Kids Company founder wants judicial review of Charity Commission over report that 'lacks truth'

Camila Batmanghelidjh says the regulator 'cannot be trusted because it is politically compliant and not independent'

Camila Batmanghelidjh
Camila Batmanghelidjh

The founder and former chief executive of Kids Company has said she is considering seeking a judicial review of the findings of the Charity Commission’s statutory inquiry into the collapsed charity.

Camila Batmanghelidjh described the commission’s report as a “manipulation” which “lacks truth” and contained “inaccurate information”.

The children’s charity closed suddenly in 2015 due to a lack of funding.

The report of the Charity Commission’s seven-year statutory inquiry into the closure, which was published today, found that the charity operated on a “high-risk” model and that repeated failure to pay workers and HM Revenue & Customs on time constituted mismanagement.

But the report agreed with a High Court judgment issued last year, when the Official Receiver attempted unsuccessfully to have trustees barred from serving as company directors, that there “was no dishonesty, bad faith, or inappropriate personal gain in the operation of the charity”.

The Official Receiver’s High Court case against Batmanghelidjh and seven of the charity’s former trustees was dismissed in February 2021, with the judge finding that they were not “unfit” as company directors.

It also found that the charity might have survived if what turned out to be unfounded claims of abuse involving service users had not been made.

The commission’s report acknowledged this, but said the charity might have been in a position to survive the allegations or wind up in a more orderly way if it had built up more reserves.

In a statement, Batmanghelidjh said: “The Charity Commission’s report and press release about Kids Company lacks truth.

“Inaccurate information has been released by it and it has not investigated what it should have.”

She accused the commission of “protecting the very people who drove the damage throughout 2014/15, which resulted in Kids Company closing”.

She went on to say: “I have therefore been left with no option but to consider my legal position and seek a judicial review of the Charity Commission.

“I have faith in the justice system in this country. I hope the truth of what happened to Kids Company can be arrived at through a rigorous process, like the one afforded to the trustees and me in the High Court in 2021.

“Whoever believes the Charity Commission report on Kids Company and its press release is succumbing to its manipulation. The time has come to wise up.

“The Charity Commission cannot be trusted because it is politically compliant and not independent.”

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