Charity collections

If you collect money for charity from house to house or street collections you will usually need to have either a house to house collections licence or a street collections permit.

Our Charity Collections Policy was adopted by the Council in December 2017.  This included the re-adoption of Model Street Collections Regulations.  It was reviewed informally 18 months after adoption in June 2019 and approved by the Council's Regulatory Committee. 

We have issued a revised Icon for pdf draft Charity Collections Policy [249.1KB] for consultation.  We welcome any comments and suggestions and people can also complete this survey.  The results of the consultation will be considered by the Council's Regulatory Committee in November 2020 and the updated policy will then be used until 2023.

A Pedlar's licence can be issued by the Police Chief Commissioner in the area that a pedlar lives but it does not cover charitable collections.  A Pedlar has to fall within the definition of the Pedlar's Act 1871.

The following activities all need to be licensed unless the charity has a National Exemption Order (House to House exemption only):

  • collecting cash donations
  • selling goods such as pin badges
  • an appeal for direct debit donations (face to face fundraising)
  • an appeal for donations of unwanted goods such as clothes and bric a brac

An appeal for direct debit donations is not normally allowed in Runnymede's towns and village centres, but a small number of licences may be granted to do this with regard to house to house collections.  Each application will be treated on its merits.


You do not normally need a licence to hand out leaflets promoting a business, providing you are not soliciting people's financial details or pledges for some kind of financial transaction in connection with a charitable appeal.  However, you must not obstruct the highway, cause any form of nuisance that would give rise to a complaint, nor put yourself or anyone else at risk by your behaviour or actions. 

'We have reviewed this statement as at 29 June 2020 and are asking all charity collectors, buskers and others that have not already done so to cease activities to comply with PHE guidance on social distancing and avoiding going out except for essential reasons. We note there is no definitive Government guidance in respect of clothing collections.  In order to make a decision to lift the suspension now would require the Council to seek assurances/disclosure of risk assessments from each collector to ensure that by lifting the suspension we are not exposing residents to increased risks or facilitating breaches of the relevant COVID Regulations.  In the absence of such evidence from each collector, it is believed to be in the interest of protecting public health to keep the suspension in place until such time that the relevant COVID Regulations are amended. Licences that have been granted can, subject to availability, be moved to a future date. That new date will be confirmed upon receipt and consideration of such a request.  No new applications will be granted until further notice.


We are also asking nationally exempted charities and third party fundraisers to abide by this request and to follow guidance issued by the relevant national organisations and Central Government.  We will review the position again once shielding is 'paused' on 1 August 2020. 

For further guidance, please check the regular updates provided by Central Government and the Charity Commission:


And the Fundraising Regulator:

Fundraising Regulator Covid 19 Principles Fundraising Regulator Covid 19 Guidance



You can apply for a Icon for pdf House to House Collection Licence [550.96KB] or a Icon for pdf street collections permit [595.92KB] if you wish to raise money in these ways.

We allocate collection dates throughout the year, please specify your preferred dates when you apply. The Charity Diary 2020 shows when collections in Runnymede are taking place this year.  You can also look back to the Charity Diary 2019 for collections taking place last year.

In some locations you may also need permission from another organisation. Please note that all Royal British Legion applications must be submitted to us via their Head Office.

If you are granted a House to House Collections Licence you also need badges from The Stationery Office.  You can either use the form accompanying the licence or apply on-line direct from The TSO Shop.


If your application for a Street Collection permit is not granted, there is no statutory right of appeal.  However, if we do refuse your application you can appeal to the Council's Corporate Head of Law and Governance, Mario Leo, within 14 days of receiving a refusal notice.  If your application for a House to House Collections Licence is not granted you have a statutory right of appeal to the Minister for Civil Society, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 4th Floor, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.


Locally, we have decided that authorised official sellers of the Big Issue and volunteers with the Salvation Army selling the 'War Cry' do not need a licence from this Council because of the administrative burden this would place on them given the increased frequency of their activties compared with other cash collections. However, we are aware that some Big Issue sellers might not be registered with the Big Issue organisation so please check their ID before buying.

Some national charities are exempt from needing a house to house collections licence by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and are issued with a National Exemption Order, but they or the organisation or company that is collecting on their behalf must still notify us that they are collecting. You can view a list of exempt charities collecting in Runnymede.


The Live Music Act 2012 exempted most forms of busking from the need to be licensed and we no longer issue busking licences. However, if you are busking for a charity you may need a street collection permit or a house to house collections licence.

Please read the Icon for pdf Busking and Street Entertainment Guidance Notes [49.73KB]. We ask buskers to follow the voluntary code of conduct to avoid causing problems for residents and businesses.

Some forms of street entertainment, for example a theatrical performance, are defined as 'regulated entertainment' under the Licensing Act 2003 and you might need a licence. Please email for more information about regulated entertainment.



Unauthorised collections

If you are unsure whether a collection is authorised please email

Please also refer to Giving safely to charities published by the Charity Commission.

Compliance Guidance for Commercial Participators (Commercial Clothing Collections)

The Committee of Advertising Practice published Icon for pdf guidance [494.12KB] which explains how commercial participators should amend their advertising on charity bags to comply with a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority which requires commercial participants to communicate their name and company status on both sides of the bag.  If the bag features a charity's name it must not be given greater prominence than the name of the company undertaking the collection.  Commercial clothing collection companies were required to amend their advertising by 2 June 2017.

Those who are unable or unwilling to follow the rules may be referred by the ASA to Trading Standards under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Some commercial collections do not need to be licensed but you can find more information by looking at our page on Commercial Clothing Collections.

Cold calling

We require charities and professional fundraising companies not to call at houses which display stickers discouraging door to door sales and similar activities. This is in line with the Fundraising Regulator Code of Fundraising Practice and Code of Conduct.  The Fundraising Regulator carries out regular reviews of the code.  Any changes to the code will be reported here when available. The Fundraising Regulator's new Code of Fundrasing Practice was effective from 1 October 2019.

Runnymede does not have any official 'no cold calling' areas.  However, if you would like to have approved no cold calling stickers please either visit Surrey County Council's Trading Standards web pages or we have a small stock of their 'stop cold calling' sticker packs which we can give to you on request.

The Fundraising Regulator has a Fundraising Preference Service where people can choose to stop email, telephone, post and/or text messages from a selected charity.  They also have a Register of charities that have registered with them.  The Fundraising Regulator also has a Icon for pdf Street Rule Book [144.52KB] with which the charities registered with them are required to abide.



The following charities or their third party fundraisers have advised us that they collect in our borough. They do not need a licence because they hold a National Exemption Order issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for collections either carried out by themselves or on their behalf by a commercial fundraising company. This list covers House to House Collections of cash, direct debits and clothing collections as indicated. The full list of exempted charities is available on this page via the link.
In some locations you may need to get permission from another organisation for charitable collections, in addition to either a house to house collections licence or a street collections permit.
Charity Diary 2019
Charity Diary 2020