Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scotland and Northern Ireland have different charity laws to England and Wales and therefore require a different treatment of their issues and concerns.


The charity laws in Scotland that concern street and door-to-door fundraising collections currently consist of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and the Public Charitable Collections (Scotland) Regulations 1984, which are due to be replaced by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (still awaiting implementation).

The Charities and Benevolent Fundraising (Scotland) Regulations 2009 mean that arrangements between benevolent bodies and professional fundraisers and/or commercial participators must be governed by a written agreement. Statements must also be made which indicate how much of supporters’ money will reach the intended organisation.

All these statutes allow for significantly different licensing regimes and ‘disclosure’ procedures than in England & Wales – the Institute of Fundraising has produced an extremely useful guide to the main differences between Scottish and English charity law as it affects public fundraising. There is also a separate statutory regulator – the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The Civic Government (Scotland) Act requires collections of “money” to be licensed and so contains the same ambiguity as the Police, Factories etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 in England and Wales. As with the Charities Act 2006 in England, the Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (Part 2) is likely to give councils the power to licence F2F (ss84-90), and more detail is expected when the Scottish government publishes regulations on implementing the relevant sections on public charitable collections. However, this section of the Act is not yet in force.


Northern Ireland

Charity street collections are covered by the same act the governs collections in England and Wales – the Police, Factories etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 – but there is separate guidance that means that permits for cash collections are issued by the police and not councils. The ambiguity surrounding collections of direct debits applies.

Door collections are governed by the House-to-House Charitable Collections Act (NI) 1952, which stipulate that a licence must be obtained from the police or that an exemption order to cover the whole of Northern Ireland, can be obtained from the Department for Social Development. Like the equivalent act in England and Wales, this encompasses cash and direct debits.

Until very recently Northern Ireland had no dedicated charity law as such. This situation has changed with the passage by the NI Assembly of the Charities Act (NI) 2008 which is being implemented in stages. The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) was set up in June 2009. And a public fundraising licensing regime is expected to be exactly the same as that contained in the Charities Act 2006 for England and Wales. This is expected to be in force by 2011. However, unlike England and Wales, the CCNI will issue permits for a time before transferring this duty to local authorities.