Performance licences for children and chaperone licences
School aged children who perform in television, film, on stage, in commercial work, who work as models or take part in paid or professional sport will require a performance licence.
Where do I apply for performance and chaperone licences?
Chaperones need to ensure that they apply to the correct council for a performance or chaperone licence. Dorset County Council (DCC), Bournemouth Borough and the Borough of Poole are unitary councils and each have their own processes. If you are not part of DCC, please contact the appropriate authority for information on licences:
If you are unsure which council you should contact, find out by selecting your location on our map (opens in a new window).
A performance licence is a legal document issued by the local authority of the child, which states the specific arrangements for the child to take part in a performance. It must be obtained before a performance takes place and the application must be placed by someone who is responsible for the production in which the child is taking part, such as the Producer.
A child, in this circumstance, are those who are of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of the school year in which they are sixteen and leaving year 11.
When is a performance licence required?
If a child is:
- receiving payment
- absent from school as a result of the activity
- required to perform for more than four days within a six month period
In certain circumstances a child performance licence is not required and an exemption can be considered where:
- a child does not perform on more than four days in any period of six months - providing there is no absence from school required
- for performances organised by the school
For a Performance Licence application, please complete the Standard Child Performance and Activities Licence Application Form (pdf, 700kb) (opens in a new window).
For a Performance Licence Exemption application, please complete the Children's Performance Licence Exemption form (word, 66kb) (opens in a new window).
What must a performance licence application include?
The application for a performance licence should include:
- a passport sized photo
- a copy of the child's Birth Certificate or valid passport
- a letter from the school authorising leave if school absence is required
- a Medical certificate, if the child is taking part in a television or film production*
*A medical certificate is required when a child is taking part in a broadcast performance that lasts for more than a week in which the child is to perform on six days during that week (five days for sound broadcasting). A statement from the child's parent/guardian should be provided when a child is undertaking sporting activities or modelling, to state that they are medically fit for the proposed activity. A medical certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue.
We aim to process any performance or exemption licence applications within 28 working days on receipt of the form, however please be aware that it cannot be guaranteed that these will be processed by deadline, especially during busy periods (Easter, November and Christmas).
The Children and Young Persons Act (opens in a new window) prescribes how the health and safety need of children who perform are met through the number of hours they are able to rehearse and perform, the activities they can and cannot undertake and the standard of facilities and conditions in which they may work.
See additional legislation regarding licences:
- The Children (Performances) Regulations 1968 (opens in a new window)
- The Children (Protection At Work) Regulations 1998 (opens in a new window)
- The Children (Performances) (Amendment) Regulations 2000 (opens in a new window)
It is a legal requirement that all children engaged in a public performance or entertainment under a Performance Licence issued by the local council must be supervised by a responsible adult. A responsible adult refers to a child's parent/guardian, a licensed chaperone or agreed tutor.
A chaperone by law can supervise up to 12 children at any one time; it is advised by DCC however that two Chaperones to 12 children is best practice as this allows for any scenario's in which the children may be required to split.
How to become a Chaperone
Contact the Business Support Team to request an application form. Applicants must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS) before we can issue a licence. There is no charge for checks if you are applying on a volunteer basis. If you are applying on a professional basis you will have to pay £56.
All chaperones must undertake an online training course. We will email you the details of how to access the course once we receive your chaperone application. We will not issue a licence until all the checks are finished and you have completed the training course.
First time chaperones
If you are applying for the first time, you must attend an informal identity check meeting at DCC. To arrange a meeting, call the Business Support Team. You must do this at least five days before your preferred date to make sure we have availability. The meeting will last no more than 40 minutes. We will tell you before the meeting if you need to bring any documents. We aim to process your application within 28 working days from your meeting date. However we cannot guarantee these timescales as it is reliant on return of references and DBS clearance.
Can I use my licence for more than one performance?
Each Chaperone Licence is only valid for the performance and dates given on the licence. Your chaperones approval will be valid for three years from the issue date on your DBS certificate. Within this time you can apply to chaperone at other performances. You will need to fill in a Disclosure of criminal record form (PDF, 102kb) (opens in a new window) for each performance you chaperone at during this period. You will have to submit a passport sized photo of yourself dated within six months. We aim to process your application within 14 working days from date of receipt. However we cannot guarantee this, especially in busy periods (Easter, November and Christmas).