The Public Administration and Constitutional Select Committee questioning of Kids Company CEO, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Chair of Trustees, Alan Yentob was excruciating but compelling viewing. There are a large number of issues that were raised that deserve proper scrutiny and discussion – and I am sure they will get that attention. But one thing to have emerged from the questioning shocked and surprised me, even in the context of the circus that has been the Kids Company debacle. It was a brief comment made by Alan Yentob in response to questioning about Kids Company’s relationship with Government.
He said – as proof of the charity’s good relationship with government – that two civil servants had ‘sat in Kids Company for a year to help the charity find statutory funding’.
I’m intrigued and slightly surprised that the government decided to spend public money by placing its staff in a charity to help them raise money from, errrr, the government.
I would love to know who sanctioned that decision as it strikes me as a wholly inappropriate use of public funds and one which someone in government ought to be held accountable for.
I’m no expert but I also can’t help wondering whether this might breach EU laws on State Aid…but I might be wrong.
Where I am more certain is that a great many charities and community groups would love to have fundraisers offered by the government to come at work for them. Unfortunately they lack the ear of the Prime Minister and Ministers, they don’t have a senior BBC executive as their Chair and are not awash with a host of celebrity supporters.
I would love to know which department these fundraising civil servants came from – was it the Department for Education or the Cabinet Office, or somewhere else?
I’d also like to know who authorised their secondment?
Anyone who knows anything about this, I’d love to hear from you.