Children in entertainment, employment and chaperones

1. Entertainment performances

Performance licence requirements cover all children from birth to the end of compulsory school age.

The production company is responsible for completing and submitting a licence application.

These performances include:

  • theatre and pantomime
  • films, TV
  • commercials, video, internet for commercial purposes
  • band/choir/dance shows
  • modelling – all types, broadcast and non-broadcast
  • amateur drama productions
  • broadcast dance/singing competitions

A licence isn't required for children performing in a production produced by a school where they normally attend.

Performance licensing is regulated under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933/63 and the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.

To apply for a licence, download an application form and submit it to the ACE (Attendance, Children and Employment) team at least 10 working days before the first date of performance.

Children in performances require nominated, duly licensed chaperones before a licence can be granted.

2. Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

BOPA may be granted to an organisation for the purposes of a performance or performances involving children for which the children may therefore not need to be licensed.

Please check with the child licensing team to see if your organisation or performance qualifies for a BOPA

To apply for BOPA, complete the application form and the contract form.

3. Chaperones

All children who require a performance licence must be chaperoned by their parents, legal guardian or an approved adult (chaperone/matron).

Relatives can't chaperone a child unless they hold a chaperone (matron) approval from the council where the adult resides. 

Applying for chaperone approval

We can only consider an approval to be a chaperone if you live in the city of Westminster and are over the age of 18.

To apply for a chaperone approval, download the chaperone application form.

Application process

  1. Complete the chaperone application form and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) forms. You will need to get the DBS form from the licensing officer. For help completing the DBS forms, visit GOV.UK.

  2. Call the Child Licensing team to arrange an appointment to submit your application, DBS forms and to pay for the DBS check. Please bring along for your DBS verification ID documents (eg birth certificate, passport, utility bills etc). You will also need to bring a passport sized photo.

  3. Chaperone licences are valid for 1 year in the first instance for new approvals. For renewals, approvals are valid for 3 years unless revoked, and should be carried at all times when chaperoning children.

For further information on chaperone duties, please refer to the guidance notes for chaperones.

Renewing a chaperone licence

Complete the chaperone renewal application form.

4. Children in employment (part-time work)

Children of compulsory school age, working before or after school, at weekends or during school holidays, must have an employment permit issued by the council.

Under the Children and Young Person Act 1933, a child:

  • must be 13 years or over before they get a part-time job
  • cannot work during school hours
  • can only work between 7am and 7pm
  • can only work for 2 hours on a Sunday
  • can only work for 12 hours per week in term time
  • must have a 1 hour break if they work 4 continuous hours
  • 13 to 14 year olds can only work for up to 5 hours per day and up to 25 hours a week in the holidays
  • 15 to 16 year olds can only work for up to 8 hours per day and up to 35 hours a week in the holidays

Permit requirements

  • employers are legally responsible for applying for permits for the children they employ- they must complete the application form, ensure the parent or guardian signs it, and send it to ACE within 7 days of the child starting work for the employer
  • a work permit is normally issued by the authority where the employer is based
  • each permit is specific to the job and employer; therefore, if a child has more than one job, a permit is required for each
  • a permit is not required once the child is no longer of compulsory school age ie from the last Friday of June in Year 11
  • a permit is not required for work experience arranged by the school. If this leads to employment, a permit will be required

Work permit application form

5. Contact the Child Licensing team

For enquiries about child licensing, call 020 7745 6612.

Last updated: 1 February 2017
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