Ombudsman asks Blunkett to clarify street collections

The Local Government Ombudsman has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett to ask him to clarify what power local councils have to investigate charities which apply for street collection licences.

The approach follows his report on Portsmouth City Council which upheld a decision to recommend that it pay damages to the Caring Cancer Trust, charity which was denied a street collection licence. The Council claimed its administration costs were too high.

Jerry White, ombudsman for central and south-west England and south London, said that the Council's inquiry in to administration costs would have been legal under sections of the Charities Act 1992, but these sections were never brought into force.

He has called on Blunkett to activate the law or publish guidance for local councils.

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