what are the objective criteria used, who draws them up and validates them, as well as conferring with social services as to whether they agree or not? Could you please supply evidence about the number of children you claim that “social services have given up on”– a really serious charge you need to give us more specific and verifiable evidence about. Which local authorities have children listed as requiring social services protection that they have ceased to protect? Why are you not alerting OFSTED and the Home Office if you have evidence of such failures of statutory provision? Or are you providing cover for the likes of councils like Rotherham?

      • Jen The Blue

        “”27% of the children in this country live in poverty””…And how is poverty defined? Some percentage of the average income……so it will always be so……even if every family in the UK were millionaires.
        Obviously there IS real poverty in the UK……but 27 % ….does that mean the kids only have Android rather than iPhones? Does that mean the state won’t buy them genuine Reebok trainers?

        • Bob

          Alexsandr you obviously
          know nothing about this area! Social Services do a different job compared to Charities like Kids Company and the Princes Trust. Social Services only support young people where there is a Child Protection concern (Physical, emotional & sexual abuse) whereas these charities support disadvantaged young people. For example they would help young people with housing, education and employment whether or not they were being abused.

          • judyk113

            But there’s all the claims in the comments from the Kids Company people above who say they are working with children with concerns which do count as very serious and urgent child protection concerns– starvation, no parental care, inadequate clothing, being trafficked, having no proper accommodation. So what’s this about social services “doing a different job” whereas the Kids Company children are “disadvantaged young people”? On the basis of the descriptions of the children you work with e.g. “I encountered children who regularly went a whole day without eating, who had holes in their shoes, who never had clean uniform, who had never left their own borough, who had never seen a real sheep (yes, really). One child’s clothes were all far too small for him, including his shoes, but were all that he had. Another child once lost a pair of socks and became hysterical at the thought of what would happen if her parents found out. ” These are clear child protection and social services intervention cases. What training do Kids Company get about child protection legislation and requirements, and how does Kids Company decide that these count only as “disadvantaged young people”? Does Kids Company refuse to refer them to social services because Camila Batmanghelidjh declares her contempt for these official authorities? Will the real Kids Company please stand up?

        • Guest

          You clearly know nothing of poverty, then, if this is your response. I have volunteered for over 4 years in Kids Company and seen poverty like you cannot imagine. In schools, in centres, on school trips, I encountered children who regularly went a whole day without eating, who had holes in their shoes, who never had clean uniform, who had never left their own borough, who had never seen a real sheep (yes, really). One child’s clothes were all far too small for him, including his shoes, but were all that he had. Another child once lost a pair of socks and became hysterical at the thought of what would happen if her parents found out. This is not slum children of WW2, this is modern Britain. I have seen in the Kids Company warehouse rails of winter coats donated and then those rails quickly empty as they are given to kids who would otherwise go without. Imagine being so poor your child has its winter coat donated by a charity. One child said to me that she would love to go swimming but that her mum can’t afford to take her. This is the reality of poverty in Britain.

          • Vila Restal

            All caused by shockingly bad parenting. Not ‘poverty’

          • PaD

            I encountered children who regularly went a whole day without eating, .

            So let me guess..you took them to their homes? and confronted their parents?..after contacting the police ?and social services.?..pressed for prosecution of said parents?
            No? yes?

        • Madi Maxwell-Libby

          You clearly know nothing of poverty, then, if this is your response. I have volunteered for over 4 years in Kids Company and seen poverty like you cannot imagine. In schools, in centres, on school trips, I encountered children who regularly went a whole day without eating, who had holes in their shoes, who never had clean uniform, who had never left their own borough, who had never seen a real sheep (yes, really). One child’s clothes were all far too small for him, including his shoes, but were all that he had. Another child once lost a pair of socks and became hysterical at the thought of what would happen if her parents found out. This is not slum children of WW2, this is modern Britain. I have seen in the Kids Company warehouse rails of winter coats donated and then those rails quickly empty as they are given to kids who would otherwise go without. Imagine being so poor your child has its winter coat donated by a charity. One child said to me that she would love to go swimming but that her mum can’t afford to take her. This is the reality of poverty in Britain. Please don’t insult those who suffer by making ridiculous comments.

          • Jen The Blue

            When did I say there was not genuine poverty? I did not. I said the definition of poverty was a farce….which it is.
            The 27 % figure given is a f*****g joke. Yes…there is some genuine poverty. But the pathetic attempts to claim it is widespread don’t help the situation at all.
            As a society, we must not let children live in despair and poverty…….but we must also realise that our welfare policies encourage unmarried, young girls to have children by paying them to do so.
            I am not saying I have all the answers……but what we are doing now is not working.

          • PaD

            are you formerly known as ‘guest’? cos theres someone here with exactly the same story…

        • post_x_it

          Valid point, and then there’s the fact that we import hundreds of thousands each year from third-world countries who have large families, no education, no English and no means to support themselves. How on earth are we supposed to eliminate poverty in this country if we continue to perpetuate this cycle?

          • Jen The Blue

            That is also true.

        • rubyduck

          If their parents are receiving benefits, they are not living in poverty. They may be abused, neglected etc. but not because of poverty.
          (Sorry I’m a bit late with this comment.)

          • Jen The Blue

            True. Of course the parents may drink, smoke and buy drugs with their benefits…..

      • judyk113

        “Their end of year reports are completely transparent and they are audited to within an inch of their life by independent regulators. ” Really? What exactly does “end of year reports” “completely transparent” mean? What evidence is gathered to support the glib atrocity anecdotal diagnoses of abuse, trafficking, emotional abuse, starvation etc for children who just happen to walk into the centres? Is this what the children tell you, unverified? Who are these “independent regulators”? Who exactly appoints them, and what are their terms of reference? Are they dependent on the information that Kids Company cares to provide them with, Are you referring to OFSTED, or some other organization? As far as I’m aware, OFSTED inspection only applies to a tiny fraction of Kids Company’s provision? Why aren’t the police and social services involved, who have statutory responsibilities, for taking charge of the cases of children suffering criminal maltreatment? What exactly does “audited to within an inch of their life mean”? The stats and the info are provided by Kids Company. How can “independent regulators” audit to within an inch of (the documentation’s?) life that the numbers of children claimed really did turn up and that numbers weren’t falsified? You’re doing a great job of parroting the Kids Company party line. But you do no more than bluster about a highly opaque operation where the claims are frankly less than credible, the evidence you offer is either anecdotal or refers to unrelated national data, itself of a highly contestable type, and there’s no documentary reference. Just like the wholly inadequate “evidence” reported as having been sent to the donor Mrs Willard.

      • PaD

        Kids Company needs to raise 24.5m per year to keep the wheels turning.

        Wheels turning? Camillas toy train you mean?

      • Mr B J Mann

        “And did you know that 27% of the children in this country live in poverty? No, you probably didn’t.”

        I thought it was 67%?!?!?!?

  • Anon

    As a former employee, I have to agree with this article. The hypocrisy, contradictions, unrealistic claims and shocking malpractice drove me out of the place, saddened and deeply disappointed.

  • trace9

    It’s clearly another case of third-world corruption & will blow up anon. Expect another inquiry costing c. £10, 3 years min. Only credulous well-meaning IDIOTS trust these people. & David Cameron. With other peoples’ money.

    • Jen The Blue

      Only idiots trust anyone in the three main parties. Or they fear voting elsewhere for letting in an even worse option.
      There is not a cigarette paper in reality between Lib, Lab, Con.
      They are all fully signed up to PC multiculturalism…they are all too terrified to tell the truth about Islamic immigration. They are too terrified to tell the truth about education. They are all too terrified to tell the truth about the welfare state.
      We are f**ked unless we break this cartel.

      • mattoid

        You see the big three as leftist? You really are a mentally ill. Never heard the phrase ‘neo liberal’? Jesus christ…..

        • Jen The Blue

          Centre left yes.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Long known as Camila Batsh*t to observers of the charity industry, it looks like the long overdue feeling of collars by plod is round the corner…

  • Ex-collaborator

    I am so glad to see Kids Company finally being scrutinised, as it deserves. I worked with them a few years ago on a collaborative research project, and witnessed almost everything that is reported here. Although I saw some brilliant, well-meaning individual members of staff doing their absolute best to help the kids they worked with, in my opinion the chaos and disorganisation of the charity really hampered their work. Not to mention how frustrating I found their (head office’s) propensity to fabricate ‘data’ regarding their impact and the number of kids they actually work with. Finally, I find it incredible that Camila categorically stated that they don’t hand out cash to young people. I know for a fact that at that time they did, and that this was well-known and defended within the charity. We (the research project) couldn’t pay under 18s in cash, since it is against research ethics guidelines, and Kids Co told us that this might be a problem as the kids were used to receiving cash from Kids Co. I would prefer Camila to stand behind their decision and justify it publicly.

    • PaD

      Well said…and please keep saying.

  • Sean L

    How can a “charity” be funded by taxation which is by definition compulsory? Otherwise it would have to rely on voluntary donations, in other words *charity*. It’s a kind of institutional fraud. The extension of the state sector/mandarin/bureaucratic/rent-seeker, choose your own term, rule by other means. It’s thoroughly corrupt, that’s to say systemically, institutionally. Thus so-called charities have morphed into political lobbyists and pressure groups. The charitable impulse itself, like fatherhood, having been usurped by the state. Though of course other forms of corporate funding can be no less corrupting.

    • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

      That’s semantic quibbling. You could just as easily ask “How can a private enterprise be funded by taxation?”

      If you think an independent organisation is doing a better job than the state could, it makes sense to subsidise it.

      The real question is: Are we careful enough about which charities and businesses we subsidise? And all-too-often the answer is a resounding no.

      • Sean L

        Yes but it’s not a private enterprise if it’s funded by taxation. Otherwise private and public in this context are indistinguishable. Ultimately meaning *is* semantic.

        • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

          But do you object to government hiring private contractors for public services? If not, then I don’t think you can object to them subsidising non-profits. The real issue is outcomes.

          • Sean L

            Who’s objecting to anything? My point is to do with language and meaning. Of course there may be cases where the distinctions are blurred. That’s another matter. I agree it’s about outcomes. But my point was to with usage rather than ideology or economics.

          • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

            That’s not part of the definition of a charity though, is it? I think it just means a not-for-profit organisation that focusses on social outcomes. Rather than having anything to do with revenue streams.

          • Sean L

            Charity is giving freely, so profit doesn’t enter into it. My point is that taxation is necessarily compulsory. Thus charity funded by taxation is a contradiction in terms. None of this implies that such bodies don’t do valuable work, nor that they shouldn’t be funded by taxation. Merely that what is charitable and voluntary should be distinguished from what is publicly funded and professional so to speak. But yes you’re right, such ‘social’ entities have come to be regarded as ‘charities’ regardless of how they”re funded. I think that’s wrong because it dissolves what I regard as a valuable distinction between what is truly charitable and what is quasi professional. This is to do what is ‘behind’ as it were the organisation, its ostensible motive, rather than any outcome it produces. Again it doesn’t at all follow that those who are publicly funded are any more or less benignly disposed than those whose contribution is voluntary.

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  • Solage 1386

    I saw Batman whilst shopping in Marks ‘n’ Sparks in Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, London, NW3, a few years ago (the exact date eludes me…) She was voluminous, majestic, trés outré, as she sailed past me in the aisle. She seemed to have a pineapple perched precariously on her bonce, and at first I presumed myself to be hallucinating! Alas, I was not! “An exhibitionist”, I decided, and moved on from the vegetable stall to the cheese counter……..First impressions count, I have always felt……I have sometimes wondered if she felt similar misgivings when confronted by my equally startling and bizarre appearance…… Probably not.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Camila has always dressed like that – or certainly for most of her adult life. She’s a big lady & her choice of dress turns it into an advantage, making her look very imposing. I think I remember her justifying it for that reason a long time ago. Often a sartorial choice made for good reasons becomes a signature dress code

      • Solage 1386

        She dresses like King Tut from the 1960s Batman series! Tut tut tut…..

        • Solage 1386

          The actor who played “King Tut” also played the “Aspiring Writer” in “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”, one of my very favourite films.”I’ve written a letter to Daddy, I’ve sent it to heaven above……..!”

    • john lyttle

      God – just how is it possible to so shallow and yet so thick in the same post?

      • Solage 1386

        I find it comes very naturally to me……..Any theories as to why?

      • Solage 1386

        You missed out a “be”!

  • http://eztv.it Dr Rob Johnston

    I am unclear, is this piece a plea for inside information — or just a vague statement of some doubts about KC? It certainly isn’t an ‘investigation’ The article raises a few general concerns but there doesn’t seem to have been any serious attempt to uncover wrongdoing or even incompetence. I hold no brief for Ms Batmanetc — indeed I’ve always found her a bit fishy — but the title of the article promises a far greater ‘exposee’ than it delivers. Will Miles Goslett follow this up with a real investigation?

  • Flight

    I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. As an ex employee there I’ve seen some horrendous waste of donors money, enormous sums of cash given to kids and staff and massive issues with boundaries with the kids, some of whom really are not being helped but hindered by the charities emotional and financial grip on them. However there are also many brilliant people doing amazing work,

    • Anon

      I agree. I saw the same.

  • Hippograd

    Who can blame Camila for fighting for her charity?

    No-one. And I’m sure she’d much rather work for free. Unfortunately, harnessing the sky-high potential of youngsters of (for example) Somali heritage isn’t cheap. It’s a shocking indictment of the UK that we’ve failed them so badly. Camila for Prime Minister! (After Sajid Javid, of course.)

  • Julia Ch

    This article is not an ‘investigation’ it’s desperate, it seems to me that this lady regrets her donation and this is separate from the brilliant work done by this charity, many times picking up children and young people otherwise left destitute. I am glad that parents have been counted in those helped! good to see a charity that sees the importance of breaking the cycle. Children become young adults and so on, good to see that they are stuck with, rather like most ‘good’ families would do with their young!

  • Robyn

    The trouble with the majority of the comments posted here is
    that you know someone is losing an argument when things get personal. The
    trouble with this article is its writer has tried to use an exposé style
    without explaining with detailed facts, real substance or reliable sources and in doing so has
    ultimately failed in his attempt to tarnish the reputation of a charity
    supporting vulnerable children and families – one couldn’t think of a lowlier
    place than where this writer is right now. The views of one seemingly
    disgruntled ex-employee (who curiously has an unknown evaluations organisation) are also debatable in respect of real authentic value. If the
    discussion is about transparency and accountability of charities then it seems
    that targeting a front-line children and families charity is not a responsible
    manner to address that particular issue. But actually it doesn’t seem that is even
    the real point of discussion here. Kids Company appears to suffer from a kind
    of organisational envy in that – there are those who only engage in semantic
    debates about how to help children best and there are those that DO actually
    help them. It’s a disgrace that The Spectator hasn’t taken the time to think
    about the very real impact that this kind of reporting has on REAL children,
    young people and families lives, given the state of their destitution.

    • mattoid

      Didn’t fail at all. Your argument fails. I can’t be bothered beyond that.

  • teepee

    For anyone puzzled by Camilla’s influence, may I remind you that she is one of the most eminent Iranian-Belgian beturbanned psychotherapists in the whole of Camberwell.

    • Solage 1386

      Is “beturbanned” a real word, or have you just made it up?

      • teepee

        Not quite sure, but it conveys the intended meaning well enough, no?

        • Solage 1386

          Yes. Precisely….. I like neologisms!

  • Alethea

    I work at Urban Academy and have been there for about 4 years. We give out bus passes in order for the kids to get to their lessons. If we didn’t give out travel they wouldn’t be able to afford to come and get their education. Simple as that. A few kids travel for 4 hours a day to attend. They’re catching up on lessons they missed at school for many reasons including illness, being young carers, mental health issues, domestic abuse, homelessness, learning difficulties, family problems, etc. At UA they can access small classes, understanding teachers, therapeutic key workers, therapy and lunch.

    I understand the need to audit a charity and the key workers have to spend a certain amount of time filling in forms to satisfy this requirement. It’s time consuming and we all hate it as we’d rather spend our time either with the kids or doing stuff to help them. However, a huge amount of the work that we do is not quantifiable and that’s what pushed me to write a comment. How do you audit the emotional work we do?

    Some of our kids have been through experiences the details of which make you want to cry with rage. Rape, trafficking, sexual and physical abuse etc. But they’ve come through and in most cases are starting to heal, learn to trust and then, amazingly, get back into education and work towards integrating back into the society that failed them. When you’re the lucky person that that young person starts to trust, when you see them start to realise you genuinely care about them,you’re reminded of why you’re doing the job. Yes, the work is hard and it’s emotionally demanding but the rewards are amazing. I’m proud to work at Kids Company. No company is perfect and who knows, maybe it wasn’t 3000 meals, I don’t know or honestly care. I was given the opportunity to help traumatised kids who need help and am grateful to Camila for enabling the help we give and to those who continue to donate.

    There are numerous genuine, emotive quotes I could cite, from things I’ve heard kids say to me or a colleague, but this isn’t the place. Just please be aware that the kids and young people we help are all real, with a mind numbing diversity in emotional and physical need. And those that are donating or supporting in any way even by commenting in a positive way, are helping us help them to get their lives on track.

    With regard to Mrs Woolard, it does sound rather sad. But let’s be realistic here, if you donate money to a charity, you can’t ask for it back if you change your mind. You have to do your research beforehand not afterwards. I can’t go back to the man I gave a fiver to on the street a year ago and say, actually, I’ve thought about it and you don’t seem as deserving as I thought, plus you didn’t say thank you properly. I imagine he’s probably spent that fiver.

    • Dominic

      This article is a socially irresponsible piece of writing. It is ill-informed, badly-researched and destructive in its portrayal of Kids Company. The charity like all charities is available for audit on a regular basis and has transparency and accountability at its core. As a front-line service it deals constantly with the fall-out from inadequate statutory provision in health, education and social care. As far as I am aware Camila Batmanghelidjh has been working openly and tirelesly towards her own redundancy at the earliest opportunity. As someone who has dedicated her whole life to extremely vulnerable, traumatised, abused and neglected children, she leads a charity that reaches those suffering from multiple and severe disadvantage. Her teams’ contribution to developments in research on personal, social and emotional development are a lasting legacy for all.

      If David Cameron listened to the work of the charity and took time to invest in researching its positive outcomes then that is wonderful news. This approach may well have been a significant factor in his winning the last election after years of the Tories being in the wilderness. It would be even more wonderful if the current government could further investigate the value of Kids Company’s methods and approach in the interests of a social conservatism that could help to regenerate the depressed parts of the UK. We need to catalyse the spirit of social responsibility, aspiration, motivation, dignity and self-worth in children and young people which the future of the UK desperately needs. The holistic approach of the charity which addresses the needs of children, families and organisations has a vision and imagination that should be replicated throughout the nation.

      Kids Company is one of the very few organisations capable of bridging some of the social and economic divisions in our culture that have the potential to be catastrophic for everyone. As someone who has volunteered in my own capacity at Kids Company I support Madi Maxwell-Libby (above) who recommends anyone to do so to find out for themselves what Kids Company contends with on a day-to-day basis on behalf of us all. It can be tough for some to survive the intense struggles that staff and volunteers encounter in managing the immense distress and pain of children and young people who have experienced extreme violence, deprivation, emotional hurt and betrayal. Perhaps the former member of staff quoted in the article was by their own admission not equal to the task of managing these demands. It takes a very special kind of compassion and commitment to address the perilous realities of the young children that Kids Company serves and we should be very grateful as a society that there are those who are capable, inspired and gifted enough to withstand and grapple with the challenges they face.

      I think that this article fails miserably in its attempt to smear one of the UK’s most loved and supported charities. Children’s charities who manage to survive and provide help in this culture and climate deserve more respect and appreciation. At a time when we see the government’s cuts to budgets for all statutory provision of services there is so much to be learned from the third sector and all it is contending with. It is also a time to celebrate the philanthropic and entrepreneurial spirit which we need to cultivate in ways that can potentially bridge the statutory, private and charity sectors. My hope is that an article like, this contrary to its aim, serves to galvanise the forces of collaboration, courage and endurance required to bring the long-term solutions our society needs.

      • judyk113

        There was a time when Jimmy Savile’s charity was one of the UK’s most loved, and Savile and Rolf Harris were amongst the most loved and admired figures, not least because they claimed to be able to reach out to and attract the confidence and admiration of children, and to raise fantastic amounts for charity in ways that the social services and the official provision didn’t. I am not of course suggesting that there is any sexual abuse of children on the part of either Kids Company or Batmanghelidjh. But simply trying to trash the very concerning information in this article on the basis that Kids Company is so well loved and Batmanghelidjh is so totally dedicated to the cause of children just doesn’t cut it.

        • dirty little secret

          agreed, and slightly weird that they take on elderly, public school perverts to their training courses then.. a clear example of someone hiding in plain sight…

    • judyk113

      If you say you’re dealing with children who’ve been trafficked and sexually and physically abused, how did you verify that, given that the workshops are self referring and how did you involve the police and social services in supporting children subjected to serious crimes? What are the numbers of such children among the 36,000 Kids Company claim to be supporting? Or doesn’t Kids Company regard itself as being subject to the law on reporting such matters? What qualifications and training do you and the other workers have for supporting children claimed to have suffered so severely? What externally validated evidence do you have that your work with children is effective and changes their life circumstances if you haven’t done the sort of serious background investigation that it normally takes weeks of careful investigation it takes social services to do?

      • Alethea

        In the time I’ve worked at Kids Company, yes I’ve dealt with many young people who have been either trafficked and or abused in some way (abuse being the more common). Not everyone I work with has been through one of these experiences, but most have experienced some kind of abuse or trauma at some point. In terms of verification, we tend to believe the kids. This may sound odd to you, but really, if you think about it for a few minutes, why would they lie? (Not sure what you mean by workshops but am assuming you mean the service we provide).

        The staff doing the assessments – mostly social workers by the way – are trained to do them. Some of the assessments are very emotional as sometimes a young person will be telling their story for the first time and it’s heart breaking to hear. I am constantly amazed at the trust they put in us at this very early stage. It takes a skilled worker to draw out their story (to an appropriate level), support them through it and let them know they’re believed and will be helped.
        And let’s say for the sake of argument that the occasional young person is not telling the truth, for some reason they’ve exaggerated or completely made something up. No harm is done to anyone by this (except maybe worrying a staff member), but huge harm is done when a child or young person is not believed. I’d rather we erred on the side of over believing that the other way round. And what evidence should we be asking for, especially at this stage? As has been mentioned, much of the abuse we hear about is in the past (the yps I support at the Urban Academy are the older ones aged between 16-23). Hard indisputable evidence of the kind I imagine you’re asking for is not available or practical and nor is it responsible to ask for it. All the evidence I, as someone who does assessments, need is in the words and eyes of the person I’m listening to.
        Why would someone make it up? I guess they might be trying out a disclosure to check out the safety of the response, perhaps with a view to telling their real story later. Or maybe they have a mental health problem, in which case their story may not be literally accurate but they’ve come asking for help in an indirect way. Or maybe they’re just in need of attention. Again, they’ve come to the right place.
        The assessment is just the starting point. The work is long and ongoing and part of that work is helping someone to work out and live with their truth, whatever that may be.

        • mattoid

          social workers? unpaid volunteers? another case of ‘fund the shortfall, don’t pass it on to charities’. don’t the social workers deserve that much, never mind the children?

  • Johnwillettssocialist

    Strange hat

    • Fatima.

      I have been reading and following this for the last two weeks. Every time I stop myself from commenting as I have never done this before. I was also hoping that someone will actually say how grateful Kids Company (young people and staff including Camila) are for Joan Woolard’s donation.
      I think she is generous beyond belief. I am sure she choose Kids Company as her charity of choice to donate that high amount of money because of her belief in the work they do. I don’t think its helpful to attack her or in that case attack Camila for making changes in young peoples lives. God bless them both.

      • Johnwillettssocialist

        Erhum…….she’s still wearing a strange hat

  • sherin

    This is clearly a deliberate and sustained process that aims to damage the credibility and reputation of Camella and Kids Company. Sorry to see there is no mention of all the children who are cared for by kids company, as usual they are not noticed.

    • JabbaTheCat

      Where has the money gone?

      • mattoid

        cabbies

  • Lisa Moodie

    I have read the blog about Kids Company by Genevieve Maitland Hudson, who you quote in this article. It was supposed to be an opinion piece supporting that charities, particularly those who receive some form of government grants, should be more transparent and accountable. Although it did allude to charities as plural on a few occasions, the focus seemed to be on Kids Company. The reason for this? Genevieve worked for the organisation for a year, and clearly left with unhappy memories. It’s unfortunate that the opinion piece, which raises valid points about accountability, comes across as more of a smear campaign than a legitimate article.
    All organisations, whether charities or not, will always have disgruntled employees. I don’t disagree with Genevieve’s point that there should be accountability for charities – all organisations with stakeholders should be accountable. What I do disagree with is that she has used this point to bring an entire organisation into disrepute.
    The reason I think this article affected me so much, is that like Genevieve, I too was a privileged, educated white woman from a loving and unbroken home, that started employment at Kids Company in 2008. I never met her, as I worked at a different centre, but her experience and mine couldn’t have been more different. A qualified youth worker, I had worked in the field for nearly nine years before coming to Kids Company. This was mainly in Australia, where I ran programs for young people aged 15 – 25, primarily focused on employment, education and training. I also used to attend other centres around Australia, to train staff and ensure best practice. In addition to this, I have also consulted in setting up a youth centre in Petrinja, Croatia.
    Genevieve is right when she says that Kids Company is not an ordinary working environment, but unlike her, this is the very reason that seven years on, I am still at Kids Company. I have never worked in another organisation that allows me so much scope to really connect with the young people I work with and find creative solutions to support them with their difficulties and empower them to move forward. This does not mean that my work is not monitored, and there are a number of measures in place to ensure I am producing effective outcomes. Kids Company is intense (although I have never witnessed, nor heard about, violence between staff). When you have so many disturbed children and young people in one place, things are bound to be intense. The staff team, like the young people, are diverse and dynamic, meaning that every child will have someone they can relate to.
    It feels very much like a family to me, a dysfunctional family where many of the children and young people have been through some horrific experiences, but a family none the less. Like all families (and indeed most work places), there will always be some disagreements, but to question the integrity and professionalism of the staff team as a whole does not sit right with me, because it is not something that I am used to experiencing.
    Having not worked at our Urban Academy where Genevieve was based, I can’t emphatically deny what she experienced. However, I do not believe it could be so terribly different from the centre I worked in at the same time. The main difference would be that the Urban Academy was a relatively new centre at that point in time, and may still have been establishing itself. It was also a time where we started to experience a greater influx of young people. When an organisation grows quickly, sometimes it takes the framework a little bit of time to catch up.
    Some cash, along with bus passes and food vouchers, were given to young people weekly at this time to those who were attending education with us. This was because at the time we were not officially recognised as an educational facility, and young people attending education with us were not entitled to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which they would have received if they were in college. This also prevented a number of young people to commit criminal offences in order to live. Clients were required to do a budgeting form with us, so we could both ensure they were in need, and also so we could assist them with paying off their debts and the like. Times have now changed as we have become a recognised educational facility. We still provide food vouchers and bags of food, primarily for those with no recourse to public funds (and still undergo the budgeting form process). We also provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late dinner for all clients who would like it.
    It makes me sad that Genevieve did not feel safe. Working at Kids Company at ground level can be very difficult. Those who come from a statutory or office environment often find it hard to adjust, as we just don’t have the same rigidly formal set ups that many of these places do, and that’s why the young people feel so comfortable with us. Our less formal approach is what allows us to build trust with the young people quickly, as they feel as though they can express themselves. There is always the threat of violence, and there are going to be fights between the young people – kids also fight at school, at home and on the streets. When you are working with the most vulnerable, disturbed children, the threat of violence is always going to be greater. However, this is why the staff are so wonderful. Incidents are contained quickly, talked through, retribution made and ongoing support and therapy offered. If a young person is temporarily excluded from one of our centres, we continue doing outreach work with them to work through the issues. Safety of both young people and staff is paramount, and reviewed on a daily basis. There is also a great deal of support for the staff, including clinical supervision, but as I said earlier, Kids Company is a place that not everyone is suited to.
    A young man came to see me on Friday. He is a long standing member of Kids Company with a severe personality disorder and various other issues. He has come to see me four times over the past ten months, disclosed an awful lot of concerning information, but then disappeared off the radar. I questioned him about this on Friday, and asked if he wanted our support. He told me that he comes when things get too much for him. It’s the only place he feels as though he can honestly discuss his circumstances without being judged, and that he feels safe and cared for. He called Kids Company his pocket of safety. He said that just being able to have that space and feeling as though he was being heard, gave him the strength to be able to go back into his life and cope with everything he is dealing with, that he thinks he should be able to handle on his own.
    I don’t disagree that charities should be accountable – all businesses with stakeholders should be. I know that apart from the internal checks we have, that a number of external audits by various agencies have been conducted, because I’ve met some of the people conducting them. Our work has to be recorded. I don’t work in our finance or quality control departments, so I can’t comment on the finer points about where the money goes, but I do see the work (and expenditure) in practice that happens every day, and do not have concerns about wasted money. The fact that there is no mandatory inspection shows that we are willing to be transparent by the audits that have happened. I know that Ofsted do also audit us, as I have been present during Ofsted inspections.
    The main difficulty there is in this line of work, is how difficult it is to measure. Hospitals can be measured on the number of admissions and discharges, the number of broken bones set and the like. Police can be measured on the number of arrests and convictions. How do you measure the length of time it has taken to gain a young person’s trust enough to disclose her brother raped her between the ages of 5 and 10? Or the time it takes for a young person to trust you enough to tell you they’ve been hearing voices, but didn’t want to tell anyone in case they were sectioned? Or the time it takes for a young person to trust you enough to discuss a video of her that has gone viral of her giving her boyfriend oral sex, and then to disclose he is beating her and has said he will get his ‘young g’s’ to beat her too, but that’s normal, innit?’ Or for the time it takes for a young person to trust you enough to tell you that they were nearly stabbed because they wouldn’t hand over their bicycle to someone? These are all disclosures I’ve heard in the past two days, and this is not unusual.
    How do you measure the work it takes to get to this point when they feel like they can share their stories, and the work and time it then takes to convince the young people to speak to the police, mental health service and any other statutory service in place to help support them? It’s easy to give tangible statistics of how many young people were assisted into work for example, but very difficult to measure the work behind this – convincing them to stop criminal activity, to exit gangs (and ensure their safety), and build their confidence.
    It’s also very important to note that the children, young people and their families that seek support from Kids Company are not mandated to come. We can’t sanction them or arrest them if they don’t comply, and they often dip in and out of our service. This often happens when they have finally told us their secrets, and it becomes overwhelming. You can’t say that you are going to record all statistics around one young person for two years, and expect them to be fully engaged during that period in order for us to do the work with them.
    I found it interesting that later in her article, Genevieve again used the example of the Urban Academy to highlight that the figures don’t add up, saying that they only supported 320 young people in the last year. The Urban Academy is one of our smallest centres. The one I work in has literally thousands attached to it.
    My team personally look after around 250 young people, and is just one team of many at our centre. We have many and various centres, do early intervention in a number of schools, and also do outreach and detached work.
    To insinuate that Kids Company is not effective because of the problems within Southwark and Lambeth is also borderline slanderous. We are one charity, and are located in many different areas, not just these boroughs. There are also many other charities located within Southwark and Lambeth, and other areas of the country. There is no discussion around the schools, social service, police, mental health teams, probation or youth offending services in these areas, no suggestion that they are not effective. In saying this, I do want to stress that I have the highest of regard for these organisations, but Genevieve’s insinuation is that Kids Company is responsible for the crime rates and exclusions from school, and indeed all the problems associated with the area. Kids Company and these other organisations alike are all working hard to tackle these issues, and with all the funding cuts it is difficult for all of us. Southwark and Lambeth are two of London’s most deprived boroughs, with a population increase steadily on the rise, and there are always a new generation of young people.
    I have worked alongside many various professionals from other organisations, and have had the work that Kids Company do praised by the police, social services, judges, schools, mental health services, substance abuse services, youth offending services and the like.
    Holding Kids Company responsible because the number of assault related injuries, permanent exclusions, homicide, gun and knife crimes is ludicrous. Violence is a huge concern, and I work with the age group that are more likely to be victims and perpetrator’s, and many are. However, we have also exited a number of young people out of gangs and violent activity. I hate to think what the statistics would be like if organisations like Kids Company did not exist.
    In her article, Genevieve paints a dim view of our founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, and the media spotlight which is often shone on her. Personally, I feel fortunate to work for an organisation with a leader that will continue to battle for awareness and greater funding to support our vulnerable children, who isn’t scared to face public criticism. The money is used to support the people in our society who really need it, and I know this because I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Camila will fight until there’s no breath in her body on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves.
    Genevieve brings up the See the Child campaign. The point of this campaign is not to raise funds for Kids Company – no one is saying that we should be any more entitled to financial support than any other charity. In fact, as we were preparing to launch, Camila spoke to us and said that she hoped that this campaign would have such influence in changing statutory systems for the better, that she would be able to close Kids Company. I for one would be delighted if this was the case, because it would mean that there was a more fair and robust
    system to protect children in place.
    Genevieve seems surprised by Camila’s distrust in the government, which has recently seen cuts to many key departments such as Children’s Services, the Police, the mental health sector and the like, which leaves even more children vulnerable. I don’t claim to have a vast political knowledge, but I have seen the impact these cuts have made, with more people accessing our service, and more people struggling to get the statutory support that they deserve. I don’t see anything wrong with getting together an independent task force of some of the most well-informed, educated and experienced people together from various sectors to give the matter of child protection and ongoing support careful thought and consideration. Surely this is better than decisions being made by politicians who have generally not had years of experience in these areas? The See the Child Campaign is about putting a robust, answerable system in place.
    To conclude, I wholeheartedly agree that any organisation with stakeholders, including Kids Company should be subject to scrutiny, and we are. But I strongly disagree that an ex-employee with an axe to grind feels it is fair to run an organisation into the ground under the guise of something else. I would like to finish with some quotes from the young people I’ve worked with, so their voice can be heard. These are from the young people in the team that I manage, STRIVE, and the young people are aged 14 – 23 years.
    “The STRIVE team have helped me through a really bad time and without them I would be in a really bad position. I am really grateful for their help.”
    “It’s amazing still though. Food provided means people don’t go home hungry. Helps keep people on the right track, innit? Help looking for CV’s & jobs.”
    “They have helped me get a job and see things in a different way. If they weren’t with me a court things would have went wrong. This is a new start for me.”
    “I brought my friend here because I know Kids Company and you guys can help us, I always tell my friends if they are having a problem that you are here.”
    (From a young person in prison) “Thank you for your letter, it has made me feel much better about myself and to know that people remember me in such a heart lifting feeling.”
    “They have helped provide food and gaining employment. Without this service life would be much harder. I have been part of Kids Company for years and it is like family.”
    “They have always been there for me. They give me time and they are kind and friendly. If the STRIVE team were not around it would be really bad for me. They are like the back bone, they keep my head straight and screwed on! “

    • Disillusioned Ex-Staff

      Lisa you lie..since when do the Arches provide breakfast for instance?? Although The Arches was the flagship centre the Urban Academy was not new at the time Genevieve was working there, it was well established and at that time changed management! At that time staff were not recruited correctly and was unqualified for the job, especially around Keyworking as there was no clear job description or training attached, at that time even safeguarding was non existent! I think you would live in a ‘bubble’ not to know that there were many ‘disgruntled staff’ the organisation has a very high turnover of staff and I very much doubt it was the nature of the work, more the nature of the organisation and its management; so to suggest an ex-colleague has an ‘axe to grind’ is unfair, I think it is fairer to say she is brave enough to voice her experience and concerns! there is no doubt that some staff do brilliant work and is appreciated by their ‘clients’

    • PaD

      well that’s the advertising done
      …now where has all the money gone?

      • PaD

        plus your comment was so long and meandering it felt like an explanation for a cult..

  • goldjaz

    This article has no moral stand. The whole story is a basket
    of gossip. The intentions to discredit
    Camila are so bad that, although unverified, the comments of the
    former employee Genevieve Maitland Hudson who has forgotten her reasons for
    leaving Kids Company are taken as true facts. However, none of the credible
    audits that have continuously been conducted on Kids Company seem to be of any
    interest to the author of the article.

    It is unbelievable how far ignorance can go.

  • R. H. Bowan

    Agreed. The likes of the Harris Foundation, ARK, and Future Academies should have their funding removed and their assets returned to state ownership and control where they belong.

  • Julie Deacon

    What has this article told us? Nothing. Its a few anecdotes from a former member of staff who worked at the charity years ago, oh and a rehash of a complaint from a donor. Having researched that donor, by the way, it appears she’s a prolific complainant on just about everything going!

    Yes, she gave a large donation but does that give her licence to trash an amazing charity with wild accusations which don’t seem to stand up?! BTW, the ex member of staff (who clearly has delusions of grandeur) needs to re-read her blog, it’s incomprehensible. She’s blaming Kids Company for hospital admissions not decreasing in two heavily populated London boroughs , and this woman is a research scientist/doctor! Then there’s the hack who put this nonsense
    together…well…it’s hardly Woodward and Bernstein is it!? Full of vague
    speculation and unattributed sources.

    I’ve had many friends who have volunteered at Kids Company and they only have
    positive things to say about it. This ‘journalist’ is something of a key-board
    warrior. Why doesn’t he get off his backside, be constructive and do something
    to help disadvantaged children and their families? Disgrace

    • Disillusioned Ex-Staff

      Julie..pot..kettle springs to mind..instead of citing friends and dismissing an ex-staff member’s account get off your backside and go volunteer yourself and come back and tell us about YOUR experience!

    • PaD

      ok but where has all the money gone?

  • Anon

    Kids Company has many dedicated staff members who help hundred’s of children and young people but it’s ‘open door’ policy is a farce. Children and their families from all over London are subjected to a deep and intrusive assessment, on the promise of receiving support but the truth is that the vast majority do not get any support, especially if they do not live close to Camberwell. They are still registered as Kids Company clients, hence the inflated figures that are touted. It is a shame that the excellent work that is done by some exceptional staff members and volunteers, is undone by a gross misuse of funds. There are many staff who are paid large salaries for doing little or nothing whilst others burn themselves out trying to hold the whole thing together, offering help and support to their clients.

  • Lisa Maria Idge

    ”“We have toddlers with rickets, 10-year-olds who look like seven-year-olds. When you see adolescents looking skeletal you understand why they join a gang.” So where is the responsible adult? “There is no responsible adult caring for these children. There’s a gaping hole in the safety net. There is no allocation of resources to the lone child.”’ This is in Jay Rayners piece in the Guardian. A toddler with malnutrition is basically instant child protectiona nd police involvement, a 10 year old with 3 years of non organic developmental delay is serious indicator of child abuse and neglect, and a child with no responsible adult is a child protection matter. None of these children would be functioning at all without multi-agency involvement in their lives, and even in the unlikely event of this being unnoticed, them fronting at Kids Company would demand a child protection referral from them. To put it bluntly, this is nonsense and outright lies on behalf of a PR team at Kids Company. Outright.

  • Pe Nelope Kay Greenhough

    a user perspective….. one aspect of fundraising disturbs me. Without denying that deliberate abuse and neglect clearly exist there are much wider, more complex social, personal and economic issues at play here and there is still a whole heap wrong with conflating poverty and deprivation with abuse and neglect. Demonising struggling parents and pathologising children indiscriminately for fundraising purposes is unhelpful for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is the impact on vulnerable childrens developing identity within the context of wider society… nevertheless, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of real-life, subjective experience as opposed to the self-justifying, box ticking pointlessness of our current social and mental health and welfare services whereby people are coerced into jumping ever higher bars in order to access increasingly costly support services which do not work, I can categorically state that compared to related services paid for by the taxpayer at far greater cost and waste and frequently appear to work directly against their declared objectives, there is an awful lot positive and right about this charities practical approach to alleviating the immediate and long-term distress of marginalised people deprived of environment, education, housing security, socially and economically functional parents, choice and opportunity by providing a very real, familiar, accessible and reliable safety net for vulnerable families otherwise let down by much more expensive public services. the reality is, that children must not be made to suffer for the sins of their parents, real or perceived through the the lens of political rhetoric… which in effect, this is. right wing propaganda journalism, aimed at furthering the agenda of those who want the people who have effectively been shut out of the economy while suffering its worst deprivations and most of The Blame to sit down and shut up. ill-informed and destructive. this will affect real children.

    • mattoid

      ‘much more expensive public services’. yes; they have to pay their workers so they can eat and house themselves.

  • Molly

    Her father was a doctor who claimed he could cure cancer by drinking lots of water, allegedly

    http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/batman.html

    • Anon

      water probably don’t hurt!

      • Molly

        Water is very good. It is vital. I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. He was clearly passionate about his theories and must have helped many people. It is a shame that the site the article was posted on has the unfortunate duck connotation.

      • mattoid

        Water killed Lea Betts.

  • Anon

    To me, it seems the hidden agenda to this witch hunt is actually race, since Kids Company help a lot of black children. There I said it.

    • post_x_it

      A disproportionate number of them are failed by their parents, especially absent fathers. This is hardly headline news.

    • Disillusioned Ex-Staff

      Actually it holds the Black Children back and playing the race card gets funding in…wake up and smell the coffee…there I said it

  • Lydia Robinson

    This charity does very good work. What is shocking is the truly dreadful behaviour of the adults supposedly responsible for their care. It’s this behavior which isn’t being addressed.

  • AdrianThePsychotherapist

    I worked for Kids Company for around 3 years in many of the locations mentioned above. I was overwhelmed by the enormity and importance of the work being done by them and only left in order to re-calibrate myself. I will never forget the ‘conveyer-belt’ of need arriving at the door. Even now I shudder at the memory of the scars and the frozen faces I saw on young children – mostly the consequence of neglect and cruelty. How could such a relatively prosperous country allow such need to exist only a short hop from Buckingham Palace? The work stunned me and prepared me for the career I am still devoted to.

    I am appalled at societal indifference to childhood poverty, and neglect. Alice Miller makes reference in her book ‘Banished Knowledge’ to at least 95% of the prison population having been abused or seriously neglected in childhood. Without Kids Company and any others who model themselves on their example, governments and corporations would do little if anything for the plight of our vulnerable and exposed young.

    I currently work in a public care setting, and I can assure you that now, in 2015, there is still chronic institutional neglect for people in crisis. I hold enormous trust in the amazing and cost-efficient work that Kids Company delivered. The breadth of their work was enormous and I read here that they do even more now.

    The help given was certainly not limited to food, they turned lives around on a daily basis and implanted hope and belief into the hearts of children and their families. They trained parents to be parents, taught children to love and respect themselves and caused hundreds of people like me to face-up to the chronic void of care in our once ‘green and pleasant’ but consistently self-absorbed land.

    The qualities and standards Kids Company taught me have now benefited the other areas of care where I work. NHS Patients tell me, “you go the extra mile”. Kids company showed me how to do that. Their devotion must be embarrassing for governments who are determined to take short cuts and to compromise quality in each and every area they tamper with.

    Kids Company woke me up with a shock. I like many others are now exploited by the NHS who continue to abuse public money on a scale we have yet to truly discover. Give me Kids Company any day. There is no charity quite like them. Whatever it costs pay them – they get the job done. They lift standards and reach thousands of poverty struck and emotionally starved young people who have all but lost hope in the platitudes of the powerful. I was utterly disappointed in this Spectator article. It seems contrived and extremely limited in it’s sources.

  • Zack

    I’ve been doing some volunteering work for Kids Company since October 2014, providing private tuition for GCSE. In addition, I volunteered for them last Christmas Day, helping organise their food hall at The Oval cricket ground. Thousands of people came, mostly families with young children, to take advantage of the delicious hot meals that were on offer as well as the entertainment. And every young kid received a present. Due to lack of public transport on Christmas Day, a whole army of cabs was recruited to take each and every family from their home to the venue and back again. And the entire cost of everything – food, entertainment, presents, and transport – was borne by Kids Company. For families living in deprived urban areas who face poverty and all sorts of other correlated issues, I can imagine that this must have made an absolutely huge difference to what they are normally used to during Christmas. Thus, if my experience is anything to go by, I can only say the best about this organisation and hope that it grows and continues to thrive so that it can offer this level of service to more and more people in need of it.

  • PaulaHammell

    The story here is heavily reliant on a Genevieve Maitland Hudson who appears to using Kids Company to tear apart in order to gain some kind of worthy elevation on her ego. From what I have just read about her elsewhere, she appears to be somewhat uncomfortable when in close proximity to different cultures to her own.

  • PaulaHammell

    Oh…. I also see that Genevieve Maitland Hudson is connected with an organisation called OSCA. On their website they name ‘partners’ as being the NHS, the BBC, the City of Westminster, Kent County Council, the Cabinet Office and many others. I hope that Genevieve will now be busy investigating these partners who currently trust her.

    Lets start with OSCA partner the NHS shall we? Currenty the NHS is promoting a service called IAPT. IAPT / NHS is part of the biggest fraud in the history of mental illness, where hundreds of thousands are people are wrongly assessed and given inappropriate psychological care. See what Oliver James has to say about it in many newspaper articles.

    What people need to understand is that there are some truly devoted people who know how to get into the heart of poverty stricken communities, and who know how to talk to and connect with people who are very disconnected and, can do so in a very real and responsible way.

    In the tick box world of OSCA ‘partner the NHS, they assess people, give them a less than basic treatment and then utterly dump them. However, these people truly need help from someone who can stick with them and help them learn how to get on track in every area of their life. None of them have had the backgrounds of Genevieve’s learned colleagues or their extremely wealthy and manipulative clients.

    Many of OSCA’s ‘partners’ are actually up to their necks in the causes of social problems, only paying lip service to care. BT have a long history of improper conduct and of misleading the public. As for the councils! Say no more. Take OSCA’s their gambling partner, The National Lottery. Yes, we can look around for worthy projects which they have kindly invested in but, simply stand in the newsagent in a built up area and look at the cost to society of a queue of people addicted to Camelot games. Watch them spend their children’s food money on ever more lottery tickets and scratch cards. See how nearly every corner shop in a deprived area has also become a ‘casino’. A huge amount of lottery money is hoovered up by government and operating costs, let alone spent on projects which at times are of extremely dubious value to the community.

    I don’t know about Kids Company finances and expenditure. I am sure though that if government tried to deliver the same quality they would fail spectacularly as always. I can’t help but think that Genevieve Maitland Hudson has betrayed the people she claimed she was there to help. I feel the Spectator could do better.

    This is a destructive and cruel article from people who seem to have their own issues to work through. In my view it was an agenda informed by their own social prejudices. Many people offer views on the socially excluded, mostly they resent the needy and don’t like being near them. Occasionally, as here, they try to destroy what help such needy people are getting. Journalism is easy when you have divided loyalties. Just throw a grenade and walk away, then cuddle up to your new paymasters.

  • Seldom Seen

    I’m always suspicious of over-weaning self-publicists dressed in such as a way as to scream: ‘Look at me! Look at me! I’m important’

  • John welsh

    Similar to the way Mother Theresa ran her mission. See ‘the missionary position’ by Christopher Hitchens.

  • Duza Stosic

    Miles’ and Genevieve’s march on Kids Company

    The two articles have no moral stand. Miles is reliant on Genevieve’s memory to
    make his accusations against Kids Company, so I just thought to drop some facts
    about her performance while she was with us at the Urban Academy.

    How can Miles Goslett and Genevieve Maitland Hudson, from their bird’s eye perspective, see what is happening on the ground and understand Camila’s diligent care and effort to support the most vulnerable people from the bottom layer of society?

    For Genevieve Maitland Hudson, the Kids Company environment was not a safe place. She came to the Urban Academy assuming it was going to be like
    giving lectures at Oxford University. The reality was very different: she was at Kids Company’s Urban Academy surrounded by ex-offenders, clients who were angry because they were hungry, others who had spent nights on the street without sleep, etc.
    Genevieve Maitland Hudson was not ready for this kind of challenge.

    When I took over Urban Academy in September 2008, I could not believe that such a place existed. There, I found young people who were excluded from everywhere:
    their homes, schools, PRUs and society.
    I will never forget how I was greeted on my first day at the Urban Academy entrance.

    “Hello Miss, remember me?” I heard , “ I was at Gloucester Primary School and
    you excluded me”.

    The young person was a student at Gloucester Primary School and was excluded at a time I was Deputy Head Teacher. At that very moment I realised how tough my
    new job as Head Teacher was going to be. After thirty years of experience in
    education, I had to learn how to do my job differently. This time, to deal with
    challenging young people in a more humane way: to look for the reasons not at the consequences for their challenging behaviour, to emphasise the
    importance of inclusion, not exclusion, to provide help not punishment for their anger and arrogance…
    Genevieve came to Urban Academy soon after my arrival. She came to work as a volunteer to help our clients twice a week ,but after a short volunteering period she requested to be paid for her services or she said she was going to leave.
    The Urban Academy was still a drop in centre but our team was working together on converting it to a Centre of Excellence. It took us a lot of time, effort, hard work and patience to achieve the status and the success was celebrated across Kids Company.
    This happened on 22nd May 2009… Genevieve was still at Kids Company but uninterested to share the joy of our first achievement. She rarely came to work on
    time. She used to walk in in the middle of our morning briefs complaining about a very bad transport.
    In her blog Genevieve Maitland Hudson is particularly critical about the Urban Academy. The way she describes her former colleagues is totally unfair. She undermines their extremely challenging jobs and commitment to try to turn their clients’ lives around. Genevieve did not understand that their job was to fulfil some of their very basic needs by making sure they had some food to eat and somewhere to sleep. Some of the clients would come to us just to eat and to hang out refusing to communicate with anyone. The Keyworkers
    task was to encourage them to open up and to start communicating with others
    which was not an easy task to achieve.

    Education is offered at a later stage, when the young people start gaining more confidence and self -esteem. And with all the hard work, love and support they receive from the team of people on a daily basis, the majority are successful in achieving their independence and personal goals. It is sad that Genevieve Maitland Hudson, a highly intelligent and internationally recognised lecturer (?) is so disrespectful and dismissive of a place where young people come to ask for help after being rejected by everyone else. She found it difficult to connect to and nurture the type of young vulnerable people who come to Urban Academy from the street.

    However, Genevieve did once show emotions when she decided she wanted to foster a young person that she has been keyworking. She had the best intentions, I am sure, but she openly talked about it to everyone in the centre which stirred up quite a lot of noise among the staff.

    In May 2009, she arranged, with Head of Arts, to move from the Urban Academy to Head Office to do more administrative work. On the list of jobs she said she
    did at Kids Company she forgot to mention the most important one: she was Head of Education. Yes Genevieve Maitland Hudson was Kids Company Head of Education. She managed to stay in that position for a few months before she left and never returned to Kids Company since.

    Until now, five years later, like a ghost from the dark she is trying from her rather distorted memories to paint the Urban Academy’s staff and clients with colours of contempt, failure and hatred…

    Luckily, in this country there are so many real human beings, so people like Miles and Genevieve are easily recognised as unhelpful and selfish.

    Nevertheless, Kids Company is always ready to help people in need regardless of their intentions, age, race or background.

    So, Miles and Gen just let us know, if you need some therapeutic support our therapists are here to help.

    Love is all it takes.

    • Disillusioned Ex-Staff

      Isn’t strange how our perception differs, I saw this article and Genevieve’s blog has been more concerned about the overarching management of Kids Company and its outcomes rather than the ‘attacking’ of staff performances; which then must question as to why would current staff members want to attack ..interesting! As an ex-member of staff at Kids Company

      • Duza Stosic

        Hello disillusioned
        You are hiding behind the curtain telling off one by one Kids Company staff members for producing counterarguments to Genevieve’s memories.

        Did you teach our clients at Kids Company to react in the same way to different views and opinions?

        Did you teach them to get angry and without acknowledging different points of view tell people that they are “chatting shit”?

        I think you made the right decision to leave Kids Company.

        You have retracted your last sentence in the comment. I think the best would be to retract all of it. I have learned from my experience that people who react impulsively often had to do so.

        I wonder how much you get paid to make a fool out of yourself by writing ridiculous comments.

  • http://www.mtn-i.info Mike Tims

    Are we really supposed to believe that Miles Goslett didn’t know that the Charity Commission had cleared Kids Company of failing to account properly for Joan Woolard’s generous donation, when he attacked the children’s charity’s reputation in his article “The Trouble with Kids Company”? The Commissioners found that Kids Company’s report to Joan Woolard was entirely consistent with its accounts – last year!

    And, is it really plausible that he was unaware that as long ago as last November, Kids Company had insisted that concerns about Joan Woolard’s well-being should be treated “strictly confidentially” and with the “utmost sensitivity”? Because when he tried unsuccessfully to sell the story to the Daily Mail last November, Kids Company demanded that the newspaper’s proofing lawyers ensure that Goslett should be specifically asked to protect Joan Woolard in this way. The Mail, unsurprisingly, didn’t touch the story. Despite this warning, two months later Goslett alleged in the Spectator that the charity’s founder Camila Batmanghelidjh had “distastefully” raised concerns about Joan Woolard’s mental well-being. In doing so Golsett has harmed the reputation of both women.

    It’s incredible enough that he should have ignored the fact that his most damaging claims about the reputation of the charity and its founder had been so categorically contested before publication. And let’s not forget his award-winning investigative journalistic swagger in claiming that he had “investigated
    the charity for several months”. Or his casual dismissal of Camila
    Batmanghelidjh’s invitation to visit its operations – for fear of her “charm”!

    Incredible too, how this ‘investigation’ missed the huge number of google results that reference academic research into the effectiveness of Kids Company, the results of government and independent audits, and the generous thanks given to Joan Woolard in Kids Company’s 2013 Annual Report and again in its 2014 Summer Newsletter!

    But now it emerges – in what is surely the most cynical betrayal of the children’s
    charity’s reputation in the saga so far – that Spectator editor Fraser
    Nelson redacted Camila’s Batmanghelidjh’s response to both allegations from her
    letter of reply!

    Here’s the paragraph of Camila’s Batmanghelidjh’s letter to the Spectator that Nelson did not want his readers to see:

    “What is surprising is that your journalist wouldn’t visit Kids Company for fear I
    would ‘charm’ him when we really wanted to simply demonstrate our processes and correct his information. Notably when previously this article was going to be
    published, we asked in writing for our concerns about the donor’s well-being to
    be treated strictly confidentially. They haven’t been. We also made clear the
    Charity Commission were entirely satisfied with our reporting in relation to
    the donor’s complaint, but this has been left out, leaving your readers with
    the false impression that we failed to account for the donor’s money
    appropriately.”

    The Independent Press Standards Organisation should have something to say about all this. But in the meantime, full publication of Camila Batmanghelidjh’s letter in the next print edition of the magazine, and online, is surely due –
    along with an apology.

  • Laura Barker

    This is a very weird article. There are loads of, ‘Hmm, what about this?’ type statements, that are more vague implications than any kind of investigative journalism. There are also some errors – it’s implied that children are all eating meals at one place rather than at 4 centres. Also presumably the amount of children eating at Kids Company has grown since 2013, so the figures are old (2 years out of date). Where are the latest figures? There is no discussion about whether JSA is actually enough to live on, or how children are supposed to learn how to manage their finances independently if they are always given vouchers or travel cards rather than cash. This reads more like the beginnings of an article – the notes someone might take at the beginning of their investigation, with some weird inferences about charm thrown in. When is the finished article coming out?

  • Paul

    I hope Kids Company Trustee Chairperson Alan Yentob instructs Vice Chair Richard Handover to carry out an investigation into all the allegations and counter-allegations being made to establish the facts, make recommendations and advise the public of his findings.

    The children, public and staff needs confidence in Kids Company and its reputation that a Trustee review would achieve.

    • Disillusioned Ex-Staff

      Doubt it, they ignored a very senior member of staff about 4 years ago who went to them with their concerns about how the Charity was managed and its MD’s focus on celebrity limelight!

  • JoGo

    I am saddened by the article on Kid’s Company.

    As a daily service user of Kid’s Company invaluable support and facilities, I have experienced and have seen first hand children’s and parents’ lives turned round when all other agencies have failed to provide appropriate support.
    The writer of the article would not see in a couple of day visits the incredible job this charity does. And where he writes about former staff members being unhappy, I know from my daily contact many employees who are there for years and still love it despite the challenges.
    Kid’s Company may be big but that is because more and more families need to access their help.
    Kid’s Company is the only charity which gives “wrap-around” care which aims to help a family with most issues they are unable to take care of themselves. So, a day or two spent counting who eats a meal in Kenbury can only give the barest glimpse of the other help families are getting.
    I have been attending the centres for near on a year and in this time I cannot underestimate the help and support my children and I have been given that was not available anywhere else.
    It is understandable that with any organisation there will be individuals with differences of opinion but I feel strongly is just and fair to look at the huge amount of good work done by Ms Camila Batmanghelidjh and her charity.
    I would like to point out that under other circumstances I do not fit into the category of persons needing to access Kid’s Company services but for the moment I have to.

    • Mr B J Mann

      “Kid’s Company is the only charity which gives “wrap-around” care”

      Says it all!

  • c.semple

    It is true that clients and staff were paid with cash in envelopes. They have since cleaned up on this starting a little after this article came out. The number of clients being helped is inflated. I had a friend who was supposed to receive treatment (hypnosis for smoking) referred by keyworker this was over 2 years ago she has not been seen but someone else that volunteered with Kids Company as well as being a client was give the treatment for the same problem and it worked.
    Her son as well who has the same keyworker has not received any help in the last two years because said keyworker got a promotion and they have been reassigned another one and you do receive help without having a keyworker at the arches. There are some really great staff there like Lisa, Derek and Lee( although he is unbearably rude and curt at the best of times). You are rewarded for bad behaviour there ( cry loudly and swear blind and you will be attended to quickly if you are humble and quiet apparently you are coping and you don’t deserve help or you can wait).
    There are staff there as well that are prejudiced against Jamaicans and do not want to help them. Did not want them ‘volunteering’ as cleaners when they opened the centre over the road from the arches. I am not Jamaican but I saw this they even told clients not to hang around with the Jamaicans because they are from a similar diaspora to the client. Even keyworkers would say stop acting like ‘yardies’. They do good work but there is so much wrong at Kids Company.
    Many people come to work at Kids Company to leech off the women clients with different projects that attract funding and does not provide legitimate help, jobs or progress for them later in life but to pad the person’s pockets. Anything that provides camaraderie, socialising. solidarity and friendship is deeply frowned upon unless some Kids bigwig is heavily involving in the project and promoting their money spinning end of things.
    The Christmas Party what a farce. Nice idea but the amount of food that was wasted at the end of the day. They even brought security guards to prevent volunteers from giving food to clients at the end knowing wilfully that they would be chucked away. The share amount of volunteers with their different coloured t -shirts that worked on the day but at the end of the day when they were needed to help clean up were simply not seen and could be counted on one hand.
    Some staff are really great fighting for their clients but others are just there to take advantage of clients ( keyworkers having sex with vulnerable mothers just last year i know of one) and get paid for projects they attach their names to with little discernible change to the lives of the women in said projects but when most of Kids Company clients are irregular immigrants who really cares.

  • sarah wynter

    I find it strange that this comment came out on the same day as the amazing article in the EVENING STANDARD. I smell a rat. I think it sad there’s so much jealously around such an amazing charity. I wish Kids Company and their clients nothing but success.

  • Sten vs Bren

    “They worry that Kids Company has become too famous, untouchable, and now acts as a drain on well-meaning donations that might otherwise go to better causes”

    Yeah; that’s the trouble with charity; its reach is entirely arbitrary.

  • Tom Fahey

    What an excellent article. It’s sad that careful, balanced and extensive investigative journalism like this is no longer the norm, and we’re instead beset by articles citing anonymous, unverified sources of the sort that regularly appear in The Guardian, only to be dished up by the BBC, again, without any checks of authenticity.

    • mattoid

      Oh, of course, the ‘left wing bbc’ trope. the bbc trust; tory run for ten years, with an entirely tory political panel. that bbc?

  • brockbabe

    This is such a poorly researched and presented article. It basically pits Camilla against Woolard and without one bit of firm evidence aims to destroy a charity working with the poor. This will make people run away. Of course working with school s and parents is working with children.The adults don’t seek advice for any other reason. Why would CB put her neck on the line and make such claims about Woolard? dangerous thing for a psychotherapist to do not to mention a public figure like CB.I am really unhappy with the innuendo and taking the word and statistics of one woman without any firm evidence to support your suggestion of at best mismanagement. At heart what people are going to interpret is much worse. So sad for the charity, the community and journalism.

    • The_greyhound

      The article makes clear that there s a case for KC to answer – not wanting to believe it changes nothing.

      • brockbabe

        I have no problem in believing facts. I have a lot of problem believing rumour and innuendo. Suggest you scroll down and read Mike Timms.

        • The_greyhound

          Fine. But you can’t expect Woolard to do the Charity Commissioners job for them. A journalist’s investigation is only ever going to turn up the anecdotal (not the same thing as innuendo or rumour) – the forensic process must follow. Or do you believe that KC and its founder are automatically above any reproach?

          • brockbabe

            I do not believe any organisation is above reproach but it has been suggested that Cameron is infuriated at Batmanghelidhjh’s criticism of the government and consequently a relatively small organisation makes itself vulnerable.Cameron knows they are far from being a big corporation like Amazon and he knows the politics of innuendo will bring Kids Co and others down quickly. I think there needs to be an independent review because as we can clearly see the mud has already stuck.I am involved with a tiny charity and we have very little resources. The amount of energy that goes into fundraising and trying to please politicians and bigwigs from various foundations takes away from the actual good practical work we do and is ludicrous.Cameron has made it very clear he has little time for the poor and a lot of these children have already fallen foul of the system that does not serve their needs, a perfect storm increased poverty and less useful help means disaster for the children and ultimately the community.

          • No Man’s Land

            ” it has been suggested that Cameron is infuriated at Batmanghelidhjh’s criticism”

            Now who is dealing in innuendo?

            If this is a political attack it’s a very risky one, the sort of thing that could topple a PM were it exposed.

            Speculating I’d say this is an organization which has gone to war with itself. But then my view of history is that of cock-up not conspiracy.

          • brockbabe
          • No Man’s Land

            Interesting article, but it also implies she is difficult to work with and runs an organization that’s in constant crisis, albeit for the best reasons. I don’t think it takes us much further.

          • brockbabe

            I also don’t usually subscribe to conspiracy theory either.This woman hasn’t been sacked and she hasn’t left the organisation she has taken up another position.The Government have insisted she no longer holds the position of CEO and from everything i have read it is because she won’t take no for an answer,responds to childrens’ needs and refuses to obey a rule that means she has to turn away a child. I can see that makes her cavalier but there isn’t any shred of evidence anywhere to suggest she is crooked or dishonest as is implicit in this article. If we can always find it (cash) for bankers why can’t we for children. Giving a child money in an envelope if it means it is fed, is more than any social services department has the freedom to do.It is exactly like the NHS you can’t budget for it, you just have to find it and to assume you can always make care efficient means you always have care that is deficient. I am sad at the potential loss of someone who has given voice to childrens’ suffering. I worked in Public Service for a long time and the sense of hopelessness for a lot of children and their families often sets them on a deviant path.

          • No Man’s Land

            I’m glad you raised the point that handing children cash in envelopes isn’t necessarily a bad idea. This is the part of the affair which has troubled me most. After watching business and research grants be handed out I came to the conclusion that they’d be better off handing the money over at random with the promise that there’s no strings i.e. red tape attached. Although I do understand that governments want to be show money is spend wisely, it’s laudable even, I just doubt its effectiveness.

            So, yes, in principal I don’t see any problem in handing over an envelop of cash. I suspect it’d be cheaper and more effective than engineering some clever ‘targeted’ scheme.

            I doubt she is crooked, there is no evidence of that, and I get the impression she has a lot more integrity than the average person. I’d like to know more before passing judgment, but I do find it curious that the government would want to continue to support KC but aren’t willing to do so with her in charge. If it was a purely political vendetta it would be easier to withdraw the money from KC rather than make this a personal battle? I suppose it’s possible to cock up a conspiracy..

          • Mr B J Mann

            People DIE in the NHS because of budgets and lack of cash.

            Perhaps KIDS are dying in the NHS because “we” are “finding” TAXPAYERS money to “give to charity”?!

    • Mr B J Mann

      Didn’t they try to make out one of the Mid-Staffs Hospitals whistleblowers had mental problems too.

      Well, that turned out well, didn’t it!

      I wonder what brockbabe at all were saying when the “poorly researched whisleblowers pitted their claims against Mid Staffs and without one bit of firm evidence aims to destroy an NHS Trust working with the sick. This will make people run away. Why would Mid Staffs and the QCC put their neck on the line and make such claims about Whistleblowers? dangerous thing for a psychotherapist to do not to mention a public body like QCC. I am really unhappy with the innuendo and taking the word and statistics of one woman without any firm evidence to support your suggestion”?!?!?!

  • UriahOlathaire

    This article is a a hatchet job no doubt “suggested” by Westminster or Whitehall.

    • The_greyhound

      The article was published in February; Government took action in July.

      • cartimandua

        Government have offered no alternative service and have cut all the other budgets too.
        More kids joining the ranks of violent criminals? Oh goody!

        • The_greyhound

          The remedy is quite clear, and has nothing to do with KC. Restore the legal status of marriage and family, restore parental discipline and authority, particularly of the father, hold parents responsible for the behaviour of their children, confine women who whelp outside matrimony to Magdalene laundries. Executing drug dealers would help too.

          • mattoid

            But no suggestion as to how to achieve this.
            what a moronic statement. If executing drug dealers/smugglers works, why are thailand still killing people decades later? Prohibition is counter-productive.

            Idiotic, simplistic, ridiculous and immature.

          • Mr B J Mann

            But how often are they Brits who think that the “War on Drugs” only means using drug laws in the war against “real” criminals the police haven’t got enough other evidence on, but the “real” criminals had some drugs on them when they were arrested.

            Brits who assume the police will turn a blind eye like back home in Blighty and they will be let off?

            One thing is for sure, they never do it again, do they?!

  • cartimandua

    Before KC the street children would get nothing and the kids too nuts to be managed in schools or foster care would end up in secure units.
    They(KC) deal with really disturbed and dangerous kids.
    They deal with children whose parents are doped on the sofa. They deal with kids
    who are dirty neglected and not fed.
    Why doesn’t the government either
    A man up and demand adequate parenting
    or
    B provide these services near to or in schools and colleges. Problem is the violent kids who have been excluded.
    There is no alternative for most children. There are 500 thousand children referred to social services a year but only 37,000 can be offered any service at all.
    Perhaps the KC detractors would like to offer an alternative because currently there just isn’t one.

    • David Prentice

      We know your preferred method of dealing with the “problem”. Cutting off the supply at source, eh.

      • cartimandua

        And that is your answer forcing more children to be born to addicts

        and the mentally ill? That’s not much of an answer is it?

        Have you read her book?

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shattered-Lives-Children-Courage-Dignity/dp/1843106035

        “Shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Prize 2006* Shattered Lives bears witness to the lives of children who have experienced abuse and neglect, and highlights the effects of early traumatic episodes. Chapters take the form of letters to a child capturing their life experiences, hugely impacted by sexual abuse, parental substance misuse and loss, leading to feelings of shame, rejection and worthlessness. Batmanghelidjh offers understanding for those baffled by these hard-to-reach children and warns against stigmatizing them for their problem behaviour. In her critique of existing structures, she exposes the plight of children who are overlooked by the authorities and denounces those who value bureaucracy over the welfare of the individual child. Society’s failure to acknowledge the truth of their experiences and act to change the environment in which such mistreatment can flourish is, she strongly argues, leading to the death of childhood. The book is a clarion call for change.”

    • Mr B J Mann

      “They deal with children whose parents are doped on the sofa.”

      Are you saying they aren’t all locked up and the key thrown away?

      Are you saying the problem is the police and authorities haven’t been taking drugs seriously?!

      They have no trouble taking a kid away from parents who smoke tobacco.

      Or even arresting parents who overfeed their kids (or DOGS?!?!?!?!)!

      So how come we’ve got a MILLION parents are doped on the sofa?

      Or is another problem that the parents are single and didn’t learn the first time that sex gets you pregnant?!

  • cartimandua

    Even NHS CAMHS clinics have a very hard time “proving outcome”. I remember one KC stat though. None of the kids in their orbit rioted. Their peers did doing millions of pounds worth of damage and inflicting violence on many.

    • Mr B J Mann

      But don’t the KC say themselves that they gave them cash direct to stop them rioting?!?!

  • Fraser Bailey

    I have no doubt that this ‘charity’ is just a racket like all the others. I would imagine it employs more people than it helps. Still, if it relieves idiots like Coldplay and J K Rowling of their money, that can’t be bad.

    • red2black

      ‘just a racket like all the others’?

  • cartimandua

    500 thousand children are referred to social services every year for neglect and abuse.
    Only 37,000 are ever offered any kind of service.
    So whats your answer look the other way and live in an armed compound?

    • Mr B J Mann

      Aren’t there a million kids for every year?

      So they are claiming that HALF of ALL children are referred to social services for neglect and abuse?!?!?!?!?!?

      Or is it actually the same 37,000 kids re-referred each school year!!!!!!!!!!

      • Grumpthasaurus

        I think that “cartimandua” may actually be “Camila”.

  • Ramon Battershall

    Spectator readers are bang-on with this one. She’s dreadful 🙁

    • cartimandua

      And who else ever worked with excluded dangerous kids? Who else even thought about the neglected and starving not picked up by social services?
      The alternative would be for government to man up and tell parents they must be adequate parents.

      • Mr B J Mann

        If social services weren’t so busy taking kids away from smokers, people who don’t believe in same s-x marriage, and the like, and giving them back to druggies because THAT’S discrimination we might not need children’s charities.

        And they might not “need” to con little old ladies out of their homes.

        Especially when the little old lady has worked the family home farm for free expecting to become the next custodian, only to be thrown out on the streets homeless and penniless by the “Charity’s” legal arm when her parents kick the bucket after having been charitably talked into signing it over to the cats home, or whatever.

  • cartimandua

    Camhs clinics “count” consultations with schools or work with parents. Its called multidisciplinary and it is best practice. You have to work with everyone around the child.

    • Grumpthasaurus

      Are you Camila?

  • cartimandua

    The cost of the riots was 133 million. None of Kids Company’s client children rioted.
    A great deal of the work done is done by volunteers (ie it has no cost). So well done for the hatchet job.
    There is an underbelly of children who fall through every net. They will without help become criminal.

    • Kevin T

      How on earth do you know “none of Kids Company’s client children rioted”?

      • Grumpthasaurus

        Absolutely. Utter tosh.

    • Chingford Man

      None of your “client children” may have been convicted. Only a minority of those rioting were ever brought to justice. That is something entirely different.

  • Seldom Seen

    An overweaning attention-seeking, self-publicist who looks like an overdressed version of Carmen Miranda…

    • cartimandua

      Who sold her own home to offer a service to kids who are our version of street children.
      What have you done for other people apart from bitch at those who do something?

      • Kevin T

        So who cares how the money donated to her charity is being spent or if they’re telling lies?

        Do you have a connection with this charity by any chance?

      • Seldom Seen

        Far more than you could ever imagine. But the difference between me and her is I don’t need the oxygen of publicity.

        • Grumpthasaurus

          She’s so obviously a classic histrionic narcissist it is amazing nobody spotted her tendencies towards fabrication earlier. “Oh but look at the disabled trafficked child prostitute over there! Just loook darling!” Sigh.

      • Mr B J Mann

        So she’s living on the streets then?!?!?!!?

  • Precambrian

    If any child is in poverty in this country it is not for lack of money. Child benefit and tax credit provides enough to feed and clothe them. Throwing more money is no solution.

  • davidofkent

    Is this not the problem with some charities? Donations may tend to keep rather a lot of people in lucrative employment. I would never give money to some of the more well-known British charities because it is perfectly obvious that they are political and enjoy high salaries which IMHO are inconsistent with being a charity. It is notable that many charities now employ a lot of people to constantly bother existing donors with frequent requests for donations and legacies.

  • researchseven

    I am not in favour of Charities.There many in Britain and certainly too many in the N.H.S.
    I remember Kids Company starting over 17 years at Winton Primary School Islington N1 8AZ Feeling as I always do that goats have kids and that the charity needed the children more than the children needed the charity.
    Please let there be investigations into all charities and their use of donations and grants

  • anon

    If the government had taken the same line with the BeatBullying charity as they have today with Kids Company, maybe that wouldn’t have ended as such a car crash.

    Charismatic founders can be great charity leaders in the early stages, but at a charity matures and grows, the fact that they founded the charity, and have enormous passion for the cause, does not automatically make that person the ideal person to run a business. Despite being a charity, charities are businesses, and need to remain solvent; whether funded by voluntary donations or government grants, they have a duty to be more transparent to stakeholders than a private business.

    It will be interesting to see if stepping aside as Chief Exec does enable Camila to optimise her talents and focus on working with children, and maybe act as a fundraising figurehead, and her nature allows her to accept other people coming in and truly manage the organisation.

    I hope that the senior staff that stepped down recently as they were not able to continue working with her feel vindicated now – all credit to them.

  • beenzrgud

    So, incompetent at best and maybe even dishonest. For all her charm it seems Batmanghelidjh is ill qualified to run a £muiltimillion operation. Her job title should probably be changed to colourful fundraiser, and her responsibilities should end there.

    • Grumpthasaurus

      I would have said: histrionic narcissist with a magpie heart… but let’s hope there’ll be a forensic audit and we’ll actually find out, eh?

  • Sten vs Bren

    The Government is keen to remove state support for vulnerable people and send them off to charity. If they are hungry, if they are troubled children, if they need housing etc. Then it attacks the charities because they are insufficiently accountable; part of the reason that the State took over these services in the first place, after the war. So we’re back to square one in seventy years. Spiffing work.

    • cartimandua

      With 100s of thousands of children neglected abused and in some cases actually not fed.
      Because God forbid anyone should suggest people only have children if they are able and willing to be adequate parents.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Earlier you said that “500 thousand children are referred to social services every year for neglect and abuse.”

        And that: “Only 37,000 are ever offered any kind of service.”

        But aren’t there a million kids for every year?

        So are you claiming that HALF of ALL children are referred to social services for neglect and abuse?!?!?!?!?!?

        Or is it actually the same 37,000 kids re-referred each school year!!!!!!!!!!

  • jim

    Trust No One.

    Anyone who is as fond of the limelight as this one may as well be wearing a bell around her neck.

  • davidofkent

    Being of a cynical nature, I suspect that many charities tend to be ‘good little earners’ for their founders and employees. Whether the work they do is actually charitable could probably not stand too much investigation.

  • SP_Davies

    2013 Annual Repot shows £11m spent on staff, out of about £23m income. Of this 23% was from taxpayers. One person was paid between £90 and £100K. More of a Quango than a charity.

  • cartimandua

    Do all the people rubbishing CB have any idea at all about how few children actually get a service from our public services?
    You probably don’t care until they knife you in an alley.

    • Mr B J Mann

      First emotional blackma!l.

      Now phys!cal thr3ats.

      How about scrapping young 0ffenders !nstitutions and procedures, lowering the age of cr!minal responsibility, and telling people who claim that kids don’t know the difference between right and wrong but are mature and developed enough to vote at 16 where to go?!?!?

    • Grumpthasaurus

      Well… how much good did she actually do? Handing out wads of cash to whomsoever shows up to the centres and is less than 18 is hardly effective public service!

  • Cincinnatus

    As an Iranian who dresses up as a Nigerian, Camila Batmanghelidjh is a bit of a Rachel Dolezal.

    • Bonkim

      More like Bird of Paradise.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Only half Iranian.

      And half Belgian.

      That ethnicity so well known for it’s colourful clothing and flamboyant headgear!

    • Grumpthasaurus

      I wonder what the clothing bill to the ‘charity’ was…

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  • William Murphy

    Kids Company plainly is not a “charity”, whatever its legal status. The moment it received government money (extorted by threat from the taxpayer) it ceased to be a “charity” and became just another branch of government – just like numerous other phoney “charities” still shamelessly begging for genuine donations from the ignorant public.

    • Bonkim

      Raising money for charities is big business – lucrative for some.

  • cartimandua

    Not only does CB speak about the lack of services (or even political rhetoric) about child abuse and neglect in this country she was told about abuse rings with
    establishment figures in it.
    Government doesnt want to know about any of it.

  • wibbling

    I’m confused. Here’s a charity doing the work for which we already have a huge, incredibly heavily staffed, massively funded government department.

    Yet this department gives money to the charity to do it’s job.

    Now, we either don’t need the department or we don’t need the ‘charity’. I don’t care that Kids Company might be doing good work. It is a tacit acknowledgement that the state department *isn’t*. As for all these companies giving their money to it – that’s called tax. Tax money better spent on creating jobs.

    If this is a charity, it can survive on charity. If it’s a subtle back hander for the state, then it shouldn’t get any of my money. I already pay people to do that job.

    • Bonkim

      Care in the community I suppose – and charities needs funding you know. I bet Cameron is looking at ways to cut wastage. Many more like this that do charity work with public funds. It is an industry.

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  • Bonkim

    Camila what’s her name’s colourful clothes would put off any mentally deranged inner-city kid. More suitable for a gaggle of Birds of Paradise.

  • Ches A

    This Government has abdicated it’s responsibilities to support the most vulnerable people in our society while protecting the interests of and funding the wealthy. This completely amoral government who uses lies and propaganda to demonise the poor the unemployed and the disabled while playing down the rampant greed and corruption of those fortunate enough to be born wealthy and or a valuable skill they can exploit. Money and wealth does not trick down to the masses but selfishness greed lack of empathy or care for others weaker than you has and is making the word a more dangerous place to live in. We are returning to same attitudes that fostered Hitler and the Nazis, colonialism and the trans atlantic slave trade but with modern weaponry available to all. WE are quite naturally horrified at the massacre in Tunisia but accept as necessary american drones killing people in select parts of the middle east both actions are unacceptable crimes yet drones are sanctioned by the powerful. David Cameron is critical of the management of Kids Company but his government has been busy withdrawing support for the most vulnerable. If there are issues with the management of Kid Company they do not compare to the disgraceful evil actions of this government who are using the deficit to dismantle the welfare state for ordinary people and proving up the welfare state for the rich.

  • Chamber Pot

    As an aficionado of the 70’s American cop series ‘ Cannon ‘ it always seemed to me miraculous that not withstanding William Conrad’s vast girth that during gun fights and in between ducking down between parked cars he was never once hit by a stray bullet …….but I digress. Camila is clearly another of those achingly worthy latter saints (the list is a long one) anointed by the Guardian who has turned out to have feet of clay.

    • Gilbert White

      Well when Cameron said he wanted a big society , I did not take him literally.

  • Gilbert White

    Have a real problem with foreigners coming to my country and finding so much good to do. Uganda to York for instance opposite to Guy Fawke’s birthplace. Fars where the quasi illegal but lucrative trade to Dubai begins has so many poor street kids. What is it about the UK that it so magnetic to so many good hearted people who want to spend the British Taxpayer’s money so freely and exhaust their basic empathy and compassion so readily. On a small note the charity shops are full of childrens shoes.

  • cartimandua

    A report came out today highlighting how many young people are sleeping rough.
    Government never like people to speak truth about child services or in this area the total lack of them.

  • Minky Mono

    I have got experience of working at Kids Company and there is no doubt in my mind that they help kids to build better lives. However it seems a chaotic place with very few management structures in place, I found the staff more challenging than the children!

    Having spent time working in some of the poorest slums of Africa where there was no running water or sanitation….people living in mud huts with one rug per family to share and often days without food….I was put off Kids Company after attending the Christmas day party….yes there were some very deserving kids/families there but I was left feeling very cynical afterwards.
    Free taxis anywhere you wished with a bag of goodies ….people loading up black bags with food (whilst dressed in new designer clothes) and the general feeling that it was a free for all and certainly a way to save money so a good bet.

    When i asked another Kids Company employee what this was about they said it was cultural….Having witnessed hungry kids in African slums I actually just saw it as greed. People can get benefits in most cases and have clothes and shoes and most roofs over their heads.

    I know that the most deprived of Kids Companies clients have very little but i really feel that they need to find someway to separate the most needy from the free wheelers ….because i didn’t feel everyone was so in need at this event it wasn’t what i had expected in any shape or form, it did not match up to the appeal they made for funding.

    Camila sat in a tent giving out money….again this felt uncomfortable very Svengali and more about her needs I felt.

    The slum dwellers i worked with in Africa were not grabbing all they could like they were at the Christmas party in South London they seemed to have more dignity, they teetered on the edge of existence on a daily basis.

    I am sure that Kids Company do great work and help to support some of societies most vulnerable…I salute Camila but think someone needs to have a look at who they work with….and separate the wheat from the chaff….they say they turn nobody away which is great but people really take advantage of this.

    • Sten vs Bren

      Christmas is a time when some people like to get together and have drinks, food and presents. The description of Christmas as ‘cultural’ is quite correct and would explain the jollification to which you seem to object.

      I like the sound of this ‘giving out money’. Many charities blow the lot on administration.

      Your ‘slum dwellers’ may or may not have more dignity (?) but I’m not sure that it’s worth trading one set of people off against the other.

  • greencoat

    I think Kids Company is what’s commonly known as a Fakecharity.

  • Mr B J Mann

    If she’s half Persian, why does she dress like she’s a refugee from Nigeria or something?

    Is she married to a Nigerian?

    Or is that the national dress of Belgium (from whence her mother hailed)?!

    • Jel

      Her accent is also somewhat suspect, sounds like she has ‘acquired’ a Caribbean accent, not the accent one would associate with an Iranian/Belgian girl who attended Sherbourne school from age eleven then spent the rest of her life in the UK.

  • Gilbert White

    We need a charity to protect, confused but socially reponsible pensioners from being persecuted by charities.

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  • Knives_and_Faux

    She’s a clucking funt, that is all.

  • http://www.mtn-i.info Mike Tims

    Are we really supposed to believe that Miles Goslett didn’t know that the Charity Commission had cleared Kids Company of failing to account properly for Joan Woolard’s generous donation, when he attacked the children’s charity’s reputation in his article “The Trouble with Kids Company”? The Commissioners found that Kids Company’s report to Joan Woolard was entirely consistent with its accounts – last year!

    And, is it really plausible that he was unaware that as long ago as last November, Kids Company had insisted that concerns about Joan Woolard’s well-being should be treated “strictly confidentially” and with the “utmost sensitivity”? Because when he tried unsuccessfully to sell the story to the Daily Mail last November, Kids Company demanded that the newspaper’s proofing lawyers ensure that Goslett should be specifically asked to protect Joan Woolard in this way. The Mail, unsurprisingly, didn’t touch the story. Despite this warning, two months later Goslett alleged in the Spectator that the charity’s founder Camila Batmanghelidjh had “distastefully” raised concerns about Joan Woolard’s mental well-being. In doing so Golsett has harmed the reputation of both women.

    It’s incredible enough that he should have ignored the fact that his most damaging claims about the reputation of the charity and its founder had been so categorically contested before publication. And let’s not forget his award-winning investigative journalistic swagger in claiming that he had “investigated the charity for several months”. Or his casual dismissal of Camila Batmanghelidjh’s invitation to visit its operations – for fear of her “charm”!

    Incredible too, how this ‘investigation’ missed the huge number of google results that reference academic research into the effectiveness of Kids Company, the results of government and independent audits, and the generous thanks given to Joan Woolard in Kids Company’s 2013 Annual Report and again in its 2014 Summer Newsletter!

    But now it emerges – in what is surely the most cynical betrayal of the children’s charity’s reputation in the saga so far – that Spectator editor Fraser Nelson redacted Camila’s Batmanghelidjh’s response to both allegations from her letter of reply!

    Here’s the paragraph of Camila’s Batmanghelidjh’s letter to the Spectator that Nelson did not want his readers to see: “What is surprising is that your journalist wouldn’t visit Kids Company for fear I would ‘charm’ him when we really wanted to simply demonstrate our processes and correct his information. Notably when previously this article was going to be published, we asked in writing for our concerns about the donor’s well-being to be treated strictly confidentially. They haven’t been. We also made clear the Charity Commission were entirely satisfied with our reporting in relation to the donor’s complaint, but this has been left out, leaving your readers with the false impression that we failed to account for the donor’s money appropriately.”

    The Independent Press Standards Organisation should have something to say about all this. But in the meantime, full publication of Camila Batmanghelidjh’s letter in the next print edition of the magazine, and online, is surely due – along with an apology.

    • cartimandua

      Spot on

    • Mr B J Mann

      Of what relevance is it that the “Charity Commission had cleared Kids Company of failing to account properly for Joan Woolard’s generous donation….. The Commissioners found that Kids Company’s report to Joan Woolard was entirely consistent with its accounts”??!?!

      The fact that they properly booked the figures in the right columns is of no relevance.

      Unless someone wants to distract from the facts at issue

      Similarly, of what relevance is it that “Kids Company had insisted that concerns about Joan Woolard’s well-being should be treated “strictly confidentially””?

      Unless they are trying to keep it under wraps?!?!?!

      • cartimandua

        You re struggling there. They passed every audit about money and efficacy.

        • Mr B J Mann

          So did Enron!

          Not to mention every bank and every other. Institution that had to be bailed out!!!

    • Grumpthasaurus

      And, for example, the fact that it was essentially functionally impossible that the centre in question could have fed that number of children? There needs to be a full audit done of this quango. I for one am not buying what Camila has been selling for so long, and she appears to my eyes as a histrionic narcissist with a thin grasp on the truth all too used to blustering her way through any criticism or doubt. The chips have fallen, lets see where they actually lie…

      • cartimandua

        What the government gave them was a tiny amount of money. Replacing that service s impossible.
        Each child n care costs 1 million per child.
        Out of 36,000 very dodgy children how many will end up n care now?
        Far more than 3. Social services have a fast trigger now and no money for less severe neglect or preventative work.

        • Bonkim

          So what? A society can only help to the extent it can afford to do so. People suffer – self made problems.

        • Bonkim

          Chuck them behind walls and throw bread now and then. Don’t deserve any better. Set up camps in Cumbria or somewhere, give them land to grow their own food. We don’t want to know.

  • Jack Rocks

    If you want to know the value of a charity, simply find out how much the CEO pays herself.

    • cartimandua

      She raised 160 million and she s a trained therapist. Shes not just a bean counter.

      • Jack Rocks

        Are you suggesting that raising £160m with bull, bluster and fakery then spaffing it all to no good effect is virtuous? Or that having the qualification therapist qualifies you for anything at all?

  • John Cook

    for a well respected and loved lady her profile search comes up with some weird searches , wealth , where she stays has has been removed for DATA PROTECTION REASONS ? when i check out other directors of 5 top main charities they are transparent and in full ? so if theres nothing to hide ?

    • cartimandua

      She has been threatened that’s why.

      • John Cook

        so her data has been removed , i checked others on google who have been so called threatened and nothing has been removed just tweked on wiki a little. they have nothing to hide

        • cartimandua

          ts not just about her. The victims were told they were at risk.
          She protects and the police protect witnesses to or victims of historic abuses.

    • Grumpthasaurus

      I do not buy her stories. I think she has got away with it for a long time due to her overwhelming flamboyance and constant appeals to the most emotive of cases and subjects whenever challenged. I think she and the “company” needs to be THOROUGHLY audited and investigated for likely fraud.

    • cartimandua

      Because she was threatened with violence perhaps because she might have been told who was n those abuse gangs.

      • Bonkim

        Don’t speculate – unless you are privy to the KC inner circle.

  • Bonkim

    Why was she paid £90,000 a year if it was a charity and she a volunteer?

    • cartimandua

      She is a trained therapist and in case you don’t know that training is as long as a doctors training.
      Would you expect your GP to work for free?

      • Bonkim

        Good for her – she could set up a clinic and re-start her practice. No one asked her to set up kids Company – that was a charity and volunteers don’t get paid – simple.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          You don’t want them to be paid, you want people to work for nothing. Right.

          • Bonkim

            Yes – that is how volunteers are defined.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            It’s how you define the work of a lot of professionals, there’s a difference.

        • cartimandua

          She saw a severe need . What they do works for the damaged and dangerous kids no one else can reach or fix.
          Now they will go to prison at two hundred thou a year and a lot of misery passed around.
          Those kids will be VERY expensive.

          • Bonkim

            She was also doling out clothes and pocket money to illegal migrants that should have been deported.

          • Bonkim

            It they are dangerous need to be locked up or if illegals deported.

          • Bonkim

            Created her own demand.

          • Bonkim

            Are you her agent – defending her?

  • global city

    An irritating side issue in all of this is just how much the charity giving/partnership of our national government is Londoncentric. There must be any number of funnily dressed social activists around the country equally as ‘committed’ as Camila Batmanghelidjh, but they don’t get a sausage.

    • cartimandua

      KC had centres in Liverpool and Bristol. You have a problem with success why?
      KC was successful because what they did was therapeutic and it worked.
      They had evidence. It wasn’t just being kind.

      • global city

        Two tiny outreach centres, I know. The amounts and the fame were due to it’s location. The amounts of money it attracted are astounding.

  • Grumpthasaurus

    If this article is to be believed, and I believe it, Kids Company should be investigated for possible fraud and criminal abuses. There should be a full official audit of its uses of public and privately donated funds. It has the distinct smell of corruption about it. Camila Batmanghelidjh strikes me as a histrionic narcissist at best, and a sinister fraud at worst. We as taxpayers and forced donators are entitled to know on which end of that spectrum she falls.

    • cartimandua

      They were audited every year by a firm appointed by the cabinet office
      The media reports have been outright falsehoods.

  • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

    This is a terrible shame. It sounds as though their downfall was not being able to say no.

    If you try to give everyone unlimited help with limited resources, you’ll inevitably end up abandoning most (or all) of them. This seems to be a common problem in charities and public services.

    • Grumpthasaurus

      You really think that was their only problem?

      • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

        I expect it was the main issue. I doubt there was outright corruption involved, but if there was hopefully it will transpire.

        Why? Do you suspect something worse?

        • cartimandua

          The Kids Company attackers have some actual agenda.
          They are burying bad news.

          • Jack Rocks

            Your delusions are reaching new highs.

            Newsnight wanted to bury bad news?

          • http://andybrice.net Andy Brice

            But even if those attacking them have an agenda. They did still lose all their money, so there must’ve been something wrong with their finances.

      • cartimandua

        Yes research showed efficacy and they passed every audit.

        • Jack Rocks

          Did they? So how do you explain the fact that civil servants wanted to stop giving them grants but were overruled by politicians?

          And what research? Self-serving twaddle no doubt, as a lot of research is.

  • jobacon

    All charities need closer scrutiny. We took over offices from a charity that moved out. They had left a very expensive colour laser printer in the basement (in the days when these printers cost £6,000 to buy) which they were leasing and they had just abandoned it, no doubt leaving a finance company to hold the baby. We managed to get it removed but it is another example of how charities are cavalier with other people’s generous donations. As Private Eye has pointed out, the Charity Commissioners make the Serious Farce Office look like tigers in comparison.

  • TeaCaddy

    She dresses like a charlatan and speaks like a charlatan. Hardly surprising that she runs her charity like one, too.

  • Jim Crowther

    One is forced into the conclusion that any of the following have been involved at some or all stages here : Lack of supervision, improper accounting, naivete, egotism, gross ineptitude and possibly theft and other dishonesty.
    Quite how the taxpayer was dragooned into this without permission is a matter for deep reflection, not to mention proper governmental explanation.

  • Lindum

    The next scandal coming out of Kids Company will be the abuse of expenses or similar by its founder

    • Jel

      Precisely! There are now allegations that the private school fees for the daughter of Miss Batmanghelidgh’s chauffeur (she has a chauffeur???) were paid from Kids Company coffers.

  • Jason Palmer

    Oh dear eh

  • A. Patriot

    I just wonder how much Ms Batman has creamed off the top, by running to Kaymoron
    to plead innocence only proves it.
    We really must stop allowing these people to take advantage of the altruistic
    nature of the British race.

  • cartimandua

    Media covered up establishment abuse gangs of the most severe kind and they are obfuscating by attacking a woman who raised 160 million n order to successfully treat the most damaged (and dangerous) young people around.
    The level of nasty attack on Camilla B and Kids Company doesn’t make any sense unless they are trying to bury bad news.
    The bad news s government told media to cover up nasty thngs and they did.
    happy to hack dead kids phones and happy to cover up abuse gangs on demand.

    • Jack Rocks

      What does Bryony Gordon call it? “egotistical altruism”.
      Indeed.

  • cartimandua

    My Grandfather was a decorated war reporter and ended up Editor of a news agency.
    My Father wrote a column n a major paper for decades.
    scummy ignorance now passes for journalism and t s shameful.

    • Jack Rocks

      It’s big of you to admit your Grandfather and Father were scummy and ignorant. Chip off the old block hey?

  • aristos4

    We pay our taxes expecting that a properly functioning state will have in place procedures to deal with ”disadvantaged” children so that will be NO NEED for charities to step in . Charities role in almost all the cases involves syphoning the most of the money ,with corrupted auditing and accountability procedures ,towards the pockets of the administrators. Charity in UK is the excuse always for big fraud business with managers on 6 figures salaries and perks and on the last account not fit for purpose. Cameron should be ashamed of himself for giving tax payers money to a charity to do supposedly whatever is the duty oh the government to deal with in the first instance.

  • Paul Obernay

    Camila Batmanghelidjh is
    using her training in psychotherapy here to apply
    psychology as a spin doctor to the public.

    What is painfully clear with this charity and Camila Batmanghelidjh is an obscene
    abuse and misuse of public donated money with absolutely no transparency nor competent
    method of checks and balance being used .

    But I must stress I personally have experienced
    this abuse of publically donated money with several charities. Large and small.

    The problem with all charities
    is that they are totally unregulated and are allowed to operate with impunity
    and in secret from the public. This has got to change.

    There needs to be a dramatic
    change in the law. New laws must be put in place that forces Charities to be wholly accountable to the
    public under the Freedom of Information Act in the same way that the Public Sector
    is.

    Also charities, their
    trustees and employed executive officers must also come under full financial audit by
    HMRC for all and any monies and benefits in kind that they gain as a result of being
    engaged by the charities. This must also be made available to the public.

    Furthermore, no charity
    should be allowed to exist without having proper policies and management
    procedures in place which all those involved with the charity must abide by whilst
    on any aspect of the charities business. This needs to apply to all charities
    no matter how large or small they are.

    There are £billions squandered
    and wasted and abused by charities in this country every year. This wastage has
    got to stop. The money has got to be spent competantly.

    All organisations have got to
    work within their means and in the spirit of the interest of which the money was donated.

  • TalkIsCheap

    I just can’t stop myself thinking of Alastair Sim’s depiction of the Headmistress of St Trinians. “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” – Oscar Wilde

  • MathMan

    ‘Disadvantaged inner-city children’. You mean failed asylum seekers and the spawn of black runaway fathers. The narrative around this case is liberally sprinkled with the terms, Victims, vulnerable, damaged ect in order to elicit sympathy from the great British public.The correct term is parasites.

    • cartimandua

      They are still expensive and dangerous left uncared for.

  • pewkatchoo

    “Cameron told his shadow ministers that Camila embodied the Big Society.” I think maybe he meant that she had swallowed half of society.

  • cartimandua

    On news program this AM news that other charities are having their funding pulled
    This is what austerity means.
    Problem is a few years down the line crime goes up and so does poor mental health.
    All that’s very expensive before one even touches on the 1 million per for a child n care.
    Don’t know whether KC looks after latchkey kids while Mothers work.
    if they do, the Mother have to stop work, or the kids will end up carrying knives or drugs for gangs under duress.

    • Bonkim

      Does crime bring about mental health problems or are mentals prone to crime?

      • cartimandua

        Both. A large number of kids company kids have been victims of violence or been bereaved by violence.
        People constantly fearful tend to lash out at others.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Lawyer Dave Allen Green’s excellent FT article highlights the fact that Kids Company spent £15m on salary costs in 2013 (p 55); but it can only document 750 children it helped – from KC annual report…

    http://blogs.ft.com/david-allen-green/2015/08/07/the-collapse-of-kids-company-in-perspective/

    • cartimandua

      No you misread that. They surveyed that number and looked at them in depth. The real total s 36,000

      • JabbaTheCat

        Why don’t you engage directly with Dave Allen Green as the blog post author in the comments at the FT and see what he says about your claim…

      • SuffolkBoy

        I don’t see how you get 36,000 out of that: it’s just a claim on page 10. Please outline your approach to the arithmetic and investigation. http://kidsco.org.uk/download/Annual_Report_2013.compressed.pdf

  • Lindum

    At first thought it is odd that the boss of a charity has a £40,000 a year chauffeur (how much do you want to bet there aren’t others?); but which car do you (we) expect a 5’2″ 30 stone woman to drive?
    The allegation is as you say – that the charity quietly paid the £28,000 a year boarding school fees for the chauffeur! Well, it is within the charity’s remit I guess – helping kids.

    But there are going to be loads of similar revelations – unless the political class who have been totally hoodwinked by celebrity once again (cf Savile), close down all revelations, as it puts them all in such an awful light.

  • Jenny S

    The spectators article tells me nothing. See the following for more compassionate coverage: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/09/kids-company-camila-batmanghelidjh-i-saw-the-good-work-it-did-and-mourn-its-passing

  • upset

    I am not surprised that Camilla believes her own hype – but when a Prime Minister swallows it hook, line and sinker and going against civil service advice hands over millions of our money to her, I have to question his judgement.

  • Michael Ernest Corby

    A first rate article, but what follow up?

    Has Joan Woodlard, an extraordinarily generous woman, had her money back?

  • JohnJ

    The best bit is from her entry in Wikipedia – You’ve got to see this

    “In 2009 Batmanghelidjh was named Businesswoman of the Year by the Dods and Scottish Widows Women in Public Life Awards.[27] She has also received Ernst and Young’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award (2006),Third Sector magazine’s Most Admired Chief Executive (2007)[citation needed] and the Centre for Social Justice’s lifetime achievement award in 2009.[citation needed] Batmanghelidjh has been awarded honorary degrees and doctorates by several universities including York St John University,[28] the Open University,[29] Brunel University,[30] London South Bank University[31] andNottingham Trent University.[32]

    In February 2013, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.[33] In the same month, she was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to children and young people.[34] In September 2014 she became an Honorary Fellow of UCL.[35]”

    Wow – are they going to get all their awards back? Do any of these people check who they are giving awards to? Are any, at least, embarrassed?

    This is fabulous – Oh England – please keep it up!

    • Andy

      And what does all this palaver tell us – awards, titles, honours, and the like don’t mean a damn thing. “By their fruit you will recognize them”.

  • Laura Love

    OK. I admit it. No matter how many times I try I simply cannot pronounce Batmanghelidjh.

    • Andy

      It’s not that hard. Let me simplify it somewhat:
      “Batman” (as in the caped crusader), plus
      “Gelidge”

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  • Andy

    The woman’s obviously as mad as a box of frogs, but some hard questions need to be asked of our Prime Minister, surely.

    Like, for one, when this scary-eyed bint first came waddling towards you clutching a spade, did it not occur to you to put your bloody guard up? Do you not have senior civil servants on hand to give you a good slap when you were clearly on the verge of making an incredibly poor decision?

    Or do you consider yourself the world’s most top bloke just because you went to Eton 50-odd years ago and doesn’t need to take advice from anybody? Because you’re obviously not, if a walking tent like Batmanghelidjh can pull the wool over your eyes! Stupid ****hole!

    • JohnJ

      “Box of Frogs” “walking tent” “scary-eyed bint first came waddling towards you clutching a spade” : MORE MORE please!

  • kirk jarvis

    This whole fiasco now ensures not a penny from me to any charity. This ghastly 34 stone bint has fleeced us shamelessly. As well as being hideous outside, it’s hideous inside too. Shame on Cameron for being suckered by this gross monster.

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