The Charities Bill became law on 8th November 2006.
The Act provides for a system for licensing charitable collections in public. It applies to all such collections, including face-to-face fundraising, involving requests for direct debits.
There is a role for the Charity Commission in checking whether charities and other organisations are fit and proper to carry out public collections. The Commission is responsible for issuing public collections certificates, valid for up to five years.
The previous legislation referred to 'street' collections. The 2006 Act extends this to collections in 'public places' that includes some privately owned land, such as railway station ticket halls and supermarket forecourts. Once a charity has a public collections certificate it is able to apply to the local authority for a permit to hold collections at certain times in certain public places in that borough's area. It is the job of the local authority to ensure that there are not too many collections taking place at the same time, in the same place.
Related information: Street Collections
Previously these have been termed 'house to house' collections. The 2006 Act refers instead to 'door to door' collections, to make it clear that this includes business premises. A charity with a public collections certificate is able to conduct door-to-door collections without permission from a local authority, but it must inform the local authority that the collection is taking place.
Related information: House to House Collections
Some collections are exempt from licensing and do not require either a certificate or permit, but organisers do have to notify the local authority that the collection is taking place; so small scale activities like carol singing should not be disproportionately affected.
Please visit the Charity Commission's website: