THE BLOG

Fifteen Years of Bad Decisions

02/11/2015 13:46 GMT | Updated 02/11/2016 09:12 GMT

In 2000 Kids Company received £500,000 from the New Opportunities fund. This kicked off fifteen years of government funding for the charity; totalling at least £42million. From the 2002 cross-departmental financial rescue package to receiving more than any other organisation from the Department of Education between 2011 and 2013 Kids Company took public money with seemingly little regard for the taxpayers' of Britain.

The National Audit Office report could not be clearer. Every time Kid's Company made a request for Government funding it was followed by a concerted effort to pressure Ministers. The report states:

'If officials resisted [the request for funding], the charity would write to ministers expressing fears of redundancies and the impact of service closures. Around the same time, Kids Company would express the same concerns in the media.'

As former Education Minister Tim Loughton said this all seemed to be part of an effort to 'mesmerise' figures within Government to keep funding the charity; which was known to be financially mismanaged and not providing value for money.

This is not new information, all the way back in 2002 officials in Whitehall criticised Kids Company's record of financial management and said other similar organisations were more effective.

So the question has to be asked if officials knew for over a decade that Kids Company was not the best use of public money why did it continue to receive such a high level of funding.

On Monday as part of the Public Accounts Committee's inquest into the funding Kids Company received and the management of this funding I will be seeking to establish what, if any, audit trail exists between departments and the outcomes of the charities work.

I will be asking the senior officials from both Cabinet Office and the Department of Education what, if any, warnings were given across the years and seeking to establish why this were not followed.

£42million of taxpayers' money was poured into an organisation which was poorly managed and did not deliver the results expected.

The simple truth is public money belongs to the taxpayer, not to Ministers. Every funding decision has to be viewed through this prism. In the case of Kids Company this was evidently not followed. It is only right that those who made these decisions are held to account.

But beyond this we cannot allow such the situation which developed to be repeated. It is only by learning the lessons of this debacle that we can make sure such a waste of money never happens again.

Chris Evans is the Labour MP for Islwyn, and sits on the Public Accounts Committee