In Brief

Kids Company: 'extraordinary catalogue of failures'

Camila Batmanghelidjh and government ministers criticised in MPs' report into collapse of children's charity

A committee of MPs has blamed the collapse of Kids Company on an "extraordinary catalogue of failures" at the charity.

Its trustees were "negligent" and relied on "wishful thinking and false optimism" as financial troubles piled up, says the cross-party report by the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

"MPs said trustees had neither the skills or experience to hold to account Kids Company's founder Camila Batmanghelidjh," says the Financial Times. They "allowed the charity's weak financial position to persist for years, a key reason why it was unable to survive the "allegations of abuse".

A police investigation into the abuse allegations was dropped last week after officials said they could find no evidence to support them.

Batmanghelidjh dismissed the report, describing it as a "product of bias and rumour", while the charity's trustees said the MPs had ignored the evidence.

"The report spares no one," says the BBC's Lucy Manning. "Camila Batmanghelidjh, the trustees, government ministers, the auditors and regulators are all criticised."

She adds that the "heaviest criticism" is for the trustees, led by the Alan Yentob, who was then working at the BBC. "Mr Yentob and Ms Batmanghelidjh kept insisting there had been no financial mismanagement. This report makes clear there certainly was," says Manning.

It also suggests that doubts about the charity had been raised several times but dismissed by successive governments. 

Bernard Jenkin, the committee chairman, said: "In the course of this inquiry, the committee has heard what can only be described as an extraordinary catalogue of failures of governance and control at every level: trustees, auditors, inspectors, regulators and government."

He added that many positive accounts of the charity's valuable work had been heard, making the board's "failure to ensure the charity's sustainability all the more tragic".

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