Charitable Door to Door Clothing Collections

The Facts

As our trade association represents both charities and commercial collection partners, we recognise that both types of organisation have a valuable role to play when undertaking professional charitable door to door clothing collections which can raise substantial funds for charitable purposes.

However, it has become increasingly apparent that there is a lot of misunderstanding amongst the public about the relative merits of the different types of charitable clothing collections and we are therefore explaining here how legitimate, professional door to door clothing collections work, how the charities benefit and where you can go to find out other unbiased reliable information.

The website is divided into different subject areas. To find out more information just click on each on the relevant section! If you would like further information you can use the Contact Us facility on this website.

1. How do charitable door to door clothing collections work and why should they be supported?

There are three main ways in which charitable door to door clothing collections operate. All have their relative merits. If you would like to find out and also find out why you should consider supporting these collections
click here!

2. The Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice for covering Door to Door Collections.

In 2011 The Institute of Fundraising (which represents Professional Charitable Fundraisers) published its revised its’ Code of Practice for Charitable Door to Door Collections. In November 2012 it incorporated the key requirements of their code into a revised “Code of Fundraising Practice” which covers a broad spectrum of charitable fundraising activities. To view the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice click here.
To view the specific section relating to charitable door to door collections click here.

3. The law regarding charitable door to door clothing collections.

England and Wales
Before a charitable door to door collection can take place in England and Wales, the collector must either obtain a licence from the licensing department of the relevant local authority in the area where the collection is due to take place or they must hold a national exemption from obtaining licences which is granted by the Cabinet Office.  The licensing of charitable door to door collections is principally regulated in England and Wales under the 1939 House to House Collections Act. For further information click here.

If a collector makes an application to undertake a charitable collection and the licence is refused, then the collector can lodge an appeal to the relevant Minister (in October 2016 this was with the Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet Office).

In 2016 the Cabinet Office has issued revised guidance on the National Exemption Order scheme which can be viewed here.

In addition, due to changes in the structure of the UK Government at some point during late 2016 or early 2017 responsibility for making decisions on National Exemption Orders and appeals against decisions to refuse licences will move from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Culture Media and Sports.

Scotland. 
The requirements are similar in Scotland insofar as a charitable door to door collector must either apply for a licence with a licensing authority before a collection can take place or if they collect throughout Scotland they can apply for a national exemption. Guidance entitled “Charity Doorstep Collections – Making an Informed Choice” is available from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator click here.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland charitable door to door clothing collections are governed by the “House to House Charitable Collections Act (NI) 1952” and by the regulations made under that Act. Under Section 2 of the Act, organisers of charitable clothing collections have to apply for a licence from the police force.

Guidance on Charity Doorstep Collections in Northern Ireland was issued by the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland in 2011.  To view click here.

4. Guidance for Licensing Officers.

The National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers (NALEO) has issued guidance to its members on how they should consider licensing applications for charitable door to door clothing collections in England and Wales.  To view this guidance click here.

The Office for Civil Society’s (Cabinet Office’s) revised position on how it considers appeals against refusals to issue licences for charitable door to door collections.

In 2011, the Office for Civil Society revised its position on how it considers appeals against decisions made by licensing departments to refuse licences for charitable door to door collections.
The Office for Civil Society state:

“As a starting point, house to house collections appeals will be considered afresh on their merits, based on the information provided by the applicant to the local licensing authority, and any additional information provided to us by either party. This approach represents a shift, based on legal advice, from our previous position of simply reviewing whether the local licensing authority’s decision was one that it could legitimately make (without consideration of the merits of the application).”  For further information click here and follow the relevant link on the next page.

What does the Office for Civil Society’s revised position on appeals means for local authorities?

5. What is a charitable purpose and how much does it receive?

A “charity” may publicise that it receives 100% of the value of the goods and claim that other charities are only getting 5% of the income.  But is it really the “charity” that is receiving the income and how much is really going to charitable purpose?  Can one form of fundraising really raise 20 times as much money as another form?  To find the truth behind cleverly worded statements click here.

6. How can I be sure that the collection leaflet or bag that has been posted through my door is legitimate?

If you would like to try and ensure that your donation is going to a legitimate charitable cause or even if your motives for donating used clothing and textiles are driven purely by legitimate and very important environmental reasons please click here.

 

Further reading:

The main ways in which charitable door to door clothing collections work and how charities benefit

The law regarding charitable door to door clothing collections

Guidance for National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers

What is a Charitable Purpose and how much does it receive?

How can I be sure that the collection leaflet or bag that has been posted through my door is legitimate?

The Preamble to the Charitable Uses Act 1601