Tuesday, August 11, 2015


The Kids Company affair lingers on. Yesterday, an FT Editorial (Editor Lionel Barber oft tipped as a future DG) said "The charitable sector can only operate if trustees are alive to privileges their organisations enjoy and discharge their responsibilities assiduously. It is time Mr Yentob and his colleagues explained what they did, and did not do, in the case of Kids Company’s collapse."

This morning, a former Trustee Nigel Rowe wrote to the Telegraph, explaining he had resigned months into the role during 2006 "because of concerns that I had about the management of the charity, which I had previously expressed to its chairman." In the past three years, Kids Company had three different finance directors.

Alan Yentob had been chairman for 18 years; best practice is to serve no longer than 6. Mr Yentob was in his eighth year as Chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts when it got into financial trouble in 2010. "I stayed because of the problems", he said when stepping down, acknowledging even then that best practice was six years in post.

In his Newsnight interview about the Kidsco collapse, Mr Yentob cited the LSE report of 2013 as an endorsement of the charity's work. It is, indeed, a document which praises the innovative approaches and methods of supporting children missed by other agencies; however there is a small section marked 'Challenges'...

  • Limited and unstable funding is a major source of stress and anxiety for staff and a massive challenge for the sustainability of Kids Company.
  • The interface with the statutory sector is a complex and considerable challenge, involving collaboration as well as constant tension due to divergent organisational cultures, different approaches to theory and practice, prejudices and preconceptions.
  • An increase in bureaucracy and excessive management can jeopardise the effectiveness of Kids Company and presents a challenge to its ability to sustain absolute focus on the needs of its clients.

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