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A permit is required by anyone collecting money or selling
articles for charitable purposes in a public place and it is an
offence to hold a collection without one. There are two types of
to door (House to House Collection). A House to House
Collection is required for door-to-door collections, as well as
collections in public houses (this includes rose-sellers).
Charities collecting clothes, bric-a-brac etc. also require a
- on the
street (Street Collection). A Street Collection is
required for collection of money or sale of articles for the
benefit of charitable purposes in any street or public place.
Some clothing collection bags or leaflets may give the
impression that they are for charity when in fact the
collection is being carried out by a profit-making company. These
misleading materials may not use the words 'registered charity' but
instead use pictures or wording that imply that the appeal is
charitable, for example 'sick children at Christmas' or 'families
The council has also been made aware of some cases where
fraudsters have used the name, logo and charity registration number
of a genuine charity to appeal for donations and keep the profits.
To ensure that your donations reach those most in need, we
have have compiled some tips for you to determine if they are
bogus or not:
- Most genuine collections will be raising funds for a specific
individually named charity. You should be suspicious of any leaflet
that does not state the name of the charity.
- If a collection is for a registered charity, legally this must
be stated on any document advertising the collection on behalf of
the charity. Genuine leaflets will usually provide a charity
registration number. Most door to door collections will leave their
bags at least two days before they collect any donations, allowing
you time to check the Charity Commission's
online register of charities.
- Some advertising leaflets will give the impression that they
are from a charity but provide a company registration number. This
number is not the same as charity registration number and may be a
sign that the organisation is operating commercially for profit and
is not charitable. You can check company registration numbers
Companies House. This will confirm that the number is not
a charity but operating commercially.
- If for whatever reason you are still unsure about whether a
collection is genuine, for example if it looks unprofessionally
produced, is badly worded or contains spelling mistakes, and if you
still wish to donate then you should try contacting the charity to
check that the collection is legitimate. If the leaflet only gives
mobile phone contacts or none at all, it may be a sign that the
organisation is not collecting on behalf of a legitimate
- If you are concerned that your donations may not reach a
registered charity then you can always give directly to your local
charity shop or at any official clothing collection point.
- Get your friends and neighbours involved, and contact your
A word of caution - leaflets which appear to be bogus
may be genuine after all and vice-versa (eg fakes).
Also, if you do want the collectors caught, you don't want to alert
them to the possibility they'll be stopped.
If you think it's an unlicensed collections please contact the
licensing team. We can tell you (a) if we have granted a licence
for the collection and (b) has it got a 'National Exemption Order'
(NEO). If it's not licensed (or exempt) then it will passed
to the licensing enforcement team to investigate further. To assist
us with the investigation we would be grateful if you could provide
the following: the leaflet or bag - by
(a) sending it to the council (a) or by emailing
images by using a computer scanner or mobile phone. To give us the
opportunity of catching these individual it would be extremely
useful to note down details (such as the vehicle registration
number and description of people).
To complain about a misleading leaflet or bag appealing for
clothing donations please contact Trading Standards.
After the collection day, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
if you think the leaflet or bag was misleading.
Also, the police may be able to take action themselves using the
Theft of bags: If you see
anyone taking filled bags before the official collector
arrives, note details (such as the vehicle registration number
and description) and ring the police immediately.
Please also notify the
Charity Commission so that they can gather information on
offenders and work with their partners to combat and raise
awareness of fraud.
Behaviour of collectors
Genuine charity collectors should be happy to answer questions
and give further information. Some methods of fundraising (for
example face-to-face fundraising, or approaching the public in the
street) can make people feel uncomfortable.
If you are concerned by the behaviour of the collector, then you
should contact the charity directly. All charities should have open
and accessible complaints procedures to deal with these issues.
If you are not satisfied with the response from the
charity, then you can complain to the Fundraising Standards Board, which
deals with complaints about fundraising activity.
You can also contact the Public Fundraising Regulatory
For more information contact Licensing Unit by
telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 /
Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road,
Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR