Children in entertainment (stage, film, television, radio, modelling, and sport) need to have a licence to take part in the performance or activity. Such children must be supervised at all times, either by their parent or guardian or by an approved chaperone. 

We issue Child Performance Licences and Chaperone Licences to protect children in entertainment and make sure that their experience is enjoyable, safe and rewarding.

Child Performance Licences

There are laws which regulate children in entertainment. When a performance involves children these laws require an application to be made to the Local Authority for all children up to the end of their compulsory education. This is defined as the last Friday in June in the academic year in which they turn 16.

The licensing system is designed to provide a check that those responsible for using children in performances, paid sport and modelling, make suitable arrangements to safeguard them. Licensing applies to both professional and amateur performances but it does not apply to school performances. Licences are issued free of charge.

If you are unsure whether you need to apply or which type of licence to apply for, please contact us to discuss your performance.

Applications

Applications should be submitted 21 days before the first day of the performance. Any applications submitted with only 5 working days, or less, prior to the performance may be refused if the necessary checks cannot be completed in time.

If school absence is required for the performance then please request that the headteacher of the child’s school completes the form called headteacher’s permission.

Standard Licence

A Standard Licence is for performances which run on specific days with a specific production company. It is required if there is a payment being made for the child’s involvement in a performance or if the child will be absent from school for the performance.

Children performing abroad

If a child is going to perform abroad, a licence cannot be granted by the Local Authority. An application for a licence must be made to the Magistrates Court where the child lives.

Body of Persons Approval 

A Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) is an approval given by the local authority where a performance is taking place to a group (a ‘Body of Persons’).  This means that they do not have to have standard licences for each child in a performance. 

In order to be granted a BOPA, a group must demonstrate that they have clear, robust and well embedded safeguarding policies and arrangements in place that  protect the children. 

The performance has to also meet the following criteria:

  • no payment is being made for the child’s involvement in the performance
  • there will be no absence from school

The organisation responsible for putting on the performance and for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children taking part, must apply for the approval. They can be any type of organisation; it does not matter if they are a professional company, amateur group, stage or broadcasting company.

Exemptions

An exemption from licensing can be granted if:

  • no payment is being made for the child’s involvement in the performance
  • there will be no absence from school
  • the child has not performed on more than 4 days in the previous 6 months

Inspections

We may make inspections at places of entertainment in Sheffield. These inspections are normally done by the Child Employment and Entertainment Team or Sheffield Safeguarding Team. Inspections could also include a Fire Officer or Health and Safety Inspector or a Police Officer. The inspectors will make themselves known on arrival and provide proper identity cards.

Chaperones

The Children Performances Regulations 2014 state that any child working in entertainment must be cared for by a registered Chaperone. The Chaperone is responsible for the proper care and control of the child, including his/her comfort, treatment and moral welfare.

A Chaperone’s first priority is always to the child. A Chaperone is the key person to whom the child looks to for guidance, protection, clarification and support. At no time should a child perform if unwell. If there are ever serious children protection issues please contact the Police immediately.

Chaperones are there to:

  • protect children
  • secure the health and comfort of the child
  • mediate between the child, the licence holder and the licensing authority
  • advocate on the behalf of the child
  • ensure the performance licence conditions and laws are upheld

Applying to become a Chaperone

To become a Licensed Chaperone you will need to complete the following requirements, please be aware this process can take up to 6 weeks to complete:

  • submit an application including two passport style photographs
  • provide two references, one should be your present or previous employer
  • complete our online Chaperone training module
  • attend a short information interview with our team
  • undergo a DBS check, even if you already have a check for your current job role

All Chaperones must apply for a new license every 3 years. This will be recognised by all Local Authorities, enabling you to work as a chaperone anywhere in the UK.

If there is any evidence of an offence or the Chaperone is found to be unsuitable for any other reason, the licensing authority has the power to revoke a license and de-register a Chaperone. 

Disclosure & Barring Scheme (DBS)

At present DBS checks are not portable. If you wish to be registered as a Chaperone, the licensing authority must carry out a new check by using the DBS protocol. You will also need to provide contact details of two referees, excluding relatives, who have known you for at least 2 years.

DBS checks are now being used and do not have a specific length of time attached. Therefore we will need to undertake regular checks to ensure the suitability of the people licensed to undertake work with children.

If you are registered with the DBS update service then in order for us to do a DBS update check we will need to see your original DBS certificate and Photo ID documents, with the address details. If you no longer have that certificate we will have to do a full DBS check.