The problems with Kids Company are why we need more transparency

Today the National Audit Office has published its report into the government funding of Kids Company – though of course it was really taxpayer funding. Despite coming after months of concerning revelations, the report’s findings are nonetheless shocking.

Despite concerns being raised as early as 2002, the failed charity received £46 million of taxpayers’ money. Much of this came from the Department for Education and its predecessors and was far more than was given to other charities.

Until 2013 the government was reliant on Kids Company’s own assessments to judge its performance. Given the questions now being asked of these records, let alone the vast sums of taxpayers’ money involved, this is extremely concerning.

Various departments and governments across a number of years seem to have been exceptionally cavalier with taxpayers’ money. It is cases like this that surely strengthen the case for greater transparency around grants and contracts to companies and charities claiming to be providing a public service and an expansion of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

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