Government to research public collections licensing

Office of the Third Sector wants 'cost-effective and proportionate' system

The Office of the Third Sector is to commission independent research into how the proposed new licensing system for public charitable collections should work.

The Charities Act 2006 gave ministers powers to establish a new licensing body, but the details were left to be filled in by secondary legislation. The Government aims to develop a "cost-effective, risk-based and proportionate" system that will deter bogus collections and excessive collection in one area.

The researchers, who will be chosen in early 2009, will assess the costs and benefits of any new scheme compared to existing ones. A spokesman for the OTS said he did not want to pre-empt any decision on how any new scheme would work or whether the Charity Commission would be given extra funds to administer it.

He said that if the outcome of the research was positive, the scheme could be in place by 2010.

Campbell Robb, director general of the Office of the Third Sector, said: "We want a simple, consistent licensing system that will make it easier for charities that collect in more than one area to handle the paperwork."

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