The report by the Public Accounts Committee into the Government’s funding of Kids Company confirms what ACEVO has said since the tragic collapse of Kids Company this summer.
From the outset, ACEVO identified the failure of government to observe the golden rule when working with charities. Which is that while charity is delivered on the frontline, it begins in the back office. Frontline services can only be maintained when supported by good governance, ambitious management and professional leadership. Putting every single penny into the frontline is a fatal mistake as Kids Company discovered and as the Government should have known.
The PAC report underlines the dismay felt by those charities who year-on-year have been struggling to raise funds, seeing grants shrink or disappear and observing strict criteria in their tenders to provide services. Problems which appear not to have been an issue for the preferred Kids Company.
What will aggravate well-run and compliant charities even further is that the preferment of Kids Company remained despite failing to establish whether value for money was being delivered and whether the organisation’s governance was sufficiently robust particularly given the very evident lack of reserves.
This report underlines the need for Government to engage strategically with the charity sector to ensure a universally high standard of governance and consistent criteria for the awarding of grants and public service contracts.