Charitable collection licence

Anyone who organises a collection of money for charity, either in a public place or house to house, needs permission from the council by applying for a public charitable collection licence.

A public charitable collection is defined as a collection from the public of money (whether given by them for consideration or not) for charitable purposes taken either in a public place or by means of visits from place to place.

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

A public place means any place to which the public have unrestricted access.


You must be a fit and proper person and not be disqualified from holding a licence. We cannot grant permission to individual persons, you must make an application on behalf of a properly constituted organisation.

We may impose conditions on the licence, taking into account local circumstances, inclusive of:

  • specification of the date, time and frequency of the collection
  • specification of the area where it can take place
  • regulation of the conduct of the collection
  • specification of the form of collection boxes, other containers and other articles used for the collection
  • matters relating to local circumstances

You do not require permission for a collection which takes place in the course of a public meeting or for a collection which takes place by means of an unattended receptacle kept in a fixed position in a public place.

Before you apply

You must obtain the prior, written consent of the owner of the land or property from which you intend to collect prior to applying for a licence.

Unless you have been classed as an exempt promoter by the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) you must lodge your application no later than one month prior to the date of the collection.  Exempt promoters must notify us in writing, not later than three months prior to the date of the collection.

We operate a diary system. Generally, one week will be allocated per charitable organisation. House-to-house collections will be permitted Monday to Friday and street collections on Saturdays.  Our diary fills up well in advance. It is advisable to contact us prior to lodging your application form to see if the dates you require are available. We will provisionally book dates for you in advance.

View our guidance on charitable collection licence to view further details:

How to apply

You can apply for a public charitable collection licence online, however we may require additional information to supplement the Scottish system.

Alternatively you can apply in paper by completing the public charitable collection application form (PDF 240KB)Please send your competed form by email to or by post to, please note physical mail is only checked once a week:

Aberdeenshire Council
Legal and People
Arduthie Road
AB39 2DQ

If you are unable to complete the forms, please call us and we will assist you to apply over the telephone.

Supporting documents

You will need to supply additional documents with your application:

  • a copy of your organisation’s most recent financial accounts
  • any other documents providing information regarding the organisation you are collecting for, such as a letter of consent (where applicable)

After the collection

You will also be required to submit an audited return form (PDF 69KB) to us after the collection has taken place showing how much money was collected, how much was deducted in administration and how much was put to your charitable purposes.

Application fee

There is no application fee for an application for permission to hold a public charitable collection.

Application Process

Completed application forms should always be accompanied by the requested information and documentation listed at the end of the application form.  Failure to provide the necessary information and documentation, or the application fee, will result in the inability to further process the application. Full approval will not be granted until the required information and documentation has been provided, examined and deemed satisfactory, and the application has been fully processed. 

You are not permitted to hold your public charitable collection until such time as permission to hold the public charitable collection has been issued to you.

We will send a copy of your application to Police Scotland and may pass your accounts to our Finance Service for comment.

In the absence of objections or adverse representations, your licence will be issued to you under delegated authority. Where objections or adverse representations are made, your application will be referred to the appropriate Committee of Aberdeenshire Council for consideration.

A copy of any licence issued will be sent to our consultees.

We will keep a register of applications in which we will enter the details of the receipt of each application, our final decision and reasons for the decision, the details of the terms of each licence granted and a note of any suspension, variation of the terms, or surrender, of a licence.

The register must be available for inspection by any member of the public at reasonable times and places and any member of the public must be permitted to make a copy of it.