She just happens to be our heroine of choice here at Researching Reform, so we thought her latest interview featured in the Guardian, was worth a mention, not just so that you can meet the tour de force that is Camilla Batmanghelidjh, but also because she makes several telling comments in the interview, about the care system, political advisers and the impact of poorly thought out policy on some of Britain’s most vulnerable children.

The article is a wonderful look not just as Batmanghelidjh’s legacy, first as a founder of Kids Company, arguably one of the best children’s charities out there (they actually help vulnerable children hands on by giving them love and support, rather than just talking and posturing and trying to get their lobby teams to pump the government for more funds which benefit the organisations more than the children), and second but by no means less relevant, Camilla Batmanghelidjh herself.

But that’s not all. Camilla makes some thought-provoking and controversial comments in the interview, which although come as no surprise to us (and doubtless the majority of our readers), need to be highlighted so that more people become aware of just how poor our children’s social services are. And whilst there are good people in the system, they are few and far between.

The Guardian recounts how Batmanghelidjh says in the interview, “one “very, very, very high up” politician – “and I’m not telling you who” – privately admitted to [me], “‘We know children’s social services is not fit for purpose but none of us want to go near it’.” 

And of the policy advisers in the sector Camilla says, “I think the type of person who ends up advising politicians, on the whole, is not a person who has emerged from the street. And because of that, what’s missing is the fine detail of day-to-day living. For example – we say there are children who need free school meals, and we provide them; then suddenly it’s the summer holidays and there are no meals for six weeks. It’s that blind thoughtlessness that causes problems.”

The rest of the article is equally damning, from Michael Gove’s fear of actually addressing the issues before him, the culture of fear itself which causes professionals to hide blunders under the carpet in an attempt to preserve jobs and dignity, and the horrible flop that has been David Cameron’s Big Society, a project Camilla still believes can work if proper leadership is implemented. And we agree with her.

The article is a must-read and if you feel inclined you can pre-order a discounted copy of Mind the Child, Kids Company’s Penguin Book to commemorate the London underground, from the Guardian’s own on-line bookstore (which rocks by the way)….

Many thanks to our mother for sharing the article with us!

Camilla Batmanghelidjh