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Children in Entertainment

The legislation (Children & Young Persons Act 1963 and the Children (Performances) Regulations 2014) requires that all children, from birth until they cease to be compulsory school age, be licensed by the local authority in which they live to take part in a performance on stage or in a broadcast.

A child remains subject to these regulations until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they turn 16. The academic year runs from 1 September to 31 August inclusive.

A licence must be obtained for a child under compulsory school leaving age taking part in a performance:

  • where a charge is made, whether for admission or otherwise
  • on premises licensed to sell alcohol, for example in a hotel, a pub or theatre
  • where there is absence from school
  • recorded with a view to its use in a broadcast, or film intended for public exhibition, for example a live stage performance recorded for a cinema screening, a feature film, a video or sound recording of a performance on a website
  • employed in paid modelling, photographic or catwalk work
  • working in paid/professional sport
  • in entertainment performing on stage or in television in activities such as films or commercials

Any child used as a stand in (understudy) should be licensed in the same way as the other children in the performance. 

A child does not require a performance licence when:

  • Performances  are put on by a school -  only applies to schools which provides statutory education (primary or secondary); this exemption would not therefore apply to dance, music or drama schools)
  • Child is being filmed for an observational documentary - child is on TV as part of news item; filmed carrying out day to day routine – as long as not directed to act any differently of what he/she would act in real life
  • Competitions

When a child performance licence is not required the organiser of the performance/show  is still required to register with Lincolnshire County Council all children taking part.

The Guidance for Licence Holders and Chaperones explains the rules and regulations in place for children working in entertainment, Broadcast and Non Broadcast performances and how to apply for a licence.


A child taking part in a performance which includes TV, filming, theatre, sporting activities or modelling, regardless of whether a performance licence is required, must be supervised at all times during the performance by a registered chaperone that has been approved by the licensing authority, unless under the direct supervision of their parent, or person who has parental responsibility for the child.

A parent can only chaperone their own child without a Chaperone Licence

Note: grandparents, any other family member, childminders etc. are not legal guardians (unless they are recognised as such by the courts) and therefore need to be approved in order to chaperone a child.

Any adult over 18 years old can apply to become a licensed chaperone. Lincolnshire County Council criteria for approval are:

  • Completion of a chaperone application form  
  • Submission of two personal references – one of whom should have known the applicant in a professional capacity and not solely through the organisation for which they wish to become a chaperone
  • Submission of one passport sized photograph
  • Completion of a mandatory chaperone on-line training
  • To attend an appointment where proof of identity will be gathered
  • To undertake a child workforce enhanced DBS check

* Professionals working with children as part of their day to day job, regardless if in a voluntary capacity (dance teachers, drama teachers, theatre or production companies’ staff and others) and professional chaperones that don’t already have a current child workforce Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) registered with the DBS update service will have to provide their own DBS certificate.

The Local Authority must not approve a chaperone unless it is satisfied that he/she is both suitable and competent to discharge their duty (i.e. to exercise proper care and control of a child of the age and sex of the child in question and that he/she will not be prevented from carrying out his/her duties towards the child by other activities or duties towards the child.

Please note – Lincolnshire County Council cannot guarantee a clear timescale for issuing a Chaperone Licence. However, as a rough guide, applications should be made at least 12 weeks prior to the date of the first performance. If it is not submitted during this timescale alternative arrangements must be made by the person responsible for the performance to fulfill the legal requirement.

The Chaperone Licence is free of charge for volunteers and lasts for 3 years.

Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

Lincolnshire County Council has the power under Section 37(3)(b) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 to approve an organisation which would normally have to license individual children taking part in a performance, providing there is no absence from school and no payment is being made to the child or any other person and the performance is taking place in Lincolnshire.   

In order to be satisfied that an organisation  is suitable to be granted a BOPA, Lincolnshire County Council will needthe following information in advance:

  • names, addresses and dates of birth of all the young people who will be performing;
  • venue and dates of performances;
  • names and addresses of the adults forming the Body of Persons;
  • clear and robust child protection and safeguarding policies;
  • names, addresses and licensing authority of approved chaperones

Application for a Body of Persons Approval must be submitted not less than 21 working days prior to the first performance.



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Last updated: 20 February 2018

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