A clear lack of accountability

downloadWhen elected Government officers make decisions to spend public money in ways that are clearly outside of their remit and go against the advice of their civil servants, there needs to be some form of accountability for them and learning for the system. The truth is that sometimes civil servants get things wrong and many lack the confidence or desire to work in a creative manner. However when Government Ministers are operating in a context that is clearly beyond what the public would expect of them, then they must be held accountable, even if they get things right. Even more so when the don’t. The money spent by Oliver Letwin and Matthew Hancock on Kids Company against the advice of their officials built on the views and opinions of Blair and Cameron who took the work of Kids Company to their political hearts. Even if Kids Company had never put a foot wrong and had not collapsed when it did, the fact is the money handed over by these two men was money that could equally have been spent in a more accountable manner on other good causes. Government Ministers are supposed to set policy, not offer grants to charities. Clearly there is always a great temptation to act as Father Christmas, such as when Tony Blair took a few hours out of the Brighton Centre where his party was holding its conference on September and visited Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb and made a decision on the spot to award the two estates £47m over 10 years. He has never been held to account for this which was very damaging due to high level of funding over a relatively short period of time, and the negative impact the decision had on neighbouring disadvantaged communities such as Hollingdean and Hangleton, Woodingdean and Peacehaven. The fact that the Government is now seeking to deprive the Trustees and Camila batmanghelidjh of the opportunity to run a charity or a company again shows how serious they are taking the case against Kids Company, and yet no one is suggesting that Matthew Hancock should lose his role in the Cabinet as Minister for Digital and Culture, or that Oliver Letwin should be in any way reprimanded or denied access to future Cabinet roles. They are also not been asked to repay the £3M they gave away. I agree with Paul Flynn that someone or some committee such as the Public Accounts Committee need to take both men to task for their great incompetence.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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