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Street charity collection regulations

In my local hight street in Crouch End, North London there is a woman who sets up a trestle table every Saturday to collect money on behalf of anti-animal cruelty causes. She has leaflets from various organisations on the table and a yellow collecting tin with no indication of which charity she is collecting for.

Last Saturday, I asked her (politely) for the names of the charities she was collecting for and she was very evasive. She said that she "distributed the money to a variety of charities that might change from week to week". I asked her whether she was under any legal obligation to make it clear how and where their money was being distributed. She said that she wasn't aware of any regulations.

Could anyone on this forum could clarify this for me:-

1) Is any permit required to collect for charity on the street?
2) Is there any obligation to make it clear to which charity the money is being donated?
3) Who regulates street collections and where would I find the relevant regulations?
4) If I am still left with suspicions about this women, who should I report this to?

I have no gripe against someone collecting money to prevent animal cruelty but this just smells a little fishy to me. I saw a lot of young children giving this women their pocket money as they walked past and I would hate to think that this money wasn't being put to good use.



  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
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    1) I know if you're doing a door to door or street collection with tins then yes, you do need a licence. Not so sure on whether putting up a trestle table and having a tin on it would be covered, if she's not creating an obstruction then there may not be, but ...

    2) if it was an official charity collection tin then yes: ours have all relevant details on, plus there's a security seal on so that it cannot be opened without it being obvious. Tin comes in, we count and record contents and notify collector.

    3) local council, and see if they can advise on 4) but I'd say police.

    This would be ringing alarm bells with me too, btw!
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  • Hi, think i can help a little:

    1) Yes a street permit is required for what this lady is doing
    2) I'm almost 100% sure that she needs to stipulate which charities, even if there are more than 1.
    3) The local council regulate this, you can speak to the licensing department
    4) As OP suggested, if in doubt speak to the police

    Again, as OP said, tins should be sealed with the charity's name, address, and charity number printed on. The box should be emptied with strict guidelines (2 non related people should count, check and sign for the money).

    This lady i'm afraid does sound very shady to me, although i hope that she isn't. There is info on street collecting on the HMRC website too if you want to do some research before calling the council.
  • On the surface she sounds shady but there could be a possibility she is genuinly giving the money over to the charities and thinks she's helping ... but legally I would think she's breaking some laws there myself!
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  • richdan
    richdan Posts: 8 Forumite
    Thanks CazS and Marilyn!

    Update: I have now been in touch with the local police who will be speaking to this woman this Saturday (1/9/12)

    I'll update this thread once I know the outcome
  • This sounds very dodgy, but even where there is a registered charity number it is worth looking at their details on the Charity Commission Register to see how much money is actually going to the cause and exactly what it is being spent on. We have had threads on MSE about this in the past, and uncovered some unwelcome information.

    Animals, cancer, children and disasters are causes that are commonly used by unscrupulous collectors to take advantage of people's generosity.
    Who having known the diamond will concern himself with glass?

    Rudyard Kipling

  • richdan wrote: »
    Thanks CazS and Marilyn!

    Update: I have now been in touch with the local police who will be speaking to this woman this Saturday (1/9/12)

    I'll update this thread once I know the outcome

    Any news yet?

    Was the person there again on 8 September?
  • Any news yet?

    Was the person there again on 8 September?

    Well, I have no idea what happened with the police but since I reported it, she hasn't been seen since!
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