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House-to-house collections versus street collections - a comparison of the law (a table)

Headings on this page :


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

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

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've included some information on street collections as well.

We've not researched the law on street collections in detail - so don't treat our comparison below as authoritative.

The law on house-to-house collections differs from that of street collections in various ways. We've compiled the table below to highlight the differences.


Regulation of charitable
house-to-house collections
Regulation of charitable
street collections
Name of the Act House to House Collections Act Police, Factories, etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act
Date of Act 1939 1916
Era 2nd World War  =WW2 1st World War  =WW1
Scope of Act Only house-to-house collections Street collections and various other matters (unconnected)
Date of national Regulations 1947 and 1963 1974 and 1979
Date of local Regulations Not applicable Varies from authority to authority
Mandatory or not? Mandatory (ie compulsory) - licensing authorities can't opt out Discretionary (ie optional) - authorities choose whether to introduce Regulations or not
Geographical Coverage of Regulations National (England and Wales) Local - if a licensing authority introduces Regulations, they only apply to its geographical area
Variation None - the rules are identical for all licensing authorities Variable - each authority produces its own Regulations, with its own wording
Items covered Collection of money or
collection of goods (eg clothing)
Collection of money 
or sale of goods.
In practice it's usually money
Form of authorisation 1) Licence from the licensing authority, or
2) National Exemption Order from the Cabinet Office, or
3) Local exemption by police
Permit from the licensing authority
Refusal of licence: Right of appeal? Yes, to the Secretary of State (Cabinet Office) within 14 days No
Type of collection The collectors move from house to house (or building to building) The collector is static (=stationary) - eg in a shopping centre or high street

Related pages

Scale of justice 204w

The law on house-to-house collections - eg the 1939 Act

The law on street collections - eg the 1916 Act

Charity law reforms - eg the Charities Act 2006

Acts and Regulations

Variations across the UK