The rules on performing and collecting in public and semi-public areas can vary from place to place and we advocate that you check with your local authority to ascertain their interpretation and application of the rules.

In general terms:

  1. If you wish to perform in a public area, you will usually need to seek permission from the appropriate department of the Local Authority.
  2. If you obtain a busker’s licence usually valid for one year, you will not need further permission and may perform as often as you like in the defined area provided the pitch selected does not interfere with other authorised activity.
  3. If you invite your audience to make a contribution towards the expenses of the performance, you should not need a street collectors permit however if you announce that some or all of the collection is for a charity or worthy cause, a permit will be required.
  4. If you dance in a private area open to the general public (eg. pub or supermarket car park) and you announce that the collection is for a charity or worthy cause, you will still need a street collectors permit.
  5. If you collect towards the expenses of the performance but later determine to donate the proceeds to charity, no collector’s permit is required.


Collecting for side funds or to cover expenses does not require a licence, according to advice issued by the Home Office in 1995. We attach a copy of this advice compiled by John Burke, from the archive.