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 and Young Persons Act 1963.
The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014
It is recommended that you read the Department for Education advice document 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 of Section 37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, must have a licence or exemption issued by the local authority. This includes:
- Any performance for which a charge is made (whether for admission or otherwise)
- Performances on premises licensed to sell alcohol, for example in a hotel, pub, theatre
- Any live broadcast performance, for example a television or radio broadcast, internet streaming
- Any performance recorded (by whatever means) with a view to its use in a broadcast, service or film intended for public exhibition
- When children take part in sport or modelling for which payment is made to the child (or someone else in respect of the child taking part) other than expenses
The person responsible for the production or organisation of the activity will make the application for the licence. This is the person in whose name the licence will be issued, and who is responsible for ensuring the regulations and any additional licence conditions are adhered to.
The application form should be submitted with the supporting documentation to the local authority where the child lives.
There are some circumstances when a licence will not be required.
Exemption under the '4 day rule' (C&YP Act 1963, sec 37(3)(a))
A child can perform on up to 4 days in a six month period, without a licence, as long as:
- There is no payment made to the child (or any other person)
- There is no school absence
It is a legal requirement to 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.
Apply for an exemption under the '4 day rule'
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.
Please note that applications must be submitted at least 21 days prior to the first performance.
Make an application for a Body of Persons Exemption
Refer to section 7 of the Department for Education Guidance document for advice in respect of children performing abroad.
Applications must be made to the magistrates court.
For children residing in Blackpool, contact the court direct at Lancsmagslisting@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk or 01772 208000.
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 their local council, unless they are under the direct supervision of their parent or legal guardian. In some instances the licensing authority may insist on a licensed chaperone also being employed even if the child is in the care of their parent.
Apply for a chaperone licence
Advice for parents/carers
When your child becomes involved in the entertainment industry it is exciting for all of you and your child may gain many positive experiences. You can be reassured that laws are in place to protect your child's welfare and prevent them from being exploited.
The information above explains about the licensing requirements and when your child may need a licence or exemption to take part in a performance, modelling assignment, competition or festival.
The person responsible for the production (or arrangement of the activity) will make the application for a licence, where one is required, and parents will need to complete part of the form. You should ensure that you read, and are happy with, the information completed by the 'responsible person.' This form will be submitted to the local authority where the child lives. Before issuing the licence, the local authority will need to be satisfied with the arrangements for the welfare and supervision of the child and that their education will not suffer.
Under licence conditions, your child must be supervised at all times by a registered chaperone, unless you are acting as chaperone yourself. The role of the chaperone is explained in detail in the guidance for chaperones [PDF 1021KB].
When the child needs to be absent from school we will contact your child's school to ensure that they support the application. It is important that your child's education does not suffer.
You must obtain school permission for any school absence and in some circumstances a tutor may be provided by the production company. It is important that you liaise closely with school to assess the impact on your child of frequent performances.
The licence will be issued to the person responsible, who will become the licence holder. Parents will receive a copy of the licence, as well as the child's school if school absence is required. A copy will also be sent to the local authority where the performance is taking place and that authority may carry out an inspection.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact the child employment team.