What is a Chaperone?
A chaperone is a person aged over 18 years* who is approved under Regulation 15 of The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 to have care and control of a child and to safeguard, support and promote the well being of the child while he/she is taking part in a performance, rehearsal, activity or living away from home during the period of the licence. The child must be accompanied an approved chaperone, by their parent/carer who has parental responsibility for them, or the teacher who would ordinarily provide the child's education.
Therefore, if a child's parent is not able to accompany them the Production Company will need to arrange for an approved chaperone. A child cannot be accompanied by their grandparent/older sibling/aunt/uncle/step parent (who does not have parental responsibility) without them applying for and obtaining a chaperone approval.
"The Chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give that child"
* some Local Authorities will not approve a person to be a chaperone until they are 21 years and above.
How do I apply for a Chaperone Approval/Licence?
In order to apply for a chaperone licence you must contact the Child Performance Licensing Department at the Local Authority where you live. You will need to request an Application Form and they will advise you on the documentation you need to return and the process for obtaining a licence.
Most local authorities will require you to complete an application form, a DBS check, provide 2 referees, undertake an interview and complete training on the roles and responsibilities of a chaperone and safeguarding.
How long does a Chaperone Approval take to come through?
The process of applying for a chaperone licence can take between 6 to 12 weeks, therefore you should make sure you submit your application well in advance of the time you need the Chaperone Approval for.
What are DBS Checks?
A DBS check is a check of a persons criminal convictions and cautions and is undertaken by the Disclosure and Barring Service as part of your Chaperone Application. This is part of the Local Authorities safer recruitment process to ensure that those people working with children are suitable and safe to do so.
How many children can a chaperone look after?
Under Regulation 15(3) the maximum number of children a chaperone can look after at any one time is 12. However, this will depend on the type of production, age and needs of the children being cared for, layout of the venue/location as well as other factors.
Does a chaperone need to undergo training as part of their approval?
Many Local Authorities will require a chaperone applicant to undergo a minimum level of training, and will provide this either online or by face to face training courses delivered by the Child Employment Officer.
The NSPCC does have an online training course for chaperones called "Protecting children in entertainment training for chaperones" which the NNCEE advised on. It is an option for those chaperones whose own Local Authorities do not provide training of their own.