Child Employment and Children in Entertainment

The ‘Child in Entertainment and Employment Team’ (CiEET) covers the whole of Hampshire excluding the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth. They are responsible for:

  • Issuing Work Permits for Young People wanting to work or volunteer
  • Issuing Performance Licences for Children and Young People wanting to participate in entertainment or performances
  • Approving Chaperones to assist children and young people in entertainment
  • Providing Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) to Organisations
Child employment

Child employment and the law

The hours of work and conditions of child employment are described by the Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963, the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 and Hampshire County Council Byelaws on the Employment of Children 1998

These laws are to protect the health, safety, well-being and education of children.

Children may do light work from the age of 13 years until they are no longer of compulsory school age. A young person is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of sixteen years.

Light work means work which is not likely to be harmful to the safety, health or development of children and is not harmful to their attendance at school or participation in work experience.

Permitted work for 13 year olds

Children aged 13 years are allowed to be employed in light work in one or more of the following specified categories:

  • light agricultural or horticultural work, provided this is only on an occasional basis and under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian
  • delivery of newspapers, journals and other printed material
  • domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation
  • car washing (by hand in a private residential setting)
  • in a cafe or restaurant
  • shop work
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • in riding stables

List of Prohibited Employment

No child of any age may be employed:

  • in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or night club (except in connection with a performance given entirely by children or under the terms and conditions of a performance licence)
  • to sell or deliver alcohol, except in sealed containers
  • to deliver milk
  • to deliver fuel oils
  • in a commercial kitchen
  • to collect or sort refuse
  • in any work which is more than 3 metres above ground or internal floor level
  • in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door
  • in work involving exposure to adult material or in situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • in telephone sales
  • in any slaughterhouse or in any part of a butcher's shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of meat for sale
  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any other premises used for the purpose of public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices
  • in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home
Other legislation prohibits children's employment e.g. in industrial undertaking and street trading

Information for Employers

Employers are required by law to register any children who work for them, whether paid or unpaid.

An application for Child Employment can be made by the employer by completing the form below. We will also require a copy of your General Risk Assessment before a Work Permit is issued.

Once this is completed and signed by the employer and parent, it will need to be emailed to the child employment team at [email protected].

Once the email and application has been received, our service level agreement for this to be processed, is within 10 working days.

Please ensure that applications are submitted using this form and emailed to us. Application submitted any other way, will not be processed.

Wherever possible we will email the issued work permit to the employer and parent.

An employer can be prosecuted for employing a child illegally. In addition, the insurance which the employer must have for his employees may not be valid.

An application form for the employment of a child must be submitted for approval to the Local Authority in which the employment takes place, within 7 days of commencement of work.

It may be necessary to undertake a visit to the premises of place of work before a Permit is issued.

Permitted hours of work

Employment may only take place between the hours of 7am and 7pm for all young people.

Hours of work for 13 and 14 year olds

  • 2 hours on school days - either one hour before and one hour after school, or two hours after school
  • 5 hours on Saturdays
  • 2 hours on a Sunday (also during school holidays)
  • Maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • 5 hours on a weekday during the school holidays
  • maximum 25 hours per week during school holidays

Hours of work for 15 and 16 year olds

  • 2 hours on school day - either one hour before and one hour after school, or two hours after school
  • 8 hours on a Saturday
  • 2 hours on a Sunday (also during school holidays)
  • Maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • 8 hours on a weekday during the school holidays
  • Maximum 35 hours per week during school holidays

Any child employed must have a rest break of no less than one hour following four hours of continuous employment and during the year have at least two consecutive weeks in the school holidays which are free from work.

This information is only a general guide. Employers and parents must consult the relevant legislation for assistance with specific queries.

For further information contact the Child Employment Office.

Apply for a work permit

Application Form for the employment of a child

If you would like to receive this document in an alternative format, contact the Child Employment Office.

Children in entertainment

The Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (Section 37) Restriction on persons under 16 taking part in public performances.

This includes children who have attained age 16 during the academic year i.e. are still of compulsory school age.

The Children (Performances) Regulations regulate children taking part in these activities and the Local Authority administers a licensing system designed to protect the child and give paramount consideration to their health, welfare and education.

The regulations apply to all children from birth until they reach compulsory school leaving age.

A child is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16.

A child may perform without a license for up to four days, but only if:

  • it is unpaid
  • there is no absence from school required
  • they have not performed in the previous six months

Performances arranged by school, scouts, guides and youth clubs are exempt from licensing. This does not include festivals, choirs and competitions. This is not an exhaustive list so please contact us for further details.

The licensing authority is normally the local authority (LA) where the child lives. If a child attends boarding school, it is the LA where the school is located. If a child lives outside of the UK, it will be the LA where the licence applicant lives/has business premises. A child performing abroad must be licensed by their local magistrate’s court.

The licence ‘Applicant’ is:

  • Performances:  Person responsible for the production.
  • Modelling:  Person who proposes to engage the child.
  • Paid Sporting Activity:  Person responsible for organising the event.

A complete licence application should be submitted 21 days before the performance takes place.  If a licence is requested at shorter notice, every effort will be made to oblige but authorisation cannot be guaranteed.

A complete application must include:

  • Part 1 & Part 2 of the Application Form, submitted as a whole, signed document and not in two parts, with a handwritten or electronic pdf signature. Signatures are not acceptable if typed in or any other way.
  • The Applicant’s Child Protection Policy and general Risk Assessment
  • Copy of the Child’s Birth Certificate
  • Authorisation of Absence School Letter, where applicable
  • A clear photo of the child.

It is the responsibility of the applicant or agent to chase up incomplete, missing or illegible paperwork.

Please note, for Safeguarding reasons, notification alone will not constitute an application within the deadline, therefore incomplete or part applications will be automatically deleted.

Please ensure that all applications for performance licenses are emailed to [email protected]. Applications submitted any other way will not be processed.

While licensed to perform, the child must be in the care of a chaperone.  This may be a local authority approved chaperone, the child’s parent/guardian or an appointed tutor.

There are various conditions and restrictions that apply to child performances. Further information and the application form can be found via the below links.

It is a legal requirement that children engaged in public performances or entertainment under a licence issued by the Local Authority must be supervised by a chaperone approved by a local authority in which they live unless they are in the care of either their parent/guardian or agreed tutor.

Approved chaperones are essential to ensure that proper provision is made to secure a child's health, safety and welfare whilst at the place of performance.

The process to become an Approved Chaperone will include verifying your identity, an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service [DBS] check, an informal online interview and two references being taken up.

The application process takes a maximum of six weeks and once approved the applicant is issued with a licence, which is valid for three years.

The charges for obtaining a Chaperone Licence, are as follows:

Volunteer Chaperone Licence Charges
New Licences - £25. Reduced to £18 if part of the DBS Update Service with a current Enhanced Child Workforce and Child Barred List.

Renewal Licences - £15. Reduced to £5 if part of the DBS Update Service with a current Enhanced Child Workforce and Child Barred List.

Professional Chaperone Licence Charges
New Licence - £80. Reduced to £33 if part of the DBS Update Service with a current Enhanced Child Workforce and Child Barred List.

Renewal Licence - £65. Reduced to £10 if part of the DBS Update Service with a current Enhanced Child Workforce and Child Barred List.

If you wish to apply to become a registered Chaperone, you will need to complete an application form and the following steps.

Step 1: Chaperone Application

Step 2: Email completed application to the CiEE team at [email protected] ensuring the below list of documents are attached to your email:

Step 3: Ensure you read through the Hampshire Chaperone Handbook and the Chaperone Information Support Pack.

Existing Hampshire County Council Chaperones

If you are already a registered Chaperone with Hampshire County Council you can renew your licence at least six weeks prior to your licence expiry date, by emailing us with your DBS Certificate number, Surname and Date of Birth. This will only apply if you have registered with the DBS Update Service.

A new application will need to be completed for anyone who is a current Hampshire County Council Chaperone but not registered with the DBS Update Service or anyone who is an approved Chaperone with another local authority.

If you are unsure if you need a license or have any questions, please contact the Child Employment and Entertainment Team at [email protected]

Body of persons approval (BOPA)

A Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) allows groups and organisations to have an overall licence for their performance. This means a licence for each individual child is not needed.

Please view our Guide to BOPA document as this will give you all the information you need to be able to apply.

You must apply at least 21 days before the first performance. However, workload permitting, we may be able to issue a licence sooner.

To apply for a BOPA, you will need to complete the following steps:

Step 1: BOPA Application Pack

Step 2: Email the completed Application Pack along with your Child Protection Policy and venue Risk Assessment to the CiEE team at [email protected]

Once we receive your application pack, a full assessment of the information will be carried out and an online interview will be organised.

If the application is successful, then a BOPA will be produced for individual shows only. A 12-month BOPA approval will no longer be issued.


For further information and advice:

Email [email protected]
Telephone 01962 876300

Opening hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:30am to 5pm and Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Due to external visits, our officers may not always be available in the office. In this instance, please email or leave an answerphone message.