Kids Company charity bosses face directorship bans of up to six years

Former Prime Minister David Cameron chairs a Big Society meeting next to Kids Company chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh (L)Reuters

Business Secretary Greg Clark will commence court proceedings against former directors of the collapsed charity Kids Company to ban them from holding further company directorships.

The Insolvency Service said it will bring cases against former chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh, former senior BBC executive Alan Yentob and seven other members of the charity.

Kids Company – which provided support to deprived and vulnerable children – failed in August 2015 following allegations of mismanagement.

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The Insolvency Service, which is part of the business department, said it will seek bans of up to six years.

The government body said it will bring proceedings against Sunetra Devi Atkinson, Erica Jane Bolton, Richard Gordonn Handover, Vincent Gerald O'Brien, Francesca Mary Robinson, Jane Tyler, Andrew Webster and Alan Yentob.

The government will also bring the same case against founder Batmanghelidjh. The service said that although Batmanghelidjh "was not formally a director at the time the charity collapsed... the proceedings will allege that she acted as a de facto director and should therefore also be disqualified from running or controlling other companies."

The charity collapsed two years ago, just weeks after it was handed a £3m grant by former Prime Minister David Cameron's government.

The charity claimed to support 36,000 children and young adults, working with those who were struggling with mental health issues after being involved in gun and gang crime, or who were suffering from neglect.

Powerful Personality

In 15 years, Kids Company took received around £42m from the taxpayer, but a damning 2016 report by MPs showed "catastrophic failures" at the group. It added the charity's board of trustees were reliant on "wishful thinking and false optimism".

The Commons public administration committee added that trustees ignored repeated warnings from auditors about Kids Company's financial position.

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In another MPs probe, Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the influential Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, added that Batmanghelidjh had ministers "in her thrall" with her "powerful personality" allowing her to become an expert at controlling people.

Yentob chaired Kids Company for 12 years, but stepped down from his role as BBC creative director four months after the charity's collapse, saying his continued service was "proving a serious distraction" to the corporation.

He continues to make the arts show Imagine for the BBC, which he first joined in 1968 as a trainee.

He had been accused of editorial interference after criticising BBC journalists' coverage of Kids Company's financial problems.

A separate review by the Charity Commission into Kids Company is ongoing.

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