Kids Company ex-directors facing bans

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Business Secretary Greg Clark is to bring proceedings against former directors of the collapsed charity Kids Company charity to have them banned from company directorships.

The Insolvency Service names former chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh, Alan Yentob and seven others.

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

The bans would be for up to six years.

The list of nine directors includes Mr Yentob, who was creative director at the BBC at the time of the charity’s collapse.

The proceedings name all nine former directors; Sunetra Devi Atkinson, Erica Jane Bolton, Richard Gordonn Handover, Vincent Gerald O’Brien, Francesca Mary Robinson, Jane Tyler, Andrew Webster and Alan Yentob,” said the Insolvency Service statement.

“The former chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh was not formally a director at the time the charity collapsed. However, the proceedings will allege that she acted as a de facto director and should therefore also be disqualified from running or controlling other companies.”

“We can confirm that the Insolvency Service has written to the former directors of Keeping Kids Company informing them that the Business Secretary intends to bring proceedings to have them disqualified from running or controlling companies for periods of between two-and-a-half and six years.

“As this matter will now be tested in the Court, it is not appropriate to comment further.”

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Image caption

Former Prime Minister David Cameron supported Kids Company

Founded in 1996 in south London, Kids Company employed more than 600 people, with high-profile supporters including former Prime Minister David Cameron.

The charity relied heavily on public money. In its last set of published accounts, for 2013, the government provided £4m, about one-fifth of its annual £20m funding.

When it closed in August 2015, the charity said its finances had become stretched because of the number of children “pouring” through its doors for help. But donors had been steadily withdrawing support, alarmed by stories of alleged mismanagement.

Earlier that summer, the charity had said it wanted to restructure and had sought new funds from the government and donors.

But it closed, with ministers saying they wanted to recover a £3m grant they had given to the charity a week before.

Kids Company troubles timeline

June 2015: Local authorities in London are warned the charity is having financial difficulties

29 June: Ministers Oliver Letwin and Matthew Hancock approve a £3m government grant despite concerns being raised

2 July: It emerges the charity has been told it will not get more public funding unless its chief executive, Ms Batmanghelidjh, is replaced

3 July: Ms Batmanghelidjh announces she is to step down, but denies the charity has been mismanaged

31 July: The BBC learns an investigation into allegations involving Kids Company has been launched by the Metropolitan Police

4 August: Sources tell BBC Newsnight the charity is to close and the Cabinet Office is to try to reclaim the £3m

5 August: The charity confirms it has closed

6 August: Former staff allege it failed in its handling of allegations of serious incidents, including sexual assaults

7 August: David Cameron says the closure is “sad” but defends the £3m grant

14 October: Documents suggest the problems at Kids Company were raised with trustees as early as 2002

15 October: Ms Batmanghelidjh and chairman Alan Yentob give evidence to MPs and again deny the charity was badly run

3 December: Mr Yentob resigns as the BBC’s creative director in the wake of controversy over his role at Kids Company

28 January 2016: The Met Police investigation into allegations of abuse is closed

24 April 2017: The Insolvency Service reported to have written to lawyers acting for Kids Company’s former board members to warn them that it is minded to pursue disqualification proceedings against them

31 July 2017: The Insolvency Service announces it plans to bring proceedings against former directors of the collapsed charity