Garda Permits for Fundraising

When and where do you need a Garda Permit?

"Cash collections are currently regulated by the Street and House to House Collections Act

1962 ("the 1962 Act").... Under the 1962 Act, regulation of cash collections is the responsibility of An Garda Síochána. Those intending to "hold a collection" must apply for a collection permit from the Chief Superintendent of the locality in which the collection is to be made. The collection must occur within that locality”

What constitutes A Cash Collection?

“A cash collection is any collection of money in a public place, usually on the street, outside a church gate, shopping centre or door-to-door. A cash collection usually involves members of the public placing coins or bank notes into collection boxes or buckets for charitable purposes, and this can include the offer or exchange of a badge, emblem or other token. Cash is donated on the spot by the public and is not usually receipted, with details of individual donors not being captured or requested in most instances. Cash collectors are usually volunteers or staff of the charity, or in some cases paid third party fundraisers"

Do I need a Garda Permit to collect on a premises like a church, shopping centre or other?

Generally the consent of the landlord for that premises is required. Garda permits relate to public spaces. So, for example, a Garda permit is required up to the church gate. But once inside the church gate you require the consent of the church and/or diocese to undertake a collection on their grounds.

Best practice for Cash Collections

The commencement of Sections 93-96 of the Charities Act 2009 would include provisions regarding the marking of collection boxes for cash. The 2009 Act proposes that the following conditions must be met for cash collections:

  • collection boxes must bear the relevant collection permit number and be securely sealed;
  • money must be placed in the collection box in the presence of the donor;
  • the collection box must be delivered unopened to the holder of the collection permit or an authorised representative;
  • the collection box must clearly display the name of the organisation for whom the collection is being held and, for charitable organisations, the registered charity number of the organisation.

While these sections of the 2009 act have not yet been commenced it is recommended that implementing these conditions would be best practice. 

Non-Cash Collections

Non-cash collections can mean the collection of bank details for direct debits, or the collection of donations via a debit or credit card or other such means. There is no statutory regulation of non-cash collections yet in force, although Sections 93- 96 of the 2009 Charities Act are intended to apply to non-cash collections when commenced. The commencement of Sections 93-96 of the Charities Act 2009 would expand the remit of the Street and House to House Collections Act 1962 to include non-cash collections. It introduces a permit regime for non-cash collections which is similar (but not identical) to the existing regime for cash collections. In the absence of legislation, charities that were regularly conducting non-cash collections agreed to self-regulate by a voluntary code of practice. A location management system was established and this is now overseen by Charities Institute Ireland.

Likely Future Changes

It is recommended that in the future it would be appropriate that responsibility for the regulation of cash should remain with An Garda Síochána with them also assuming responsibility for non-cash collections) once there is an effective and efficient system for allocating permits for both cash and non-cash collections. Once this issue is resolved then it is envisaged that Sections 93- 96 of the 2009 Charities Act will be commenced and Gardai will have responsibility for both cash and non-cash collections from that point forward.

For now, if you are doing non-cash collections you should be signed up to the voluntary code of practice and be part of the location management system overseen by Cii.

Further Reading

The Report of Consultative Panel on Charitable Fundraising was issued by the Charities Regulator in June 2017. The Wheel, along with other sector representatives, was a member of the consultative panel. The report outlines many of the issues relating to fundraising as it is now, and how it should be overseen in the future as various elements of the Charities’ Act are commenced. The 42 page report outlines many of the issues above in greater detail, along with other issues. 

Download here >>