Child Performance Licensing

Many children enjoy performing , whether in plays, dancing shows, films or on television and parents enjoy supporting them. However, laws exist which are designated to protect children’s welfare and prevent them from being exploited. (Children & Young Persons Act 1963 and the Children (Performances) Regulations 2014).

The Licensing Authority (Local Authority LA) must be satisfied that:

  • the child’s education will not suffer
  • his or her health will not suffer
  • the place of performance/rehearsal is satisfactory

The Local Authority can refuse a licence if it is not satisfied the above will be met. 

What age does a child need a licence? 

The legislation 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.

What type of performances need a licence?

Any 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

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

  • 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

What type of performances do not need a licence?

• if a child does not perform on more than four days in any period of six months (providing that there is no absence from school and they are not being paid)
• a performance that has been put on by the school
• a performance put on by a body of persons who has been approved by the Secretary of State or the Local Authority 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 Doncaster
• any activity which the Local Authority does not consider to be a performance, for example children interviewed or filmed while taking part in some normal activity not specifically arranged for the purpose, such as doing ordinary school lessons, playing in the park or at a youth club

Even where a licence is not required the Local Authority requires that a Notification of Performance and Chaperone form is fully completed by the person responsible for the performance along with a copy of their Child Protection Policy. This should be submitted 21 days prior to the date of the first performance.

Why have a licence? 

A licence is issued for a child to take part in a performance. The licence states the conditions which much be observed which must be observed to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. No child will be able to be absent from school for a performance without a licence. The law contains no provisions under which absence may be authorised for an unlicensed performance.

Do I need a licence for school performances?

Schools (but not dance schools) do not need to have licences, except where your child may be involved in commercial work outside normal school activities.

Can I take my own child to a modelling assignment?

Yes, as a parent/guardian you can be the person responsible for your child during the assignment. You can not chaperone any other child without a Chaperone Licence. You should stay with your child at all times, even during a photo ‘shoot’.

What are the maximum days permitted to perform?

A child may not take part in a performance or rehearsal on more than six days in any seven day period. However this is the maximum number of days. Local Authorities should consider whether it would be appropriate on an individual basis for a child to perform  for this number of days.

What are the permitted hours for all performances?

The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 state the following regulations in relation to all performances:

Topic

Age 0 to 4

Age 5 to 8

Age 9 and over

Maximum number of hours at place of
performance or rehearsal (Reg 22)

5 hours 8 hours 9.5 hours

Earliest and latest permitted times at place
of performance or rehearsal (Reg 21)

7am to 10pm 7am to 11pm 7am to 11pm
Maximum period of continuous performance or
rehearsal (Reg 22)
30 minutes 2.5 hours 2.5 hours
Maximum total hours of performance or
rehearsal (Reg 22)
2 hours 3 hours 5 hours
Minimum intervals for meals and rest (Reg 23)

Any breaks must be for a minimum of 15 minutes. 
If at the place of performance or rehearsal for more than
4 hours, breaks must include at least one 45 minute meal.

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for more than 4 hours but less than 8 hours, they must have one meal break of 45 minutes and at least one break of 15 minutes

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for 8 hours or more, they must have the breaks stated above plus another break of 15 minutes

If present at the place of performance or
rehearsal for more than 4 hours but less than 8 hours, they must have one meal break of 45 minutes and at least one break of 15 minutes

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for 8 hours or more, they must have the breaks stated above plus another break of 15 minutes

Education (Reg 13) N/A 3 hours per day (maximum of 5 hours per day) 15 hours per week, taught only on school days.
Minimum of 6 hours in a week if aggregating over 4 week period or less.
3 hours per day (maximum of 5 hours per day)15 hours per week, taught only on school days.
Minimum of 6 hours in a week if aggregating over 4 week period or less.
Minimum break between performances (Reg 23) 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes

Maximum consecutive days to take part in performance
or rehearsal (Reg 26)

6 days 6 days 6 days

The minimum overnight break for all children is 12 hours. However it is generally expected that most children should normally have an overnight break of no less that 14 hours duration.  Consideration will be given to the time required for the child to travel to and from the place of performance and their home and whether to place any conditions on the licence to ensure the child has an adequate overnight break.

Regulation 5 allows the licensing authority to further restrict these permitted hours, break etc and place additional conditions on the licence if this would be in the best interests of the individual child.

What do I need in relation to medical requirements?

In order to ensure that a child is medically fit to take part in a performance, Doncaster Council will require a completed medical declaration from parents with all Performance Licence Applications. We will however request further information if we feel it is appropriate to do so.

Is there a time limit?

Yes, it is essential that a child obtains his/her licence before the performance takes place. Therefore, we ask for the application to be sent to us at least 21 days before the show or rehearsals are due to start.

What do I do about travel arrangements?

The licence holder should make sure that suitable arrangements are made for the child to be returned home, or to another agreed destination, after the last performance or rehearsal on each day. Children should not be allowed to to go home unsupervised especially for example, after an evening's performance. A child’s age should be taken into account when making these arrangements. Chaperones must be fully advised of all arrangements made for children in their care.

What happens in relation to performances abroad?

The law in relation to performances abroad is quite prescriptive. When a performance is to take place outside of Great Britain or Northern Ireland a licence is required by a justice of the peace sitting at a magistrates court within the area where the child resides. However most applications are made to the City of Westminster Court. Notice of the intended application must also be given to chief officer of the police for the area in which the child resided at least 7 days before the application is heard. The magistrate shall not grant the licence unless they are satisfied that notice has been properly given. Further information regarding licences can be obtained from the City of Westminster Court - Telephone Number 020 3126 3020. 

What happens next?

The application will be submitted to Doncaster Council and if approved a licence will be issued. Doncaster Council holds information such as:

• name, address, date of birth and school attended

• name of person applying for the licence

• name, place and dates of performance

If approved, the licence is sent to the person whose name is on the front of the form (normally the producer). A copy of the licence is also sent to the parent/guardian.

If the child is performing outside of Doncaster, a copy of the licence will also be sent to the appropriate authority where the performance is taking place.

Can a licence be withdrawn?

Yes, if there are concerns about the welfare of the child. We work closely with producers, chaperones, parents and schools so that children can maximise their opportunities. A child’s welfare is of paramount importance.

Do visits to a place of performance happen?

As an authority, we have a duty to inspect places where children are performing to check that they are suitable and that the children are being looked after appropriately. This includes ensuring the children taking part in the performance are, happy, fit and not overworked, inspections of facilities, chaperones supervision, tuition, health and safety and record keeping.  This may involve observation and discussion with child, parent, chaperone and production team.

What are the rules about chaperones?

A child taking part in a performance must be supervised at all times during the performance by a registered chaperone that has been approved by the licencing authority, unless under the direct supervision of their parent, or person who has parental responsibility for the child. More information can be found on the Information for Chaperones page.

The licence holder will be the employer of the chaperone. More information can be found on the:

More information

Contact:

Last updated: 08 August 2019 15:31:01