OCVO publishes simplification guidelines for charity shops and activities involving public collection

Towards the end of 2020, two subsidiary legislations governing the operation of charity shops and public collection activities were introduced. In view of this, the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations (OCVO) continued to offer its assistance through simplification guidelines of subsidiary legislations 492.03 and 492.04.

In their simplification, these legislations have been introduced to ensure that public collection activities and charity shops are regulated by OCVO. This compliance will help reduce abuse for the benefit of the same Voluntary Organisations while increasing transparency and accountability in the voluntary sector.

The subsidiary legislation 492.04 requires charity shops to submit the following document to the OCVO:

  • Planning Authority certification.
  • OHSA certification.
  • Access to person with disability.
  • Previous licences (if any).
  • List of administrators.
  • Certificate of enrolment. 
  • Contract of premises (lease / sale contract).
  • Employment contracts & Identity Card of volunteers and employees.
  • List of donors (if applicable).
  • Genre of items sold
  • Recent Police conduct certificate and identity cards of all administrators involved in the operation of Charity Shops.
  • Any tax / VAT exemption grants.

Upon receipt of such documents by OCVO, a license will be issued for the operation of these charity shops. Official certification documents will also be issued to administrators, employees and volunteers who operate the charity shop, so that they are officially recognised by the public. These documents are subject to annual renewal.

Charity shops are required to submit annual returns and annual accounts, including the amounts received from donors as donations.

If a Charity shop is only operational for 20 days or less, it is not considered as a regular charity shop but a temporary charity shop for the particular purpose after a temporary permit is issued by the Commissioner.

The S.L. governing public collection (492.03) specifies that VOs must be enrolled with the Commissioner. In the event that VOs are not enrolled with the Commissioner, he may issue a temporary permit if he considers that the collection is for a social cause. The S.L. defines the types of public collections which includes street collections, collections made by envelopes, collections by containers and collections through social media (such as crowd funding). Activities such as sports marathons, which are held by individuals on behalf of a Voluntary Organisation, must be registered for by the VO.

The subsidiary legislation provides that where public collections are planned on a regular basis by a Voluntary Organisation, the latter shall notify the Commissioner. VOs must submit the application including all required information and when the permit for such application is issued by the Commissioner, it shall be valid for six months. Public collectors will be given sealed containers and tags for collection. Within one month of the termination of the collection, the money collected shall be counted in the presence of an OCVO representative and a warranted professional person.

For the benefit of Voluntary Organisations and the voluntary sector, Voluntary Organisations shall declare the costs incurred by them to be deducted from the generated revenue and other income. The OCVO declares that there will be administrative fees for collection containers and tags for collectors.

See also:

Two laws regulating public money collection and charity shops enter into force