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House to house collections

Legislation

The House to House Collections Act 1939, together with the House to House Collections Regulations 1947 (as amended), set out the licensing code and conditions applicable to house to house collections for charitable purposes. House to house collections require a licence and the legislation provides both for the method of application and the manner in which they may be carried out, including the conduct of promoters and collectors. A licence is not required by the holder of a national exemption order.

House to house collection application

Application for a licence should be made to our licensing office using the application form below and should be made no later than the first day of the month preceding that in which it is proposed to commence the collection. A licence cannot be granted for a period longer than 12 months, although most applicants will restrict the period requested to no more than one month in order to facilitate proportioned collecting throughout the area.

Refusal to grant a licence

The Council may refuse to grant a licence or, where a licence has already been granted, may revoke it in circumstances specified in the legislation and these include:

  1. the total amount likely to be applied for charitable purposes is inadequate in proportion to the value of the proceeds likely to be received;
  2. remuneration retained by any person out of the proceeds is excessive;
  3. the granting of a licence would facilitate begging;
  4. the applicant or anyone authorised by him to collect is not a fit and proper person;
  5. the applicant or licence holder has refused or neglected to provide the Council with such information as it reasonably required.

There is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State against the refusal or revocation of a licence within 14 days from the date on which notice is given of the refusal or the revocation.

Regulations

Regulations have been made by the Secretary of State and they include the following provisions:

  1. Every promoter of a collection must exercise all due diligence to secure that persons authorised to act as collectors are fit and proper persons and secure compliance by collectors with the Regulations.
  2. No promoter shall permit any person to act as a collector unless he has issued to that person:
    1. a prescribed Certificate of Authority;
    2. a prescribed Badge; and
    3. if money is to be collected, a collecting box marked, or a receipt book (with receipts and counterfoils or duplicates consecutively numbered) marked on every receipt, with a general indication of the purpose of the collection, and a distinguishing number.
  3. In the case of a collection in respect of which a licence has been granted, every prescribed Certificate of Authority shall be given on a form obtained from The Stationery Office, and every prescribed Badge shall be so obtained.
  4. No person under the age of 16 shall act, or be authorised to act, as a collector of money.
  5. No collector shall importune any person to the annoyance of such person or remain in, or at the door of, any house if requested to leave by any occupant thereof.
  6. The promoter of a collection must provide an account of the collection to the Council within one month of the expiry of the licence. 

Definitions

  • 'Charitable Purpose' means any charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purpose.
  • 'Collection' means an appeal to the public, made by means of visits from house to house to give, whether for consideration or not, money or other property.
  • 'Collector' means a person who makes the appeal in the course of such visits.
  • 'House' includes any place of business.
  • 'Proceeds' means, in relation to a collection, all money and other property given, whether for consideration or not, in response to the appeal.
  • 'Promoter' means a person who causes others to act as collectors for the purpose of the collection.

Application form

To apply for a house to house collection licence complete the form below: House to house collection licence application form (PDF: 22Kb / 2 pages)

Charity bags / clothing collections

Householders may receive bags/leaflets appealing for donations of unwanted clothes and footwear for charitable purposes. In most cases, these will be genuine charitable collections and will form an important part of fundraising for worthy causes. Unfortunately, there are a number of clothing collectors who give the impression that they are collecting for a charitable or philanthropic cause, but all monies go to commercial operations. It is not an offence for commercial companies to make a collection for private gain, but they should not mislead householders into thinking it is a charitable collection if this is not the case. Charitable collections require to be licensed so, if in doubt, please check with the licensing office.