Apply for a child performance licence
Many children enjoy performing, whether in plays, films, advertising or on television and parents enjoy supporting them. However, laws exist which are designed to protect children's welfare and prevent them from being exploited.
- The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014
- DfE advice on Child Performance & activities licensing legislation Feb 2015
When is a Child Performance Licence required?
All children who perform in television, film, on stage, who work as models, or who take part in paid or professional sport, will require a licence issued by their local authority if:
- a charge is made, whether for admission or otherwise
- the performance takes place on licensed premises, for example in a hotel, a pub or a theatre
- the performance is a live broadcast, for example a television or radio broadcast
- the performance is to be broadcast to the public or is being recorded for public viewing
- for children taking part in sport or modelling for which payment is being made
A child does not need a licence if:
- The performance is under arrangements made by a school. (An educational institution that provides primary and/or secondary education.)
- A Body Of Approval Arrangement (BOPA) has been granted by the Local Authority to the organiser/producer
Exemptions under the ‘four day rule’ apply where:
- No payment, in respect of the child taking part in the performance, is made and
- They do not need time off school to undertake the performance and
- They perform for only four days in any six-month period
The law applies to all children from birth until completion of compulsory school age.
Further guidance regarding when a licence is required: Child Performance Licences - guide to requirements
Applying for a Child Performance Licence
A licence will only be issued if we are satisfied that:
- the child's health will not suffer and
- the child's education will not suffer (a licence is required if the performance requires absence from school, even if the assignment is unpaid) and
- the place of performance/rehearsal is satisfactory and
- the child will be chaperoned at all times (this can be the child's own parent or a registered chaperone hired by the applicant) and
- the conditions of the licence will be observed.
When a performance requires an absence from school, the Local Authority will need a letter from the Head Teacher, of the child's school, confirming the child's education will not suffer if a licence is granted. A licence will not be issued without the school's permission.
It is essential that a child performance licence is obtained before the performance takes place, therefore we ask for the application to be sent to us at least 21 days before the show/performance is due to start.
Applications received with less than 21 days’ notice may be refused (please note that we need to be in receipt of all paperwork in order to commence the processing of a performance licence).
It is a legal requirement that the licence applicant is the person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part. This does not include those who provide children for a production, such as the proprietor of a drama, dance school or an agent.
The application must be made on the standard Performance Application Form :
Where a child/children are exempt under the ‘4 day rule’, an exemption form must be completed for each performance using:
A Licensing Authority must approve a person to be a chaperone to (a) have care and control of the child; and (b) safeguard, support and promote the well being of the child whilst the child is taking part in an activity, performance or rehearsal or whilst the child is living elsewhere than the place the child would otherwise live during the period to which the license applies.
The Local Authority carries out the following processes in approving a chaperone:
- An enhanced DBS check - (which you can obtain by emailing us your name and postal address requesting a DBS form )
- Application form supported by two verifiable references
- On- line safeguarding training
- Chaperone training booklet
- 1:1 interview
Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)
The Local Authority has discretion to issue a BOPA to any organisation responsible for putting on performances.
What is a BOPA?
The Local Authority has discretion to issue a BOPA to any organisation responsible for putting on performances. The granting of BOPA to an organisation replaces the need to apply for individual licenses from each child’s home local authority during the period of approval – as long as the BOPA criteria and conditions continue to be fulfilled. A BOPA can be revoked if the organisation fails to meet the agreed conditions
A BOPA does not authorise absence from school for any children involved in performances.
It is essential to understand that a BOPA is not a means to ‘getting round’ the requirements of a performance licence. Whilst a BOPA does reduce some of the administrative requirements, the same principles apply in terms of safeguarding the child and ensuring there is proper provision to secure health and kind treatment. BOPA’s issued by Gloucestershire County Council clearly set out the conditions which are a requirement. There must be no reduction in safeguarding arrangements and unannounced site inspections will be carried out to ensure the conditions of the BOPA are being met.
Who can apply for a BOPA?
The organisation who has responsibility for putting on the performance, and for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children taking part must make the application. This can be type of organisation, as long as no payment (other than expenses) is made for the child/children to take part.
Licensing officers will require evidence and assurance that the organisation has clear, robust and well-embedded policies for safeguarding children.
- normally have complied with the licensing provisions for a 2 year period or have conducted two properly licensed performances involving children. Evidence of this must be available including evidence of site visits.
- satisfy all the legislative requirements that would normally apply to an individual licence
- have a designated child protection/safeguarding officer
- have a regularly updated (every 12 months) child protection policy together with details of how this is communicated and followed.
- have evidence of any child protection/safeguarding training provided
- have procedures for checking the suitability of persons who will have responsibility for children
- provide additional information as requested including child protection policy, risk assessments, schedule of events.
How to apply for a BOPA?
Applications for a BOPA must be made in advance of any performances. The process for approval for a BOPA takes a minimum of 4 weeks but may take longer dependent of individual organisations circumstances
Organisations wishing to apply for a BOPA should contact the Education Inclusion Service at Childemployment@gloucestershire.gov.uk to discuss their request with a licensing officer.
- If following the initial discussion it is agreed to take the application forward then the organiser need to complete an application form and contract of agreement as well as supply required policies and procedural documentation.
- Licensing officers will then meet the organisers to discuss their arrangements, child protection policy and expected schedule of events.
If, following this process a BOPA is approved the organisation will receive a letter of acceptance and a BOPA Certificate. Both documents must be made available to officers during unannounced site visits.
If the local authority decides not to grant a BOPA, the licensing officer will write to the organisation outlining the reasons for the refusal.
Performances under a BOPA
The local authority can issue a BOPA for one event or for a series of events in a specified time period – normally up to one year.
If satisfied with the proposed arrangements the Licensing officers will authorise the form and return to applicant. This documentation must be made available to licensing officers during any unannounced inspection.
Where a performance is taking place under the auspices of a BOPA the legislation does not require that the child be supervised by a chaperone approved by the local authority. However, the local authority would have to be certain the organisation has clear procedures for carrying out background checks and suitability checks on the adults who will be caring for the children before it grants a BOPA. The Local Authority can impose additional conditions depending on the individual circumstances of the performance and therefore may include a condition to use LA authorised chaperones if required.
If approval is given for a set time period; then organisations must provide information on each performance using:
Inspections and Enforcement
The Local Authority has responsibility for enforcement of the licensing requirements and has a number of powers (section28 1933 Act) to carry out inspections to ensure a child’s welfare is maintained.
- Licensing officers can carry out inspections at venues and locations within the local authority boundary. They cannot carry out inspections in other authorities.
- Gloucestershire County Council Licensing officers may also undertake site visits when children from other local authorities are performing in Gloucestershire.
Licencing Officers from Gloucestershire County Council carry out random unannounced site inspections covering the whole range of performance types. Visits take place at any time of day covering seven days a week. Site visits take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours on average. If significant concerns arise a visit may take longer.
Or post it to:
Education Inclusion Service
Gloucestershire County Council
3rd Floor, Block 4
Gloucester GL1 2TP