Law could mute carol singers

This could be the last Christmas that charity carol singers are allowed to take to the streets without first notifying their local authority of their route and plans.

Home Office plans for a new regulatory framework for public fundraising, to be enacted in the new Charities Bill, suggest that such locally based small-scale collections should face greater regulation.

The proposal, which was part of the Home Office's consultation document Public Collections, is one of several that charities have responded to during the consultation period that closed yesterday.

Another proposal for a new 'lead local authority' system, requiring charities to undergo a preliminary check with a nominated authority and then to seek permission to fundraise in each individual local authority, has already met with resistance, with some charities endorsing instead a national 'passport to fundraise', administered by the Charity Commission.

Barnardo's and Christian Aid have also expressed concern that the proposals do not distinguish between door-to-door fundraising, where fundraisers knock on doors trying to recruit regular direct debit donors, and house-to-house cash collections.

However, charities are optimistic that these difficulties can be ironed out.

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