The main Act of Parliament covering the licensing of house to house collections is the House to House Collections Act 1939 and regulations made thereunder. These regulations are summarised in this leaflet and provide for the legal control and supervision of licensed collections.
The 1939 Act was introduced with the main aim of preventing the promotion of collections by which considerable sums of money were collected from the public but with very little going to a charitable purpose. Parliament intended, however, to introduce a licensing code for “reasonable activities of reputable charities”. The 1939 Act will, in due course, be replaced by the Charities Act 1992 which will introduce a new licensing code.
Licences for door to door collections are granted to promoters who then empower other persons to act as collectors. You must specify the charitable purpose to benefit from your collection and tell us whether you wish to collect in all or part of Portsmouth.
Licences can be granted for such time periods as we consider suitable and we can either shorten (or extend!) the time period for collecting. In special circumstances, a licence could be issued for a period of 18 months, the normal ‘maximum’ time however is 12 months. From experience, we note, promoters normally apply for a licence for monthly periods at a time.
There are no rules preventing us from granting a number of licences in any one year to the same promoter but in each and every case we must be satisfied that you have complied with the requirements of the Act. Although we can refuse to grant or revoke (on prescribed grounds) a licence, we cannot do so merely because your collecting dates might ‘clash’ with another collection.