Child employment

Chaperones

Chaperones

Here is a brief guide for all persons wishing to apply to become a chaperone who reside in Central Bedfordshire. This page explains the qualities required of a chaperone, the duties undertaken and an outline of the regulations that apply to all children involved in performances.

What is a chaperone?

A chaperone acts in place of a parent to the child/ren under his/her care when they are modelling, performing on stage, or taking part in a film production, radio or television programme. A chaperone is expected to exercise the same care and control as a good parent would with a view to securing a child's health, comfort, kind treatment and moral view. The regulations relating to children performing and chaperones are as follows:

  • The Children & Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963 and the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 detail the regulations for chaperones for children taking part in performances, modelling or sport.
  • 'The Licensing Authority shall not approve a chaperone unless they are satisfied that he/ she is suitable and competent to exercise proper care and control of a child.'

There is also a wealth of information regarding Children in Employment and Entertaining on the following website: http://www.nncee.org.uk/ (link opens in new window) (National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment). There is a comprehensive publication called the 'Guide to Child Employment Licences' on the website.

Who can apply to be a chaperone?

Any trustworthy person [male or female] over the age of 18 can apply to become a chaperone. You need to enjoy working with children of all ages [up to compulsory school age] and be able to understand their needs. As much of your time is spent 'waiting around' production sets/theatres you will need patience and resourcefulness to deal with children of various ages who may become bored!

What are the duties of a chaperone?

Your first duty is to the care of the children. To do this you will need to get to know them well and to also be aware of their needs. If the child is taken ill then you will be responsible for contacting the appropriate first aider on site/doctor/child's parents if necessary.

You will be required to be in charge of the child at all times except when the child is with his tutor or parent, or on stage/taking part in filming. This will include on the set, in the dressing rooms, during recreation, meal and break times. You must not undertake any other duties that could separate you from the child.

Whilst on the set or stage you must be alert to all health and safety issues and to have read any available 'risk assessment'. You will be required to act as intermediary between the child and the production company particularly if facilities are found 'wanting'. At times you may find yourself under pressure from the Production Company to relax the rules, which must never be allowed. 

Remember your responsibility is to the child's well-being not the Production Company. During the intervals between performing and rehearsing, you will be required to occupy the child with a variety of activities.  Think about what would be suitable for children of varying ages.  You should never allow older children to watch or take care of younger children, in any circumstances.

Your lodging accommodation (where appropriate) must be at the same address as the child and (where possible) in adjoining rooms. You must make sure that the accommodation is suitable e.g. clean, and with adequate space and toilet facilities. You must also ensure that all meals are provided both on and off the set.

A record must be kept to show the place of performance, when performing or at rehearsals, break times or waiting between performances. Before any rehearsal/performance takes place you must ensure that the producer/agent is in receipt of the child's Performance Licence and that you have a copy.

It is your duty to ensure that the Licensing regulations are upheld at all times. You will need to have a good knowledge of the regulations and where to go to for advice.

How many children can I look after?

Up to 12 children can be looked after at any one time. However we consider this to be too many particularly when there are a variety of ages.

What about the child's education?

All children are required to attend a school full-time during term time or be provided with adequate tuition. It is the chaperone's duty to ensure that this takes place. Records should be kept to show whether the child is attending school or receiving tuition.

How do I apply for the chaperone licence?

If you live in Central Bedfordshire then you need to apply to Central Bedfordshire Council (see contact details at the bottom of the page). We will send you an information pack with further details and application forms. You will also need to name 2 people whom we can contact for a reference, and to complete an Enhanced DBS Application form. There are also 2 'Safeguarding Children' e-learning courses which need to be taken, passed and certified via printing of a certificate. These courses are free of charge, providing that they are completed within 4 weeks of beginning them. It takes around 1 hour to complete both courses.

You will then be required to attend a short interview with the Child Employment and Licensing Officer in person and also to produce documentation for the DBS application, as well as your printed certificates. It costs £25.80 for the DBS administration plus £44 (total of £69.80) should you be working in a paid capacity as a chaperone. Your DBS application form will then be checked and sent to the Disclosure and Barring Service for verification. The results of this check, in the form of an enhanced DBS Certificate, will be sent direct to you, the applicant. Once this is received, please call to arrange to meet again with the Child Employment and Licensing Officer, at a mutually agreed location and time. The DBS Certificate will be checked and photocopied and, in return, you will receive your Child Chaperone Certificate plus a lanyard with your Chaperone ID Badge. There will be a charge for the disclosure checks. All applicants need an enhanced DBS disclosure (because they are working with children).

You will need to re-apply for a licence once every three years, when another check will be made with the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The Local Authority does not find employment for chaperones and will not recommend chaperones to employers.

Inspection

It is Central Bedfordshire Council’s practice that, from time to time, inspections are carried out at places of performance involving children within Central Bedfordshire Council, where practicable. The Child Employment and Licensing Officer carrying out the inspection would make him/herself known to the chaperone on arrival and will have identification with him/her. When a performance is in a different Local Authority, there are also inspections by their Licensing Officers. It is therefore necessary that documentation, including Chaperone Certificate and individual ID lanyard, is carried at all times whilst working as a chaperone.

For further information, please contact the Child Employment and Licensing Officer, Gina Rose:

By email: gina.rose@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

By phone: 0300 300 4953

Or by post at:

Central Bedfordshire Council, Watling House, High Street North, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 1LF

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