House to House Collections Licence

House to House Collection Licensing Policy

East Cambridgeshire District Council, as the Licensing Authority, is empowered under the House-to-House Collections Act 1939 and the House-to-House Collections Regulations 1947 to licence house-to-house charitable, benevolent or philanthropic collections involving the collection of either money or items directly from a person’s property or within public houses in the East Cambridgeshire district.

Although there is no legal requirement for the Council to adopt a policy on how it proposes to licence charitable collections in the East Cambridgeshire district, Members of the Council’s Licensing Committee consider it best practice adopting such a policy to ensure consistency and transparency in the way the Council carries out its licensing functions in relation to house-to-house collections.

On 14 November 2012 the Licensing Committee approved the House to House Collection Licensing Policy following consultation with relevant stakeholders and members of the public from 25 June 2012 to 21 September 2012

To carry out house-to-house collections for charitable and / or philanthropic purposes in England and Wales you require a licence issued under the House to House Collections Act 1939 by the local authority in whose district the collection is proposed to take place.

Applications must be in the form prescribed by the local authority. There is no fee payable for a house-to-house collection licence. You must be deemed by the licensing authority to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence and the licensing authority may carry out checks to ascertain if the organisation applying is genuine or not. There is a requirement for the promoter of the collection to make a return following the collection. Collections generally take place from door to door or from one public house to another.

Larger well-known charities that hold a Home Office exemption certificate are not required to apply for house-to-house collection licences. Smaller and local groups and organisations that do not hold exemption certificates must be granted with a house-to-house collection licence before they can collect money or articles, which they intend to sell later, from door to door.

Application Forms

Before completing your application, your attention is drawn to our privacy and data retention policy.

Fines & Penalties

If you don’t get a licence before starting house-to-house collections you could face:

  • up to 6 months in prison

  • a fine of up to £1,000

If you or anyone collecting on your behalf does not give a police officer their name, address and signature when asked, they could be fined up to £200.

National Exemption Order Scheme

The Minister for the Cabinet Office is responsible for the national exemption order scheme for house-to-house collections under the House to House Collections Act 1939 (as amended). National exemption orders are generally available to charitable organisations that have obtained house to house collection licences in at least 70-100 local authority licensing areas for the two preceding years and are able to provide evidence of licences and collection returns.

Details of the application process and a list of exemption order holders (external link) can be found on


There is a statutory right of appeal against the refusal to grant a house-to-house collection licence and the grounds for refusal are set out in the Act itself.

One of the key grounds for refusal would be where the total amount likely to be applied for charitable purpose as a result of the collection is inadequate in proportion to the value of the proceeds likely to be received.

Where an applicant intends to claim a fair proportion of the proceeds of the collection for expenses, a permit could be refused, however, there is no statutory guidance to local authorities on what would be a reasonable amount for expenses.

It is in the public interest that East Cambridgeshire District Council must process your application before it can be authorised. If you have not received a response to your application within a reasonable period, please contact us using the contact details below:

The Licensing Department, East Cambridgeshire District Council, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4EE
Tel: 01353 665555

If you are an applicant or a third party, you should always contact us in the first instance if you have any queries, concerns or cause for complaint preferably in the form of a letter with proof of delivery. If you are not satisfied with the outcome and are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Consumer Service (external link) will give you advice. If you are from outside the UK, please contact the UK European Consumer Centre (external link).

Public Registers

Trade Associations

There are no trade associations associated with a house-to-house collection licence.

Link to EUGO website (external link)Link to GOV.UK website (external link)