The Role of a Chaperone
Children who take part in public performances or entertainment under a Child Performance Licence, BOPA or Four-Day Exemption Local Authority must be supervised by an approved chaperone – unless they are in the care of their parent or an agreed tutor. A child’s parent cannot chaperone other children without being a licensed chaperone.
The role of the chaperone is to ensure children in their care remain healthy, safe, and well throughout rehearsals and performances. This includes ensuring children do not work beyond their contracted hours.
Approved chaperones are essential to make sure that proper provision is made to secure a child’s health, safety and welfare while they are where the performance is taking place.
Further information about the role of chaperones and the legislation behind the need for them is available in our downloads section.
Becoming a Chaperone
This service is for Somerset residents who want to apply for a chaperone licence.
Licences valid for two years from the date of issue, and we recommend that you apply at least 12 weeks before the first rehearsal or performance.
Volunteer chaperones are required to pay a £15 administration fee, which is non-refundable.
Paid chaperones are required to pay a £45 administration fee, which is non-refundable.
As part of the chaperone application, you will be required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check to determine your suitability for the role of chaperone.
Please be advised that due to updated Government guidance we will be required to view your original ID documents in person. Unfortunately, we can only facilitate this in County Hall in Taunton. If you are unable to attend County Hall, another person can bring the original documents in on your behalf, or they can be sent by post. If sent by post, the documents will be returned to you via Special Delivery.
You can apply for your chaperone licence below. Please note that you cannot apply to renew an expiring licence – you will need to make a new application using the online form below.
To apply, you will need to provide the following information within the online form:
- Your personal details, including your National Insurance number
- Any training you have undertaken relevant to the role of Chaperone
- Name and contact details for two referees
- Details of any convictions, cautions or reprimands either in the UK or abroad
- A payment method
The form has 8 or 9 pages, depending on your answers, and will take about 12 minutes to complete.
After you have submitted your application:
Your completed application will be submitted to the Local Authority, who will initiate the process.
- Send you a confirmation email outlining the process and steps you need to take
- Send you an email containing a link to the DBS service and information about booking an appointment to have your ID checked.
You will need to:
- Complete the online DBS application
- Send copies of your ID to CIE@somerset.gov.uk
- Have your ID verified by one of our officers
- Present physical copies of your ID if originally verified online
Steps 3, 4 and 5 need to be completed within 30 days. Failure to do this may result in your application being withdrawn without refund. Withdrawn applications would need to be resubmitted in full, including payment, if a licence is still required.
If you experience any difficulties in completed this process, please contact us as soon as possible by emailing CIE@somerset.gov.uk.
A chaperone’s first duty is to look after the children in their care and they must not undertake any activity that would interfere with the performance of this duty. Except when a child is in the care of a tutor, a chaperone is ‘in loco parentis’ and is required to exercise the care that a good parent might reasonably be expected to give a child.
Chaperones have the responsibility of care for children in entertainment and the nature of a chaperone’s role is that he or she is in a position of trust regarding those children. Abuse of a position of trust in respect of young persons under the age of 18 is considered an offence. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, this includes sexual activity with or in the presence of a child, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity or watch a sexual act.
The regulations are designed wholly to protect the child’s welfare and to prevent a child being exploited. Chaperones must familiarise themselves with these restrictions, especially where they have specific relevance to their role.
The law says that the maximum number of children an individual chaperone may supervise is 12. However, the local authority may consider that due to the demands of the performance, the ages, gender of the children, or a combination of both, that the chaperone would only be able to effectively supervise a smaller number.
Boys and girls from the age of 5 must be in separate changing rooms. There would have to be at least two chaperones on duty. Chaperones must remain with the children all of the time. It is only when they are on stage or performing that chaperones are not required to be by their side.
Chaperones should possess firm negotiating skills. Occasionally production companies may try to exploit a child in order to facilitate their schedule. Chaperones have the power to withdraw a child from a performance if they have good reason and should have the confidence to do so when it is in the interest of the child.
The chaperone must keep daily records of the children at the place of performance. There should be emergency contact numbers available.
Any significant incident or accident must be fully recorded. The parent and the local authority must be informed at the earliest opportunity. The records must be available for examination on request.
A child should not be allowed to perform when unwell. The chaperone must put the needs of the child first. They have the responsibility to refuse to accept a sick child who arrives for a performance.
Qualified first-aiders should be on hand in all entertainment establishments. Chaperones should establish where the first-aid kit and accident book are located.
The chaperone should become familiar with the procedures for evacuating the building in case of fire and the escape routes from whatever rooms the children are using.
A chaperone is required to ensure that suitable travel arrangements are in place for each child under their control. They are also required to ensure that the person previously agreed collects the child.
The local authority officers are empowered to enter any premises where a performance or entertainment is being performed by children, without prior notice, to establish that the children are being properly supervised and cared for. They have the authority to withdraw the children from the performance, to rescind the chaperone’s approval, or both.
There is full guidance for licence holders and chaperones in our Information for Chaperones and Licence Holders document.