The former trustees of Kids Company have said that they would “vigorously defend” any attempt to disqualify them from acting as company directors in the future, following media reports that the Insolvency Service was considering action.
Yesterday Sky News said it had learned that lawyers for the government’s Insolvency Service had written to former trustees, including Alan Yentob, to warn them it is minded to pursue disqualification proceedings against them. Kids Company chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh has also reportedly been included in this action.
The Insolvency Service was appointed to wind up the charity after it collapsed in the summer of 2015. It has the power to seek bans on directorships for individuals of up to 15 years.
A spokesman for the Insolvency Service said: “Our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of Keeping Kids Company and the conduct of the directors is ongoing. It is not appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Last night trustees issued a joint response to say that they would defend themselves and warn of wider implications for the charity sector.
In a statement they said: “As former trustees of Kids Company, we are jointly responding to unconfirmed reports that the Insolvency Service may or may not recommend that proceedings are taken to disqualify us as company directors.
“As non-executive trustees we were responsible for overseeing the charity. At all times we had the interests of the children and young people in our care as our primary concern. We freely gave significant amounts of our personal time and money to that end. We took professional advice on legal and financial matters. In order to satisfy our funders, it was necessary to undergo regular, stringent scrutiny and validation by external independent parties, including auditors.
“It is deeply regrettable that the charity was forced to close following the instigation of a Metropolitan Police investigation of allegations that subsequently were found to be unfounded.
“There is no suggestion that we acted dishonestly or in bad faith. As far as we are aware, there has never been a case where trustees of a charity have been disqualified by a court in circumstances such as these.
“We acted diligently throughout, and if any proceedings are brought will defend ourselves vigorously. What happens to us could have serious implications for the thousands of other trustees who want to do charitable work in this country.”
The Charity Commission is also investigating Kids Company’s collapse and is expected to publish the findings from its statutory inquiry at some point this year.
Two parliamentary select committees have already published their findings into the charity, with both criticising trustees' actions .