Fundraising News: Institute calls for street permits

Joe Gill

All street fundraising, including collections by small and local organisations, should require a permit under the new Charities Bill, according to the Institute of Fundraising in its submission to the Commons scrutiny committee.

Local and house-to-house collections are currently exempt from licensing regulations and remain so in the draft Bill.

Under the new licensing system, small and local charities - both of which will need to be clearly defined - should also be assisted in getting fair access to collecting opportunities, says the institute.

Provision should be made within the Bill to ensure controls over "inappropriate commercial promotions, over-frequent collections or collections at inappropriate times of day," it adds.

The submission raises concerns about local authorities' ability to cope with the requirements to issue certificates of fitness, permits to collect and to maintain a diary of all collecting activity. It urges the Government to give grants to local authorities to set up application systems for public collections to offset the costs of their new licensing role.

It says that the Scottish Charities Bill's inclusion of provision for Government funding for organisations to "enable them to better implement their purposes" should also be in the Westminster bill.

It also urges clear statutory guidance for licensing authorities, rather than having a deregulated framework.

Andrew Watt, head of policy at the institute, said the submission sought the creation of a unified licensing system to replace current regulations that were confusing and out of date. The institute says the Bill should have the potential to create a "clear, unified and, above all, consistent structure" for licensing public collections.

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