House to House Collections

Promoters of charitable collections which take place from door to door in the three Rivers District area (whether at residential properties or businesses) must obtain a house to house collection licence from us, under the House to House Collections Act 1939.

Collections must be licensed irrespective of whether it is intended to collect cash donations, or donations of household goods, clothing, toys, or other items. Collections carried out by commercial companies, where a proportion of the revenues are donated to charity, must also be licensed.

Applications for licences must be made using the application form (see below), specifying the proposed collection location(s) and date(s), and the details of the charity or cause which will benefit from the collection. Applications must be submitted at least one month prior to the proposed collection date. Licences may be requested for up to 12 months, although we would prefer that shorter, more specific time periods are requested.

On receipt of an application, we will review and consider the details given. We may refuse an application on any of the following grounds:

  • the proportion of the total proceeds likely to be applied to charity purposes is inadequate,
  • the proposed remuneration for promoters or collectors is excessive,
  • the collection is likely to be linked to illegal street trading, begging, solicitation, or other vagrancy offences,
  • the applicant is not a fit and proper person, by virtue of previous convictions for fraud or dishonesty offences,
  • during previous collections, the applicant failed to ensure that the collectors were fit and proper persons, or failed to comply with the regulations, or allowed official badges to be used in connection with unlicensed collections, or
  • the applicant has neglected or refused to provide all relevant information in connection with the application.

We will aim to process all applications within 28 days of receipt. Tacit consent will not apply to this application type. You must not assume that your permit is granted just because you have not heard from us. 

Controlling the spread of coronavirus during house-to-house collections

Government laws and guidance on coronavirus require you  to put in place measures to control the risk of the transmission of coronavirus. 

To meet with these requirements, you will need to have carried out a suitable Covid-secure risk assessment for your activities. You can find out how to do this on the Health and Safety Executive website.

You must:

  • Prepare the Covid-secure risk assessment as part of your planning for your house-to-house collections
  • Submit a copy of your risk assessment with your application. You should apply for a licence at least 28 days before the proposed collection
  • Implement and manage the risk assessment during your house-to-house collections
  • Make the risk assessment available if one of our authorised officers asks you to

If you do not submit a suitable Covid-secure risk assessment with your application, or any part of the risk assessment or associated controls fail to meet current coronavirus law or guidance, we may refuse your application or not allow the collection to go ahead. 

Apply for a licence

You can make an application for a house to house collection licence by downloading an application form to complete and submit to us.

Application for a house to house collection permit (pdf)

Carrying out collections

If an application is granted, we will issue a licence allowing the collection to take place. The licence will specify the dates and location of the licensed collection, and you must not collect outside these dates or in any other location.

All collections must be carried out in accordance with the House to House Collections Regulations 1947.

The Regulations include the following requirements:

  • Promoters must take all reasonable steps to ensure that collectors are fit and proper persons, and that they comply with the applicable regulations.
  • Promoters must issue every collector with a prescribed certificate of authority and badge, obtained from HM Stationery Office, before they take any part in the collection.
  • For money collections, each collector must be issued with a sealed and numbered collection container, or a receipt book for recording all donations, which is clearly marked with details of the cause which will benefit from the collection.
  • The full name and address of every collector issued with a certificate and badge must be recorded by the promoter, along with the number of any collection container or receipt book allocated to them.
  • Collectors must sign the certificate and badge given to them, carry the certificate and wear the badge whenever collecting, and return them both to the promoter at the end of the collection.
  • No person under 16 years of age can act as a collector.
  • Collectors cannot harass or annoy any person while collecting, and must leave a property if requested to do so.
  • Collection containers must only be opened by the promoter accompanied by another responsible person, or at a bank by a bank official.
  • Promoters must supply a statement of account to us, showing the amount of money or property collected, using the form(s) we provide, within one month of the expiry of the licence. The account must either be certified by a professional auditor or chartered accountant, or be accompanied by receipts for all collections, expenses, and donations to the beneficiary charity.

While the licence is valid, it can be revoked at any time if any of the grounds for refusal of the initial application become relevant - in particular, if the conduct of collectors does not satisfy the above requirements.

After the collection

Following a house to house collection, a statement of accounts, showing the monies raised from the collection, any deductions, and how the proceeds were dispersed, must be submitted to us within one month of the expiry of the licence.

We will issue template returns forms with every licence, which can be completed and posted back to us. Alternatively, promoters may file a return electronically, using the link below.

Supply a house to house collection return (via GOV.UK)

Right of appeal against refused application

If you apply for a licence and we refuse your application, you have a right of appeal. We will give you a written notice setting out the grounds for refusal. You may then appeal to the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, within 14 days of the date on which our notice was given to you. The Cabinet Secretary's decision will be final.

National Exemption Orders

Charities carrying out collections in a large number of areas may apply to the Cabinet Office for a national exemption order, which exempts them from the requirement to apply to each individual council for a collection licence.

Even though a licence is not required from us by holders of exemption orders wishing to collect in Three Rivers, we would encourage those charities to contact us as early as possible with their proposed dates, to help us ensure that our residents are not inundated with requests for donations.

The Cabinet Office maintains a list of the charities which currently hold exemption orders. It should be noted that only collections carried out or arranged directly by these charities will be exempt from the licensing requirement.


If you have a complaint about a house to house collection, we would advise that in the first instance you contact the collection's organiser (or beneficiary charity). The best way to do this is by sending a letter or email. You can also contact the Fundraising Standards Board, if you don't think the charity dealt with your complaint appropriately.

If you believe that an unlicensed collection may have taken place, or if a collection has been carried out in breach of the regulations, please contact us with the details, and we will investigate further.

If you have concerns about whether a charity is genuine or operating in accordance with charities law, please contact the Charity Commission.

More information

For more information on house to house collections, please phone us on 01923 776611, or email