Many children enjoy performing or taking part in paid or unpaid activities. Some of the activities include:
- TV or film work
- theatre performances
- sporting events
By law, if a child who is not over compulsory school age is due to participate in any of the above activities, that child may require to be licensed by the local authority where they live.
What the law says
There are laws in place to guide children’s welfare, and to protect them.
The Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963 and The Children (Performance and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 are the legislations which demands this.
Who does not require a licence
A child or young person may not require a licence if all of the following conditions apply:
- No payment is made to the child/young person or to any other person in relation to their participation
- No absence from school is required
- If the child has not taken part in performances in the previous six months on more than three days
- The performance is arranged by a school or by a body approved for the purpose by the Secretary of State or local education authority eg scout gang shows.
If your child is taking part in a performance or an event, it is advisable to contact the Child Employment and Performance Licensing Officer for advice on whether a licence is required.
How to apply for a licence
To obtain a performance licence, an application form needs to be completed by the person responsible for the production of the performance and the parent or legal guardian of the child or young person.
Supporting documentation may be required depending on the nature of the application. These may include:
- A letter from a school giving permission for absence, if time is required for either rehearsal or performance
- A copy of the child or young person’s birth certificate or satisfactory evidence of child’s age
- Two passport sized photographs taken within the previous six months
We must be satisfied that arrangement for the supervision and protection of the child are adequate and that the disruption to the child’s education is kept to a minimum.
When should the application be made
By law, local authorities may refuse any performance licence application received less than 21 days before the first date of the performance.
If a licence is requested less than 21 days before the first date of the performance, the council may agree to process the licence providing that all relevant documents are correctly completed, legible and received; giving a minimum of 10 working days prior to the performance date (not including weekends or public holidays).
Please note that the London Borough of Sutton does not issue six-month open licences.
All completed application forms must be returned to the Child Employment and Performance Licensing Officer, see contact details above.
Exemption from child performance licences
The legislation allows for a body of persons approval to be granted to an organisation. A body of persons approval is not a licence as such but approval is granted to an organisation by the local authority where the performance is due to take place.
This means that individual licences do not need to be obtained for the children who are participating in a performance produced by that organisation. For more details on applying for a Body of Persons Approval, contact the Child Employment and Performance Licensing Officer.