In an excellent article in The Conversation, one of our favourite online media outlets offering insightful analysis on current affairs, an explanation is given as to why much loved charity Kids Company struggled to survive, and why that struggle is the modus operandi for so many UK charities.
The analysis is interesting. The article suggests that government has come to rely heavily on charities like Kids Company to fill vast gaps in the welfare sector. But instead of supporting and encouraging these organisations, a culture of results-driven funding and total disregard for the catch-22 this creates leads to a system which carries charities along but makes their position less tenable financially the longer they endure. The contracts-based culture in the sector too does not help, and the piece goes on to detail very clearly why that is so.
The overall prognosis is depressing. Government is abusing effective and useful services to fulfil a need but is not interested in ensuring that these services survive. And as is a symptom all too familiar for those of us working inside the child welfare sector, other surviving charities seem to gloat at the demise of other support services. When contract handouts become a highly competitive past time, that’s what happens.
Whilst the system needs to respond to the current shoddy government practice in this sector by collaborating and standing together, the government also needs to acknowledge that their short-sighted approach does nothing to ease their fiscal priorities or bolster confidence in politics, whose kudos continues to be significantly dented by the child sex abuse scandal, and a growing cynicism about government values.
The article is well worth a read and beautifully explains why we need a radical overhaul in the way we treat these much-needed organisations.