This is the website of Harriet Sergeant – journalist, author and Research Fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies, an independent Think Tank.

Literary Agent: Annabel Merullo at Peters Fraser & Dunlop
Tel: +44 (0)207 344 1000

Kids Company

Ten years ago I visited Kids Company. I quickly saw that there was a huge gulf between what its charismatic leader, Camila Batmanghelidjh told us she was achieving and what was actually going on. I described my visit in my report, ‘Handle with Care – an investigation into the care system,’ (Centre For Policy Studies 2006) and in my book on my friendship with a south London gang, ‘Among the Hoods – my years with a teenage gang’ (Faber 2012). Ten years on, with the collapse of Kids Company, my observations have been proved correct.

Daily Mail – A genius for seducing the rich: Kids Company founder was expert at convincing wealthy to help vulnerable youngsters

Daily Telegraph – Kids Company: Did good PR mask deeper failings?

Daily Telegraph – Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh: How the world fell for this ‘ultimate matriarch’

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee investigated Whitehall’s Relationship with Kids Company. Here is what the Chairman, Bernard Jenkin MP (Con), Paul Flynn MP (Lab) had to say about my work when taking evidence from William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission:

Here is the written evidence I submitted to the Committee.

Latest Book: Among the Hoods

Published by Faber – the extraordinary story of one woman’s friendship with a South London gang.

‘For many people the riots were their first glimpse of our underclass. They were shocked by what they saw. I was not, due to my unlikely friendship with a gang who I had first met outside a chicken takeaway on Knight’s Hill, South London, three years before …’

Read more on Among the Hoods here. [buy from Amazon]

About Harriet Sergeant

I am a journalist, author and Research Fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies, an independent Think Tank. I have written three books. The first was on South Africa under apartheid, where I lived for a year in the 1980s. I then wrote a history of Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s and a memoir of Japan, where I lived for seven years. All three books are based on research and interviews. [more here]

Recently, I have written five reports for the Centre for Policy Studies. These have been on Immigration, Management in the NHS, Health Tourism, Children in the Care System and Education – why black Caribbean and white working class boys are failing in school and the workplace. I have also written a report for Civitas on the public and the police. The report focused on the public perception of the police and the effect of targets and government initiatives on the force. Again, these reports are a combination of research and interviews.

I do my own research and spend about ten months on each report. This has meant interviewing a wide range of people from illegal immigrants, social workers, gang members, foster parents, young people in care, prostitutes, ex members of Special Branch, police sergeants and constables, hospital porters, NHS chief executives, former armed robbers, teachers, drug dealers and many, many more.

Nor is it just interviews – I spend time in the place that I write about. I have shadowed staff in hospitals, hung around schools, children’s homes and police stations. I talk to the people who use these services – patients, victims of crime, illegal immigrants, children in the care system and parents and children in inner city schools. I have also befriended a South London gang, the subject of my latest book, Among the Hoods.

My reports have been serialized in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph and received extensive press coverage. Five have received front-page headlines in the Daily Mail. I write Comments for the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times and review for the Spectator. I am a regular contributor to TV and radio and have appeared on The Moral Maze, the World Tonight, the Today programme, Question Time, Any Questions, the Big Question, News 24 and Sky News amongst others.

I read English at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford.

Follow Harriet Sergeant on Twitter: @HarrietSergeant.

Email me at harriet@harrietsergeant.com.

Harriet Sergeant Facebook page.