News is breaking all the time, and on this page you will be able to read my latest press releases. Most of these stories have appeared in the local or national media. Being an active Member of Parliament, I am always aware of matters of local importance, and often get involved in controversial events - such as Controlled Parking Zones in Worthing and Shoreham, Rampion Off-Shore Wind Farm and Brighton & Hove Albion Training Ground at Mash Barn.
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Mon 1 Feb 2016
I welcome the thoroughness and frankness of this report into the collapse of #KidsCompany, which reveals a catalogue of incompetence, complacency and arrogance.
There are serious implications for the way Government Ministers deal with charities and achieve value for money for the taxpayer; the way the Charities Commission oversees them and for the trustees and executives behind Kids Company who somehow thought they were too charismatic and too close to Number 10 to fail.
Those who have lost out most of all are the already damaged children who relied on this charity for support, yet the help they received was too often patchy, poorly evaluated and ultimately unsustainable. In addition to the taxpayer, the other casualties have been the many excellent charities performing an essential role working with very challenging children and young people who are transparent and assiduous in their application of public money to achieve demonstrable quality outcomes. They have never sought or considered themselves entitled to the special treatment that #KidsCompany took for granted. It is vital that this sorry saga does not undermine or tarnish their important work.
I am particularly pleased that the Report highlights a gap in inspection for charities like Kids Company where safeguarding worries may go completely unaddressed in contrast to other organisations subject to OFSTED’s now rigorous scrutiny of education and children’s social care.
It is also vital that the Government develops a new evaluation model to scrutinise accurately whether public funds are producing the qualitative outcomes for which they were intended and in a sustainable and value for money way. As the report agrees, such scrutiny in this case was made harder by the fragmentation of the DfE’s responsibilities for young people’s issues to the Cabinet Office and other Government Departments which I have always cautioned against.