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Child employment and performance licences

Child employment during Covid-19

Here is some guidance put together for employers who are employing young people aged 13-16 years during the coronavirus pandemic.

Blackpool Council recommends that employers should undertake the following good practice: 

  • Write to parents to reassure them about the steps taken to keep employees safe and what to do if they or their child has any concerns or objections. Pass on web links to government and Public Health England information pages
  • If any parent or young person no longer wishes to continue with their work, then of course they should be released from their duties. Waiver normal leaver notice periods if people really want to give up
  • Ensure risk assessments are up to date, signed and dated by parent/guardian, along with having emergency contact details for the young person and their parent/carer
  • Employers would need to consider the risk of Covid-19 for the young person working and if that increases the risk for other members of their household. Businesses should ensure the young person is able to keep to the rules regarding social distancing when at work. This advice applies to both inside the business and in the external public areas. If this is not possible then the young person should be released from their role until social distancing rules are relaxed
  • Young people should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds and more frequently than normal
  • Provide tissues and hand sanitiser, gloves and other personal protection equipment in the shop/business for the young people to use if they need to
  • If a young person presents at work with Covid-19 symptoms you must send them home and inform the parents straight away and take appropriate action
  • Do not force anyone to do their work if they need to self-isolate.  Find cover for them
  • Inform the young person/parent/carer if other members of staff developed symptoms of Covid-19 to see if any additional action should be taken

In the case of newspaper deliveries:

  • Ensure the young workers do not come into contact with the householders in the course of their work, being able to drop newspapers on doorsteps and through letterboxes. They should not be knocking on doors or obtaining signatures or collecting payment
  • Ensure the young people know what to do if they encounter someone with Covid-19 symptoms in the course of their work/delivery and whom they should report this information to. A young person should not go into the home
  • Make arrangements for gloves and masks where required.  The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and therefore the risk of contracting Covid-19 through receipt of a printed paper is infinitely small 
  • Only delivering the round alone or with a member of the same household
  • Consider options to deliver at a time that suits the worker if they feel more comfortable delivering when it is likely that there are fewer people about (through most deliver in the morning anyway) ensuring this still meets employment byelaws


Child employment

Having a part-time or holiday job can be a good experience for children. It gives them experience of work and extra pocket money.

There are national laws and local bye-laws in place which regulate the type of work children can do. This includes the hours they can work so that they are working safely and their education doesn't suffer.

We produce an advice leaflet that explains the regulations in more detail. 

Children and young people in employment [PDF 480KB]

The main points of this are

Children of compulsory school age may only work if they:

  • Are over 13 years of age
  • Have a work permit issued by the local authority
  • Have suitable clothes and shoes if working outdoors
  • Are employed in 'light work'

Permitted employment 

You can only employ children aged 13 in light work in certain occupations. Examples of these are below:

For a complete list, refer to the employment bye-laws.

  • Delivery of newspapers
  • Shop work - including shelf-stacking
  • Domestic work in hotels
  • Cafe or restaurant 
  • Office work

You will need a work permit whether a child is being paid for the work or not, even if they are working in a family business.

To get a work permit you will need to complete the application form and return it to the child employment team with a copy of their birth certificate.

The application form should be completed by both the parent/carer of the child and the employer. 

The employer will need to carry out a risk assessment and discuss this with the child and parent

Employers may find this specimen risk assessment useful.

Employment of a child application form [PDF 439KB]

There is no charge for the issue of work permits. 

We will issue the permit in the name as it appears on the birth certificate or deed poll document.

As a general rule a child must have good school attendance and punctuality. Each child's attendance is considered before a permit is issued.

A child does not need a work permit for work experience arranged by their school. If the employer later decides to employ the child a permit will be required.

Child performance/activities licensing

Legislation and guidance

The child performance and activities licensing legislation sets out the arrangements that must be made to safeguard children when they take part in certain types of performances, paid sport or paid modelling and what the law requires of people responsible for putting on these performances and activities. 

The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 - set out the requirements of licences and exemptions issued under section 37 of the Children an Young Persons Act 1963. 

The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 [PDF 97KB]
Children an Young Persons Act 1963 

You may find the Department for Education advice document helpful to read alongside these regulations. 

Applying for a performance/activities licence

Every child who is taking part in a performance or activity, which falls under the remit Section 37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 must have a licence or exemption issued by your own council.

The person responsible for the production or organisation of the activity will make the application for the licence.

The application form should be submitted with the supporting documentation.

Application for a licence [PDF 577KB]

Licence exemptions

There are some circumstances when a licence will not be required.

4 day rule(C&YP Act 1963, Sec. 37(3)(a)

A child can perform under this exemption if they (or anyone else) are:

  • Not paid
  • There is no school absence
  • The performance(s) will mean that they will not have performed on more than 4 days in the preceding 6 months

It is a legal requirement get a licence when one is required and anyone who causes a child to do anything against the licensing requirements commits an offence. 

If a producer relies on this exemption they should have reasonable grounds for believing the child's performance benefits from it.

Exemption notifications under the '4 day rule' should be submitted to the council in the area the child lives. 

Non licence performance notice [PDF 386KB]

Body of persons approval (BOPA) (C&YP Act 1963, Sec 37(3)(b)

A body of persons exemption approves an organisation to put on performances involving children without requiring them to be individually licensed by their own councils. 

It is issued by the council where the performance is taking place and covers all children irrespective of the area they live in. It is particularly useful for organisations putting on shows, competitions, festivals etc. involving large numbers of children. 

Our BOPA guidance document explains the process for applying for a BOPA for performances taking place within the Blackpool Council boundary.

Performances abroad

The Department for Education guidance extract explains the procedure for applying for a licence for a child to perform abroad.

Applications must be made to the magistrates court. 

For children residing in Blackpool, contact the court direct at  or 01772 208000.

Chaperone service

Before issuing a licence, we must be satisfied with the arrangements for the supervision and welfare of the child, and that disruption to their education is kept to a minimum.

The licence holder is responsible, throughout the period covered by the licence, for ensuring that the child is in the charge of a responsible adult.

This person is known in law as a chaperone.

The child must be supervised at all times by a chaperone approved by your local council, unless they are under the direct supervision of their parent or legal guardian.

Blackpool residents wishing to apply to become an approved chaperone should contact the child employment team and an application pack will be sent to you. 

You will also be required to pay our admin/training fee of £30, plus the additional DBS fee if you are applying as a professional chaperone.  You will be required to undertake some online safeguarding children training and attend an interview/training session.

We recommend that you read our guidance for chaperones,which will explain the role of the chaperone and our approval process in more detail before you contact us.

Useful links and information

NNCEE (National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment)

NSPCC guidance for safeguarding in the performing arts

Arranging an event - Advice for dance/theatre schools [PDF 390 KB]

Guidance for developing child protection policies and procedures [PDF 840KB]

Specimen child protection policy  IT [PDF 521 KB]

Advice leaflet for parents [PDF 363 KB]


Child employment team

PO Box 4, Town Hall, Municipal Buildings, Blackpool, FY1 1NA
Telephone 01253 476578