Theatre college failed to file accounts

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The charity regulator is investigating Kogan Academy of Dramatic Arts after it failed to file accounts for more than two years and faces liabilities of £270,000.

Kogan Academy was registered as a charity in 1992 and ran three-year acting and directing courses in London, however it is temporarily closed and does not have a website to check if any courses are currently available.

This has been a long-running investigation by the Charity Commission, which escalated its action in March when it issued an official warning to the charity, requiring it to file its overdue annual accounting information from 2020 and 2021 within two months, as well as ensure that there were three trustees in place.

Kogan Academy ignored the request and failed to file any accounts or change its trustee arrangements. This was not the first time the charity had ignored filing dates as it submitted its last annual return 235 days late back in 2020.

The charity register shows that the academy’s accounts are now overdue by 814 days.

The last filed accounts showed that the charity reported total income of £190,857 for year end July 2019, with total expenditure of £327,792. Income has more than halved since 2017 when the charity had annual gross income of £414,000.

In the latest filed accounts with Companies House for year end March 2020, the sole trustee and director Alex Dower warned investors that ‘the academy was seriously affected by the lockdowns in London’ and as result it stopped taking students until at least mid 2022 as ‘the academy finances were so badly affected’, and they had to take out a grant from Islington Council to pay their accountant’s fees.

Also in the 2022 annual accounts, the independent examiner and accountant warned that the ‘accounting records were not kept in respect of the charitable company as required by section 386 of the 2006 [Charities] Act and with the methods and principles of the statement of Recommended Practice for accounting and reporting by charities’.

At the same time, the charity owed £197,000 for an operating lease for its premises and a further £73,000 loan to HSBC, which as a result meant ‘the charity as it stands will not be able to continue as going concern’. The charity only has one trustee, Alex Dower, which contravenes charity law as there needs to be a minimum of three.

Dower is also a director of Acting for Health Limited, which has failed to file accounts since March 2020 and faces strike off action by Companies House. This company is operational and describes itself as a provider of ‘innovative theatre and creative skills to address public health problems’.

As a result, the Commission has escalated the ongoing investigation into the charity to a statutory inquiry.

The inquiry will examine the following charity regulatory issues:

  • the extent to which any failings or weaknesses identified in the administration of the charity during the inquiry were a result of misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees;
  • the future of the charity, including the charity’s viability; and
  • whether the trustees are complying with their legal duties in respect of their administration, governance and management of the charity with particular regard to their accounting and reporting responsibilities and compliance with the charity’s governing document.

The Commission may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional regulatory issues emerge.

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