Charities Act 2006
The Charities Act 2006 aims to support a dynamic and vibrant sector, ensuring that it continues to enjoy high levels of public confidence.
The charity law and regulation aims to:
- enable charities to administer themselves more efficiently and be more effective
- improve the regulation of charity fundraising, and reduce regulation on the sector, especially for smaller charities
- provide a clear definition of charity with an emphasis on public benefit
- modernise the Charity Commission's functions and powers as regulator, increase its accountability, and preserve its independence from Ministers.
Public charitable collections
The Act provides for a new system for licensing charitable collections in public. It applies to all such collections, including face-to-face fundraising, involving requests for direct debits.
There is a new role for the Charity Commission in checking whether charities and other organisations are fit and proper to carry out public collections. The Charity Commission will be responsible for issuing public collections certificates, which will be valid for up to five years. This new procedure will mean that local authorities no longer need to assess the suitability of individual applicants and will ensure a more uniform approach to such assessment nationally. However, this does have resource implications for the Charity Commission. Public consultation on the regulations and guidance is anticipated.
Collections in public places
Once a charity has a public collections certificate it will be able to apply to a local authority for a permit to hold collections at certain times in certain places in that local authority area. The local authority will assess the applications to ensure that collections do not clash and the public are not annoyed by excessive collection activity, known as collection fatigue.
Door to door collections
Previous legislation referred to ‘house to house’ collections. The Act refers instead to ‘door to door’ collections, to make clear that this includes business premises.
A charity with a public collections certificate will be able to conduct door to door collections without permission from a local authority, but it must inform the local authority that the collection is taking place.
Local, short-term collections
The Act introduces a new concept of ‘local, short-term collections’. Collections falling within this category will be exempt from licensing and will not require either a certificate or permit, but organisers will be required to notify the local authority that the collection is taking place.
Find out more
Further information about the new licensing regime for charitable collections will be provided on these pages once details become known.
You can also find information for charities on the Charity Commission website at the Charity Commission website.