National exemption order scheme

There are currently 40 national exemption order holders relating to house-to-house collections.



In the above documents, all references to the Cabinet Office should be read as Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). Policy responsibility for the national exemption order scheme transferred to DCMS in July 2016; these documents are being updated on an ongoing basis.

National exemption order (NEO) holders are exempted under section 3(1) of the House to House Collections Act 1939 from having to apply for individual collection licences from local authorities.

The operational guidance provides details on:

  • provisions of the legislation governing the national exemption order scheme
  • running of the scheme by DCMS officials
  • eligibility criteria
  • application process
  • legal requirements as a NEO holder and of those acting under its authority


Organisations can appeal to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport if a local authority refuses them a licence to hold a house-to-house collection or if they revoke such a licence. DCMS processes these appeals.

In the case of street collections, there is currently no equivalent right of appeal. The Charities Act 2006 contains provision for a new licensing scheme for public charitable collections, but these provisions are not yet in force.

Published 13 February 2013
Last updated 5 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. - Number of NEOs changed from 48 to 40, with the list updated accordingly - Updated guidance form and application form added

  2. Edited 'List of National Exemption Order holders' document to provide up to date list as of August 2021

  3. New up to date documents added

  4. Updated list and added guidance on the scheme and forms of account

  5. Updated list

  6. Updated list.

  7. Updated list of Exemption Order holders.

  8. List has been updated with data correct to December 2013.

  9. First published.