Child employment

Work permits

If your child is between 13 and 16 years old and working part time, their employer must apply to us for a work permit. We do not charge for this.

Employers must ensure that children of compulsory school age are registered with us and have a work permit.

Performance or stage licences for school age children

By law, a child who is not over compulsory school age who is due to participate in TV or film work, a theatrical production, modelling work or a sporting event, may require to be licensed by us.

The application form needs to be completed by the person responsible for the production of the performance. Parents or carers must sign all applications.

Supporting documentation may also be required depending on the nature of the application. These can include:

  • A letter from a school giving permission for absence
  • Medical letter – may need to be obtained from child’s GP or school health service confirming the child is fit to take part
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate or satisfactory evidence of child’s age
  • Two passport sized photographs taken within the previous six months

No licence is required under the following circumstances:

  • No payment is made to the child or to any other person in relation to their participation
  • No absence from school is required
  • The child has not performed more than three days in any six month period
  • The performance is arranged by a school or by an approved body eg scout gang shows.

Please see Child Performance Regulations

We can also issue a licence to responsible adults (a Body of Persons) such as youth organisations, dramatic societies or churches for amateur productions where child performance licences would otherwise be required for the individual children who participate.

Chaperone services

A child taking part in a performance, including TV, film, theatre, paid sporting activities or modelling has to have a chaperone with them. Chaperones act in place of parents.

Application for a Chaperone Licence must be made to the Local Authority for the area where the prospective chaperone lives. Applications made to us will take at least 7 working days to process.

Responsibilities of a chaperone

  • A chaperone’s first priority is always to the child.
  • A chaperone is the person the child looks to for guidance, protection, clarification and support .
  • A chaperone is able to negotiate with the production company and say no when what they are asking the child to do is contrary or detrimental to the child’s health, well being and/or education. For example, requesting a child to stay to perform for long hours (contact the council if you have problems here).
  • At no time should a child perform if unwell.
  • A chaperone should keep a note of important contacts. For example, their licensing authority, the child’s licensing authority, the council where the child is performing, the child’s agent, parent or legal guardian.
  • A chaperone can have up to 12 children in their care. But, we recommend no more than 8 children.
  • The child should not perform if a licence has not been granted, unless they fall in the exemption period.
  • A chaperone should not presume that a child is licensed. Always ask to see a child’s licence when you arrive at the performance place.
  • If the production company cannot prove that a child is licensed, chaperones should contact the child’s agent immediately.
  • Production companies must log certain activities during a performance; for e.g. arrival and departure times at the place of the performance etc.


Carla Richardson, Child Employment and Entertainment Licensing Officer

020 8820 7054
This page was last modified on: 23 Dec 2023