Chaperones

Posted in General

"The Chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give that child"

 

Regulation 15 Chaperones

This regulation states that a licensing authority must approve a chaperone to have care and control of a child and to safeguard, support and promote the well being of the child while he is taking part in a performance, rehearsal, activity or living away from home during the period of the licence.

Subsection (2) states that the above does not apply if the child is being cared for by a parent or teacher who would ordinarily provide the child's education.

Subsection (3) states the maximum number of children a chaperone may care for is twelve or if the chaperone is the private teacher of the child in question, three.

Subsection (4) states the licensing authority must not approve a person as a chaperone unless they are satisfied the person is suitable and competent to exercise proper care and control of a child of the age and sex of the child in question and will not be prevented from carrying out their duties to the child by other duties.  See section 5 Chaperones 

Subsection (5) states when a child suffers illness or injury while in the care of a chaperone the licence holder must notify the parent and the licensing and host authorities immediately.

A child taking part in a performance or activity under licence or a rehearsal within the licensing period must be supervised at all times by a local authority approved chaperone unless they are under the direct supervision of their parent or a person who has legal parental responsibility or their teacher.  This also applies when the child is living away from home during the period of the licence.  

Best Practice It is considered best practice for local authority chaperones to be employed for performances exempted under section 37(3)(a) of the 1963 Act and performances under a body of persons approval.  See Section 4 Body of Persons Approval.

33 - The chaperone is the key person who protects, safeguards and supports the child.  He or she is the point of safety a child can turn to and rely on should the need arise.  The chaperone has a major part to play in ensuring that the child's experience is enjoyable and beneficial.  The role of the chaperone is so important that a complete section on the approval of and the responsibilities of the chaperone has been included in this guidance.  See Section 5 Chaperones

Regulation 29 Chaperone discretion

This regulation states that the chaperone may allow a child to take part in a performance for a period not exceeding one hour immediately following the latest time specified in regulation 21 providing – 

The total of performing hours including the additional hour the child takes part do not exceed the maximum hours under Reg. 22 that the child is permitted to be at the place of performance.  The chaperone believes the welfare of the child will not be prejudiced and the conditions requiring this arose outside of the control of the licence holder.

Making use of this regulation must be the exception not the rule and productions must not view this as an "additional hour" they can take advantage of; this is not a decision the licence holder can make, the decision is the chaperones' alone.   If the child has already performed for the maximum permitted hours according to their age then the chaperone cannot exercise discretion whatever the circumstances.  

The chaperone should only exercise discretion if the circumstances have arisen outside of the control of the licence holder i.e. unforeseen circumstances.  An example of this might be equipment failure or a power failure.  It would not be acceptable to cite schedule overrun.  Whenever they decide to exercise discretion the chaperone must be sure that it is not to the detriment of the child's welfare.

When a chaperone allows a child to perform after the latest time specified in regulation 21 the licence holder must ensure that the chaperone notifies the licensing and host authorities on the following day.  They should provide a reason for their decision.

Local authorities must monitor the use of this discretion carefully, review the reason for allowing the child to perform and ensure it has been used appropriately.  They must ensure that notifications are received within the timescale specified and best practice is to send written acknowledgment to the licence holder when used.  If the licensing or host authority identify inappropriate or frequent use they must enter into discussion with the chaperone and the licence holder.

45 - Subsection (3) of this regulation states that the chaperone may allow the meal break to be reduced when the child is taking part in a performance or rehearsal outside providing it is not less than 30 minutes and the maximum hours that the child can perform is not exceeded.

Example - It might be appropriate to reduce the break if the weather was particularly cold. It would be in the best interests of the child to finish earlier avoiding even colder weather as the day progressed.  The same may be an option if the day was a particularly hot one.