Licensing of House to House Collections
A permit is required to undertake a ‘house to house’ collection, under the House to House Collections Act 1939.
The application must be submitted at least 28 days before the proposed first date of collection and will be not be granted for a period longer than 14 days. The following must be submitted with the application:
Literature about the organisation
Copy of the published accounts for the last two years
If you are not an officiation of the organization, a letter from the charitable organisation authorizing you to undertake a collection on their behalf
Any agreement or contract details with the registered charity or individual benefitting from the collection
Further information is available in the House to House Collections Policy
There is a requirement for the promoter of the collection to make a return within 3 months following the collection.
Collections generally take place from door to door or from one public house to another.
Some of the larger well-known charities such as Christian Aid, Help the Aged etc, have a Charity Commission exemption from having to apply for a permit, but by and large most of the smaller, and particularly local groups and organisations need a permit before they can collect money (or articles which they intend to sell later), from door to door.
There is a statutory right of appeal against the refusal to grant a house to house collection permit. In this case, the right of appeal is to the Secretary of State, and the grounds for refusal are set out in the act itself.
One of the key grounds for refusal would be where the total amount likely to be applied for charitable purpose as a result of the collection, is inadequate in proportion to the value of the proceeds likely to be received. For instance, where an applicant intends to claim an unreasonable proportion of the proceeds of the collection for expenses, a permit could be refused. There is no statutory guidance to local authorities on what would be a reasonable amount for expenses.