Street collections

Details about street collections, how to apply for a street collection permit or submit a statement of accounts (a return) after a collection.

Street collectors are people standing in a street or public place with a collecting tin, hoping that the public will donate to their charity.

A street includes any highway and any public bridge, road, lane, footway, square, court, alley or passage.

A collection means a collection of money or a sale of articles for a charitable or other purpose.

Charitable street collections are regulated by the Police, Factories etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916.

If you are collecting on the street you must have a permit from us.

You don't need a permit from us for a collection that takes place:

  • In an area where there is no public right of access (e.g. inside a shopping mall, cinema, theatre, private home or work/business premises)
  • During a public meeting
  • By using an unattended collecting tin, kept in a fixed position, in a public place

How to apply for a street collection permit

You can apply online for a permit using the GOV.UK website.

Apply online - street collection permit

To do this you will need to use Adobe Reader 8.1 or above.  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

If you prefer, you can download the forms here:

pdf icon Street collection permit [83kb]

You should make the application for a permit at least 28 days before the proposed collection.

Book your date

To avoid disappointment and to help with the planning of a street collection, we would encourage applicants to provisionally 'book' their preferred collection dates before applying for their associated street collection permit.

To provisionally 'book' your preferred collection dates, please contact our Licensing team using the contact details on this page.

This 'booking' service is offered on a 'first-come, first-served' basis and on the understanding that any 'booking' is provisional only. It is also subject to our general approach to allocating dates and policies on the equality of opportunity outlined in our pdf icon Guidance for applicants - Street collection permits [175kb].

Permit cost

There are no fees for this service.

Inspections and assessment

You must supply a statement of accounts (return) for any previous collections you have carried out.

We may notify the police of any application and contact other local authorities where there have been similar collections.

More information and guidance

For more information on how to apply for a street collections permit, see our guidance notes below.

pdf icon Guidance for applicants - Street collection permits [175kb]

What happens after you apply for a permit

If we grant you a permit, we will send you the relevant permit document so that you can lawfully carry out your collection.

Where appropriate, we will also contact your charity/cause to tell them you will be conducting a street collection on their behalf on the dates we have given you.

You must submit a statement of expenses (return) after each street collection.

If we are unable to grant your application for any reason, we will notify you of this, and the reasons why.

Offences and penalties

It is an offence to hold a charitable collection without a permit from us.

The courts may fine you up to £200 if found guilty.

Customer complaints

If you have a complaint against a charity, we advise you first to contact the charity - preferably by letter (with proof of delivery).

If this doesn't work

If you are outside the UK, you should contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Submit a statement of accounts (a return form)

After each collection, you must submit a return form that tells us how much money you raised as well as how much you spent on expenses such as printing, stationery, collecting boxes.

You must send this form back to us within one month of each collection.

It must be signed by the promoter and either an accountant or an independent responsible person.

Even if no collection took place, you must complete this form.

You can submit the return form online using the GOV.UK website. 

To do this you will need to use Adobe Reader 8.1 or above.  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

If you prefer you can download the pdf icon Return form for street collection permits [49kb].

 
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