Street Collections

The Police, Factories, etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916

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It is illegal in this country to hold a Street Collection to collect money or sell articles for the benefit of charitable or other purposes without obtaining a Street Collection Licence from the Council if that collection is to be held 'in a street or public place'. A 'public place' is a 'place where the public has access'.

It is often assumed that collections can be held in shop doorways or car parks do not need and Street Collection Licence because they are being held on 'privately owned land'. This is not true, as the legislation does not mention the ownership of the land or treat collections on 'privately owned land' as exempt from the licensing regulations. A shop doorway or car park, when that shop is open for trading, is a 'public place' because the public has access at that time. No other licence would be valid. A Pedlar's Licence, issued by the Police cannot be used for this purpose. Only Local Authorities issue Street Collection Licences under Section 5 of the Police, Factories, etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1916, as amended by the Local Government Act 1972 and Schedule 29 of that Act.

There is no cost for the issuing of consent but there are rules to be followed in applying. Street Collections are usually made by Charities. Collections usually take place in a town centre on busy shopping days. Money is collected in tins. There are regulations, which govern this type of collection. Consents are restricted to enable charities to raise money without their collections clashing with those of other charities.

The purpose of the legal requirement to obtain consent is to ensure collectors are properly authorised and that money is collected in a secure way and the total proceeds collected are properly accounted for.

Regulation Summary

Charities Act 1992

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period

Businesses should be aware that the timescales for processing an application do not start until all the necessary information has been received in full.

Because the timescales for processing a licence start once the necessary information has been submitted, rather than received, where tacit consent is applicable to a scheme, it will only apply for applications that are submitted electronically via the Point of Single Contact (PSC) or when the business can show proof of delivery from a post office or recognised courier.

Failed application redress

Please contact the Licensing Team in the first instance.

The Licensing Authority
Council Offices
King George V House
King George V Road

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery).

If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Adviceguide UK (Opens in a new window) will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.