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Public Charitable Collection Permit

Section 119 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 provides that any person who organises a public charitable collection requires a permit from the local authority. The permits are administered by the Council's Licensing Team. The Team is able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a permit is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a permit.

"public charitable collection"  means a collection from the public of money (whether given by them for consideration or not) for charitable purposes take whether in a public place or by means of visits from place to place.

 "charitable purposes" means any charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes whether or not they are charitable within the meaning of any rule of law.

"public place" means any place to which the public have unrestricted access. A collection can therefore take place in say, a supermarket without the Council's permission (but permission is required from the supermarket operator).

Which Collections do not require a permit from the Council?

A permit is not required for a collection which takes place in the course of a public meeting or a collection which takes place by means of unattended receptacle kept in a fixed position in a public place.

In addition the Scottish Government may exempt certain persons. Such persons however require to give 3 months notice of any collections in West Lothian to the Licensing Team.  

How do I apply for a permit?

Any person authorised by the relevant charity may make an application for a Public Charitable Collection Permit pdf icon Application for Public Charitable Collection [137kb]

Applications must be received at least 35 days in advance of the date of the collection. Mandatory background checks will be carried out on all applicants by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer. You will be contacted once vetting is complete.

How much is the permit fee?

There is no fee for this application.

How will the application be decided?

Applications which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers. All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination. You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis.

How do you make a complaints about a charitable collection?

Complaints regarding collections undertaken without a permit should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.