Public charitable collection

A public charitable collection means a collection of money, for charitable purposes, from the public, (whether or not you buy anything), taken either in a public place or by means of visits from place to place (e.g. a pub crawl or house to house).

A 'public place' is one where the public has unlimited access, such as the street, but does not include shopping malls or car parks. If you wish to collect in these places you must first obtain permission from the management responsible for the place in which you want to collect.

Charitable purposes are any charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.

There is no fee associated with requesting permission to hold a collection.

Unless exempt, it is essential that any person wishing to hold a Public Charitable Collection obtains permission from the local authority. The holding of a collection without permission is an offence under Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, Section 119. 

Street collections 

Street collections may now be held on any day of the week, however collections are only permitted on any three days in a week, and not on consecutive days. Street collections will generally mean the City Centre but can include streets out with this area. 

In December collections are permitted every day except Sundays and Public Holidays. 

Where an applicant wishes to hold a collection at a related organised event, this may be held on any day of the week required in connection with the said event. 

Under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, the applicant must give the local authority one month’s notice of the collection on application. 

Pub collections or other collections incidental to an event can be held at any time with the appropriate notice given to the Local Authority.  

House to house collections 

A house to house collection can only be for the duration of one week, from Monday – Friday. This does not apply to promises of money through setting up a direct debit which does not require the permission of the Local Authority. 

Exempt organisations 

Anyone organising collections over the whole or a substantial part of Scotland may apply to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) to be made an exempt promoter. The organisation will then be exempt from Section 119 (1) of the 1982 Act and will not require the permission from the Local Authority. The organisation must however, advise the Authority of its intention to collect three months prior to the beginning of the collection. Exempt organisations must also abide by other requirements in the regulations. 

A list of exempt promoters can be found on OSCR’s website 

Available dates 

Any organisation that wishes to hold a public charitable collection should contact licensing to discuss available dates for their proposed collection prior to making a formal application. 

Applications should be submitted by email or in writing.  

This application must be made not later than one month before the date of the collection. Any application which is received late will be considered by Licensing Urgent Business Sub Committee who will make the decision as to whether to allow the application. There is no fee associated with the application. 

Granting 

In granting permission, the council may impose conditions as they think fit and may refuse to grant permission if it appears that: 

  • The date, time, frequency or area of the collection would cause undue public inconvenience. 
  • Another collection which is exempt or in respect of which permission has been granted is due to take place on the same or approximate/consecutive day. 
  • The amount likely to be applied for charitable purposes in consequence of the collection is likely to be inadequate having regard to the likely amount of its proceeds.   
  • The organiser of the collection has been convicted of an offence under the above Regulations, or under legislation, or any other offence involving dishonesty. 

Proceeds of collection 

Arrangements must be made for the receipt of the collection proceeds for any licensed collection and all used and unused materials connected with it including the collector’s badge and certificate of authority at a specified point authorised by the organiser of the collection. 

A record must be kept of the proceeds collected by each collector and details of the collecting materials returned. 

All proceeds of collectors must be remitted to the organiser of the collection unopened, together with the collector’s badge and certificate of authority and any unused collection materials as soon as he ceases to act as a collector or upon demand by the organiser. 

Sealed collecting boxes/envelopes must only be opened by the organiser or his agent in the prescience of an independent responsible person. 

A record must be kept of each numbered collecting box which is returned as well as proceeds in each collector’s collecting box (unless opened by a bank official). In the case of an envelope collection, a record must be kept of the number of envelopes issued to and returned by each collector and the total amount of money in them. 

Information to be provided following the collection 

Within one month of the last date for which there was permission to collect, the organiser must submit to the council accounts showing: 

  • The total amount collected 
  • Any other amount attributable to the collection 
  • All expenses incurred in the collection 
  • The application of the net proceeds of the collection. 

 

These regulations apply to both street and house to house collections.

Before arranging any collection, the organiser must provide the Scottish charities register registration details if the organisation in question refers to itself as a “charity”, “charitable body”, “registered charity” or a “charity registered in Scotland” or have been granted permission by the Council for the area within which the collection is to take place.

They must abide by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and by any fundraising regulations or have been exempted from the requirement to obtain the Council’s permission by order of the Scottish Ministers.

The organiser may appoint an agent, but he must ensure that the agent is a fit and proper person to assist them in organising the collection. The organiser must also ensure that all collectors are fit and proper persons to act as collectors and that they are acquainted with these regulations.

Every collector must carry a Certificate of Authority, signed by the organiser or his agent, and must produce it on demand to a police constable, to any person contributing to the collection, or to any other interested person.

Each Certificate of Authority must show:

  • the name and address of the organiser
  • the name and address of the collector
  • the name of the beneficiaries of the collection
  • the area in which the collector is authorised to collect
  • the period during which the collector is authorised to collect
  • the signature of the collector.

The organiser or his agent must supply each collector with either a collecting box marked with a distinguishing number or a supply of envelopes, and must keep a note of name and address of each collector and the number on each collector’s box, or the number of envelopes issued to each collector.

If the collection is a street collection, no collector must be under 14 years of age.

If the collection is a house to house collection, no collector must be under 16 years of age.

Only contributions in sealed envelopes or placed by the donor in a collection box may be accepted.

Collectors must not annoy people while collecting, and must leave a person’s home if requested to do so.

Collectors must return their Certificates of Authority, collecting boxes and envelopes, unopened, to the organisation or his agent on ceasing to act as a collector or on demand by the organiser or his agent.

Collecting boxes or envelopes may be opened only by the organiser or his agent, in the presence of another responsible person, or by an official of a bank at a bank.

The person opening envelopes must note the number of envelopes returned by each collector and the total amount of money in them, and inform the organiser accordingly.

The person opening collecting boxes must note the number on each collecting box and the amount of money in it, and inform the organiser accordingly.

Within one month of the last date for which he had permission to collect, the organiser must submit to the Council on the enclosed form, accounts showing:

(a) the total amount collected

(b) any other amount attributable to the collection

(c) all expenses incurred in the collection

(d) the application of the net proceeds of the collection.

All accounts must be certified by the organiser and an independent responsible person appointed to act as auditor.

The organiser must retain all vouchers, receipts and other papers relating to the collection for 2 years from the date of submission of the accounts and must exhibit them to the Council if required.

If the collections took place within an area larger than the city of Aberdeen, the organiser must publish a summary of them in one or more newspapers circulating in the area within which the collections took place, within 1 month of submitting the accounts.

The summary must include:

  • the name of the organiser
  • the amount of the proceeds
  • the amount of the expenses
  • the application of the net proceeds

Any organiser contravening or failing to comply with the regulations will be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £500.

Any collector contravening or failing to comply with the regulations will be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £200.

For advice or to submit an application, contact the Licensing team

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