Charity Collections - Is it genuine?
Does that collector look official? Are they wearing a sash, tabard or badge? Are they carrying a tin with the logo of a well-known charity?
The promoters of all charity collections conducted in a public place or house-to-house are required to obtain permission before carrying out the collection. This includes collections outside supermarkets but not when they are actually held inside the store.
Before permission is given, checks are carried out to make sure that money raised will be going to a genuine charitable purpose, that any deductions from the proceeds for expenses will not be excessive and the organiser of the collection is a suitable person.
Unfortunately, not every collection is genuine. Charitable collections can raise large sums of money that can be attractive to less scrupulous individuals. In some cases, unauthorised collections may be undertaken on behalf of genuine charities when the organiser believes that the Council would not grant permission (eg because collectors are paid or too small a percentage of the proceeds would be used for the charitable purpose).
There are a number of clothing collections carried out door-to-door. Some of these are organised directly by the charity and the clothes are sold in their charity shops. Some charities have contracts with professional fund-raising companies who carry out the collection and sell the goods (often abroad) with an agreed percentage of the revenue being passed to the charity. Both types of collection are regulated.
There are also companies who organise collection and sale of goods on a commercial basis - these are not charity collections and are not vetted by the Council. Complaints about these company collections should be directed to Essex County Council Trading Standards or Essex Police, as appropriate.
The Council’s Licensing Officers investigate incidents relating to unauthorised collections and legal proceedings are taken against those responsible in appropriate cases.
If you wish to check whether a street or house-to-house collection has been authorised by the Council, please contact the Licensing Section of Environmental Health Services. Either telephone 01277 312500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.