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 impact of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) continues to have a significant impact on the processing of licence applications.

If you need to get in touch with the Licensing Team, please do so by email to the following address:

Email enquiries will be prioritised and responded to on a priority/urgent basis. We cannot accept phone calls at present.

In the meantime, applications for licences and permits (with the exception of hire car applications, please refer to the hire car webpages for details of how to make these) should be posted to the

Licensing Team,
West Lothian Council,
Civic Centre,
EH54 6FF

along with cheques or postal orders for payment of any fee required and copies of all required supporting documentation. 

If you are unable to post your application and fee please contact the Licensing Team by email.

Please be aware that there will likely be delays in the processing of applications due to changes in working conditions at present. 

If you are an event organiser you should note that when possible applicants will be able to email amended applications for events which have been postponed due to Covid-19 as long as the details of the event remain exactly the same and only the event date is changing, any other changes to event details will require a new application to be submitted in the usual manner.   

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).

All organisers of public charitable collections should familiarise themselves with the Public Charitable Collections (Scotland) Regulations 1984, as amended by the Public Charitable Collections (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 1988, which provides the rules for  the duties of organisers, collectors, the opening of collecting boxes and envelopes and accounting requirements in respect of public charitable collections. Organisers and collectors who breach the regulations can be fined if convicted. Links to these regulations can be found below at Downloads.

Which Collections do not require a permit from the Council?

How do I apply for a permit?

How much is the permit fee?

How will the application be decided?
How do you make a complaint about a public charitable collection?