The True and Fair Foundation has said a response to one of its reports from the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School "borders on the hysterical" and is "amateurish and intellectually bankrupt".
The foundation’s report A Hornet’s Nest: A Review of Charitable Spending by UK Charities, published in December, said only one in five charities spend half their income on charitable activities.
A response from the Centre for Charity Effectiveness said the report was "worthless and designed to appeal to those...who believe that all charities should be small and run by unpaid volunteers".
It emerged yesterday that the centre had taken down and republished its response with what it described as "one or two minor amendments" after receiving a complaint from the foundation’s lawyers.
Gina Miller, a founding partner of the foundation, told Third Sector yesterday she was surprised the centre had chosen to republish its response because she did not believe the dispute had been resolved.
She said the centre's response contained "between 20 and 22 inaccurate or libellous statements", such as mistakes about the TFF's charitable expenditure and an accusation that the foundation's work was being carried out for "unscrupulous ends".
A full response from the foundation today says the centre’s response contains "fundamental errors, including not being able to even correctly set out the TFF’s objectives".
"Such sloppiness does not explain their allegation that TFF's report had been written for ‘unscrupulous ends’ as stated in their original paper, a very serious allegation which has now been withdrawn," it says.
The response says: "The Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness’ response to the TFF's Hornet's Nest report borders on the hysterical. There is no reason why economies of scale cannot be expected to be achieved by large charities."
It says the centre’s paper is "far from being a work of academic excellence" and the authors "appear to have been reckless" in their work.
"CASS Business School claims to be the ‘intellectual heart of business’," it says.
"This paper suggests that any quality control mechanism seems to have been missing in this instance. In our view, what has been published is amateurish and intellectually bankrupt."
The TFF response then responds to 11 points made in the centre’s paper, including a claim by the centre that Kids Company would be regarded as a "brilliant success story" by the foundation’s standards.
This is described as a "cheap shot" by the TFF, and says that had the authors done their research properly they would have found Miller was one of Kids Company’s staunchest critics before its demise.
Asked if the charity intended to issue a writ against Cass over its response, Miller said today the foundation was reviewing the latest developments with its lawyers.
A Cass spokeswoman said: "From a legal perspective we regard the matter as closed. We made some very minor changes to the first draft, which we would have done on clarity to any requests made to an academic opinion."