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Street Collections Fact Sheet

This Note is not a full and authoritative statement of the law and does not constitute professional or legal advice. The Licensing Authority does not accept any liability or responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages.

Do I need a Permit to carry out a Street Collection?

Any Person who wishes to collect money or sell articles for the benefit of charitable or other purposes is required to apply for a collection permit. No collection shall be made unless a promoter has first obtained a permit from the relevant Licensing Authority.


How and when do I need to make an application?

A collection or sale which is to be held on any highway and public bridge, road, lane footway, square, court, alley or passage, whether a thoroughfare or not will require a permit.

A collection which is to take place within a private building, for example a supermarket, does not require a permit.

However, if you wish to hold a collection standing in the entrance of a private premises and solicit contributions from passers by then a permit will be required. 

Collections at supermarket forecourts etc need be authorised by way of a permit. Please refer to list of definitions provided at end of this guidance note for more information.


How do I make my application?

Apply for a Street Collection Permit.

In order that you are able to carry out a collection on the day/dates/times you require, provisional bookings for street collections may be made via email to the licensing team at licensing@swdevon.gov.uk

We strongly recommend that you make a provisional booking before sending in your application to avoid disappointment. Another organisation may already have been issued a permit for the dates/times for which you hoped to collect.


When do I need to apply?

We require one month's notice for these types of charitable collections. Please Note: Although every effort is made to meet preferred dates we do experience a high volume of applications for Saturday collections, over the Christmas period and on national holidays. We process applications by date of receipt, so it is best to return your application forms as soon as possible.


When will I receive my Permit?

On receipt of your application form we will check that the form is completed correctly and that the date(s) requested are still available. If we are not able to issue a permit for your requested date(s) we will contact you. 

If all is satisfactory, a permit will be issued with a promoter return form - please see the 'Form of Statement' section of this guidance note for more information.


How Many Permits are issued in each area?

Only one permit will be issued per area per day. However, this requirement may be relaxed where an increase of applications is made in response to national/international disasters or over the busier festive season. This is always with the prior approval of the Licensing Manager.


How Many Collections can I hold in a year?

In general, the Council permits one collection per organisation per year.


What do I do if a collection is cancelled?

If the collection is cancelled in advance, for example due to lack of volunteers, we request that the council be notified. The issued permit should be returned to us so that we may issue another permit for the vacated date. In this case, no further paperwork relating to this collection will be required.

If the Licensing Team does not receive notification of cancellation or if the collection does not take place due to unforeseen circumstances, like bad weather, a statement of form needs to be returned. This should be returned within one month of the cancelled collection date, showing 'nil' entries. Please also include a short covering letter explaining the reasons for the cancellation.


Who can take part in the collection?

No person may assist or take part in any collection without the written authority of the promoter. This person shall produce such written authority for inspection on being requested to do so by a duly authorised officer of the licensing authority or any constable.

No promoter, collector or person who is otherwise connected with a collection shall permit a person under the age of sixteen years to act as a collector.


What receptacle can I use for the collection?

  • Every collector shall carry a collecting box.
  • All collecting boxes shall be numbered consecutively and shall be securely closed and sealed in such a way as to prevent them being opened without the seal being broken.
  • All money received by a collector from contributors shall immediately be placed in a collecting box.
  • Every collector shall deliver, unopened, all collecting boxes in his/her possession to a promoter.
  • A collector shall not carry or use any collecting box, receptacle or tray which does not display prominently the name of the charity or fund which is to benefit nor any collecting box which is not numbered.

How should collectors conduct themselves?

No collection shall be made in a manner likely to inconvenience or annoy any person.

No collector shall importune any person to the annoyance of such person.

Unless consent has been given by the business owner/manager, collectors should not obstruct the entranceway to shops and other businesses.


What details do I need to supply to the Licensing Authority following my collection?

Within one month after the date of any collection, the person to whom a permit has been granted will need to provide the council with the following:

  • A Form of Statement, available from the Licensing Team and the Council's website (please note that a Form of Statement will be included with your permit) showing the amount received and the expenses and payments incurred in connection with the collection. The Permit Holder and a qualified accountant must certify this return. For the purposes of this requirement 'a qualified accountant' means a member of one or more of the following bodies:
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales 
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland
    • The Association of Certified Accountants
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • A list of the collectors along with a list of the amounts contained in each collecting box.
  • Where collections raise £100.00 or over, a copy of a newspaper advert published within one month of the collection date. This should be published in the local press at the permit holder's own expense and set out the following matters: 
    • the name of the person to whom the permit was granted 
    • the area to which the permit relates 
    • the name of the charity or fund to benefit 
    • the date of the collection 
    • the amount collected
    • the amount of the expenses and payments incurred in connection with the collection.

Definitions

For the purposes of this guidance note, unless the context otherwise requires:

  • 'Street' includes any highway and any public bridge, road, lane, footway, square, court, alley or passage, whether a thoroughfare or not.
  • 'Collection' means a collection of money or sale of articles for the benefit of charitable or other purposes and the word 'collector' shall be construed accordingly.
  • 'Promoter' means any person who causes others to act as collectors.
  • 'The Licensing Authority' means the West Devon Borough Council or South Hams District Council.
  • 'Permit' means a permit for collection.
  • 'Contributor' means a person who contributes to a collection and includes a purchaser of articles for sale for the benefit of charitable or other purposes.
  • 'Collecting Box' means a box or other receptacle for the collection of money.

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