Kids Company: how the papers reported and reacted

The demise of the high-profile project founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh makes all of today's papers, with many publishing editorials about what must be done.

The Times gave the story three pages and a cartoon, though it did not mention it in its leader column.

The Independent splashed on the news. Here are some extracts from its editorial:

"David Cameron and Gordon Brown’s faith in Camila has been poorly repaid. The unusual circumstances of the £3m government grant ... where ministers apparently formally overruled civil servants, means it deserves to be the subject of an inquiry.

"It would, though, be wrong to conclude that the Kids Company debacle proves that charities are necessarily unworthy or unsuitable vehicles for state support ... some public funding is appropriate for the 'third sector' because many charities have the knowledge and expertise that government agencies lack.

"The collapse of Kids Company does underline, though, the perils of involving the third sector in core aspects of social care and education.

"The failure also brings into sharp relief the weakness of regulation."

The Daily Mail did not pen an editorial but did offer a double page spread including this opinion piece by Harriet Sergeant:

"The history of Kids Company over the nine years that I have followed its progress offers a disturbing insight into how easy it is to exploit government goodwill, along with the public’s commendable idealism and impulse to help the vulnerable. From the outset I was concerned about the numbers of youngsters it actually claimed to be helping.

"People who eulogised about Kids Company accepted Camila’s story because it suited them. Association with Kids Company made them look and feel good.

"I have no doubt that many of the Kids Company staff do a heroic job. Now, it seems, those staff [and beneficiaries] will have to look elsewhere after Camila shut down the charity last night. Is this the action of a woman with her heart in the right place? Or one who cannot face a future out of the limelight?"

The Guardian's front-page story focused on concern for the children involved, while its editorial said:

"A charity that flew too close to the sun suddenly nose-dived to Earth last night ... The New Labour times were right for Ms Batmanghelidjh and she was right for the times.

"The irresistible force of the need for government to deliver and be accountable has come increasingly into conflict with the immovable object of Kids Company’s high-profile founder and chief executive.

"The saga poses the question of how accountability works when the state subcontracts essential social services to charities which it funds with public money but does not control."

The Daily Telegraph's editorial thundered:

"How did things get this bad? Where was the oversight – either at the Charity Commission or within central government?

"Individuals lose out but even more significant is the damage that scandal does to public trust in the vital charitable sector as a whole. Charities that tug on our heartstrings cannot substitute sentimentality for accountability. Flamboyant figureheads, such as Camila Batmanghelidjh, can be inspirational; competent administrative staff are inevitably less so. But if donated money is to be best spent, they must work together."

The Sun kept its coverage brief, offering just a news story (bottom left), but the Daily Mirror (news story bottom right) also did an editorial:

"Serious questions must be answered by successive governments and the Charity Commission over why so much money was poured into the collapsed Kids Company without any effective checks."

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