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Charitable street collections law

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Charity collection boxes (for coins)
Charity collection boxes (for money)

See the Notes section at the top of the Law on house-to-house collections page for information on geographical coverage and accuracy.

Our scope:  The focus of CharityBags' efforts is on house-to-house collections, rather than street collections.  However, the two types are closely related.  Therefore we thought it helpful to include a summary of the law on street collections as well.

'Street collections' - definition:  "Street collections" means collecting money (or selling goods) for the benefit of a charitable purpose in streets or public places while stationary - ie without going house-to-house / door-to-door.
Example:  static collectors with cans for cash - standing on street corners and in shopping centres.

The 1916 Act and national Regulations

Street collections are regulated by the following legislation (=laws) :

  • Police, Factories, etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916
    This elderly Act was passed half way through the 1st World War.
    The Act deals with charitable street collections and several other (unrelated) matters.
  • The Charitable Collections (Transitional Provisions) Order 1974
  • The Street Collections (Metropolitan Police District) Regulations 1979
    This covers collections in London.

Street collections - local Regulations

Pile of one-pound coins

Under the 1916 Act, the 1974 Order and the 1979 Regulations, local Regulations may be made (by the local authority).

The powers are discretionary - in other words a council can choose whether to make local Regulations or not - it's not compulsory.  The Home Office report on collections (2003) states that 80% of local authorities do license street collections.  (Compare this with house-to-house collections, where the controls are compulsory, ie mandatory.)

You can obtain details of any local Regulations in your area by contacting the licensing section of your local council.

To see an example of local Regulations, click below :

Related pages

Law on charitable house-to-house collections - especially the 1939 Act

Comparison of the law on house-to-house collections and street collections - a table

Charity law reforms - eg the Charities Act 2006

Acts and Regulations (law)

Variations across the UK - differences in law and government