Councillor’s charity accounts more than 400 days overdue
A Liberal Democrat councillor who fell foul of the charity regulator after a body of which he was a trustee was years overdue in filing its accounts has been criticised for further delays.
In 2020 Powys county councillor Adam Kennerley was ruled by the Charity Commission to have committed misconduct as a trustee of the Cwm Harry Land Trust.
A report published by the Charity Commission said: that the charity had failed to file financial information on time for four consecutive years – 2016 (974 days late); 2017 (911 days late); 2018 (546 days late); and 2019 (97 days late).
The report said: “Failure to submit financial information to the Commission on time in line with statutory requirements is a breach of sections 162, 163, 164 and 169 of the Companies Act and constitutes misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.
“Furthermore, it may also be a criminal offence under section 173 of the Act.
According to its Charity Commission registration, the Cwm Harry Land Trust is “a development trust supporting communities and individuals to sustainably manage their environmental resources. By developing social enterprise models and enabling people to take up rights and responsibilities for their resources so we build sustainable behaviour change in Wales and the UK. Enterprises in farming, resource management, local food, organic materials conversion, affordable housing.”
Of the three current trustees, Cllr Kennerley is the longest serving, having been appointed in 2016. As of June 30, the charity’s accounts are 426 days overdue. The last annual return, for the period up to the end of June 2020, showed income of £421.01k and expenditure of £357.35k. Of the income, £168.65k came from government contracts and £104.71k from government grants.
Last November Cllr Kennerley was promoted to an assistant cabinet role at Powys County Council. He was elected to the authority for the first time in May last year, representing a ward in Newtown.
His Linked In account states: “Drawing on broad experience in protected landscape management, solutions adviser at Greenpeace UK and a wide range of hands on business experiences across resource management (organics recycling particularly), local food production, farming and energy I spend my time developing economic solutions to environmental problems. The ambition being partnerships that co-create and own their environmental solutions with an eye on building sustainable behaviour change through trade.”
In the register of members’ interests at Powys County Council, he is described as interim chief executive of Development Trusts Association Wales Ltd.
Asked about the late filing of the charity accounts, Cllr Kennerley said: “As a trustee of Cwm Harry Land Trust I, along with colleagues, have been working to close down the charity in a managed fashion. Our current work is in managing all remaining assets across to continued community use in a way which follows Charity Commission guidelines. The previous findings of the Charity Commission, that all funds had been accounted for and spent in accordance with charity objectives, remains the position.”
A spokesman for the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “Cllr Kennerley has fully declared the situation regarding the charity he is a trustee of to Powys County Council and it has been reviewed and accepted by the council’s monitoring officer.
“The role that Cllr Kennerley holds as an assistant cabinet member is unremunerated and dedicated to tackling the Nature Emergency in a manner which simultaneously seeks to support rural livelihoods in Powys.”
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