Fourteen charities currently hold exemption orders to carry out house to house collections across Northern Ireland, according to the latest information from the Department of Communities.
An exemption order is a document which excuses an organisation pursuing a charitable purpose from seeking separate licences from each local police station to allow a house to house collection to take place in that area.
It does not cover street collections for which permits must be sought from the local police stations in the areas where a street collection is to take place.
The charities with exemption orders include local, national and developing world charities such as Northern Ireland Institute for the Disabled, Royal Air Forces Association, Royal British Legion, the Salvation Army and Trocaire.
How to secure an exemption order
If collections are to be regularly carried out province wide then the organisation may apply to the Charities Team in the Department of Communities for an exemption order. This avoids any inconvenience from submitting multiple applications to the police.
Before making an exemption order, the Department considers whether there is a desire to promote house to house collections throughout the whole of Northern Ireland (or a substantial part of it) and also the ‘track record’ of collections by the organisation over a reasonable period of time before the application.
While there is no legal obligation is placed on holders of an exemption order to notify the police when and where a collection is to be held, to avoid a number of organisations collecting in the same area at the same time, it is recommended that the police are notified of an intention to collect in an area at least six weeks in advance.
Exemption orders are currently made under section 3 of the House to House Charitable Collections Act (Northern Ireland) 1952. The Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 contains provision for a new regulatory regime for public charitable collections, though no date has been set for bringing the new regulatory regime into operation.
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