Street collections licence

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Licence summary

Information about street collection licences and definition of a 'public place'

It is unlawful in this country to hold a street collection in a street or public place, or to collect money for the benefit of charitable or other purposes without obtaining a street collection licence from the council. A 'public place' is a 'place where the public has access'.

It is sometimes assumed that collections held in shop doorways or car parks do not need a 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 type of licence would be valid (i.e. a pedlars licence issued by the police cannot be used for this purpose). Only local authorities issue street collection licences under Section 5 of the Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1916, as amended by the Local Government Act 1972 and Schedule 29 of that Act.

There are no costs for the issuing of the licence but there are conditions to be followed:

  • Street collections are usually made by charities
  • Collections usually take place in a town centre
  • Money is normally 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; that the total proceeds collected are properly accounted for.

However, a street collection licence is not required in respect of a collection taken at a meeting that takes place in the open air or to sell articles in any street or public place when the articles are sold in the ordinary course of trade.

Street Collection licences will not be issued on Monday and Saturday market days due to complaints from members of the public and shop and market traders.

To avoid clashing with the night time economy, we only grant licences for collections between 8:30am and 5:30pm.

Please read the guidance notes and the licence conditions before applying.