Children in Entertainment Licence

What do the regulations say?

The regulations require that if a child is to take part in a regulated activity the person who is acting as the producer/agent must apply for a licence to allow the child to perform. A regulated activity could be a performance or an activity such as paid sport or modelling.

Why do I need a licence?

It is a requirement under the following legislation:

  • The Children and Young Persons Act 1933
  • The Children and Young Persons Act 1963
  • The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014

The legislation requires that all children, from babies until they reach the end of compulsory school age, be licensed by the Local Education Authority in which they live, to take part in a performance (on stage, in a broadcast etc) or an activity (modelling/sport).

A child whose 16th birthday falls between 1 September and 31 August remains of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June following their 16th birthday.

A child, for the benefit of the legislation and these guidance notes, is anyone who is of compulsory school age as outlined above.

Who can apply?

The person responsible for the production of the performance/activity in which the child is taking part is the person who should make the application for a licence.

The person who signs the licence application will be deemed to be the licence holder. 

What are the timescales?

The legislation states that the local authority may require 21 days’ notice of a licensed performance. In Milton Keynes we will process and decide an application if that notice period is met.  If however an application is submitted after that time we may not have the time or the resources to process it especially if the application is incomplete.  In any event our policy backstop position is that less than 5 clear working days before a performance is normally too late to submit an application as we will not have the time required to carry out the necessary checks and provide the inspecting authority with enough notice of the child's performance so late in the day.  For applications with between 5 working day and 21 days’ notice we will aim to process them if we can but cannot guarantee.

What documents are required?

A licence is granted by the Local Authority where the child lives (this may not necessarily be the same Local Education Authority as the child’s school).

The applicant (the producer) completes and signs Part 1 of an official application form and the parent then completes and signs Part 2. The application form is found here Standard Child Performance and Activities Licence Application Form (April 2019) (PDF, 442KB)  and no fee is required. All documents must be submitted at the same time.

You are required to submit the fully completed application form with all the following documents at least 21 days before the performance date:

  • Proof of the child’s date of birth (photocopy of birth certificate)
  • A passport sized photograph
  • A copy of the child’s contract, draft contract or other documents containing the particulars of the agreement regulating the child's appearance in the performances or regulating the activity for which the licence is requested.
  • If school absence is required, written permission from the school authorising the absence (see document list for a template that can be used if required)
  • A parental medical declaration form (see document list for a form to complete)
  • Please note that all documents must be submitted at the same time - partial submissions will be rejected automatically.

N.B. If Milton Keynes Council considers that the information provided by the applicant is insufficient to enable it to decide whether to issue a licence, or whether to issue a licence subject to conditions, the Council has a duty to request additional information or documentation to enable it to make such a decision - this may include but is not limited to written confirmation from their GP that a child is fit to take part in a performance. 

Is the licence granted if you do not hear from the Licensing Authority? - (Tacit Consent)

No. A licence will not be granted unless Milton Keynes Council is satisfied that the child is fit to take part in a performance, that his/her education will not suffer and that proper supervision has been made to secure the child’s health, comfort and kind treatment.

What if the licence is refused?

If an application is refused then there is an appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days.  There address is:

301 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 2AJ.

You can also contact the Licensing and Business Manager:  

Milton Keynes Council, Civic Offices, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ

The Authority will also have regard to the Milton Keynes Council complaint procedure when carrying out any investigation.

What will the licence look like?

The licence will show the following information:

  • Name of the child
  • Name of the parent
  • Identity of the licence holder (applicant)
  • Names, times, nature and location of the activity of performance for which the licence has been granted
  • Dates of the activity, performance or rehearsal, or instead of dates, the number of days on which the child will participate in the activity and the period, not existing six months, in which the activities may take place 
  • Any conditions made by the  Authority, these could include permitted hours, transport and chaperoning arrangements, sums earned and education
  • A statement that the licence is subject to the restrictions and conditions contained within the 2014 Regulations

What sort of performance/activity needs a licence?

Any performance: 

  • In connection with which a charge is made
  • At a licensed premises or a registered club
  • Any broadcast or any performance recorded by whatever means with a view to its use in a broadcast, or film intended for public exhibition
  • Any child used as a stand-in (understudy) should be licensed in the same way as the other children in the performance.

What sort of performance/activity DOES NOT need a licence?

Any performance:

  • If a child does not perform on more than four days in any period of six months (providing that there is no absence from school)
  • School performances
  • Any activity which the Local Education Authority does not consider to be a performance. This could be children interviewed or filmed while taking part in some normal activity not specially arranged for the purpose such as doing ordinary schools lessons, playing in the park or at a youth club
  • Performances put on by a body of persons approved by the Secretary of State (Home Office) or in the Local Education Authority in connection with which no payments has been made to the child or any other person. This could include amateur productions drama societies, churches, scouts and other youth organisations.

N.B. If the activity is directed in any way it may be reviewed and converted into a performance.

If you are working with children who do not need a licence you should still register the performance with the Council. 

ONLY COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING FORM if the child takes part in a performance which totals three days or less, is not being paid, is not seeking school absence and the performance is not being recorded for any type of broadcast. Please remember that the child must obtain a Performance Licence if taking part in performances on four days or more in a six month period. Performances not requiring a licence (PDF, 92KB)

If you are working with a group of children who are undertaking performances which does not need a licence, please read the Body of Persons Exemptions guidance (PDF, 153KB). The relevant forms are available in the Documents List opposite.

What are the maximum days a child is permitted to perform and what are the permitted hours of performance?

Please refer to the current guidance note - Restrictions in relation to all performances (PDF, 107KB)

What are the responsiblities of the Licence holder?

  • To observe the conditions of the licence and the requirements and restrictions specified in the Regulation and to ensure that the licence is available for inspection at the place of performance/activity
  • To make suitable arrangements to ensure that the child is cared for by a registered chaperone, unless the parent is acting as chaperone. The licence holder must ensure there are a sufficient number of registered chaperones to care for groups of children
  • To keep certain records which much be retained for six months after the last performance to which the licence relates (details below)
  • To ensure that any arrangements approved by the Council for the education of the child are carried out 
  • No child should perform if unwell and, if the child suffers any illness or injury while under the care of the chaperone, the licence holder must ensure that the parent of the child, the licensing authority and the host authority (where the performance is taking place) are notified immediately.
  • To ensure that suitable arrangements are made to get the child home after the last performance or the conclusion of any activity on any day.

Requirements relating to keeping licensing records

Records must be kept by the licence holder. There are separate requirements for performances and other activities.

Records to be kept by the licence holder for a PERFORMANCE are

  • the licence
  • the following particulars in respect of each day or night on which the child is present at the place of performance:
    1. the date
    2. the time of arrival at the place of performance
    3. the time of departure from the place of performance
    4. the time of each period during which the child took part in a performance/rehearsal
    5. the time of each rest interval
    6. the time of each meal interval
    7. the time of any night work authorised by the Local Education Authority under Regulation 28 of the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014
  • Where arrangements are made for the education of the child by a private teacher, the date and duration of each lesson and the subject taught
  • Details of injuries and illnesses (if any) suffered by the child at the place of performance, including dates on which such injuries occurred and stating whether such injuries or illnesses prevented the child from being present at the place of performance
  • The dates of the breaks in performances required under Regulation 27(1) of the 2014 Regulations
  • The amount of all monies earned by the child by reason of taking part in the performance and the names, addresses and description of the persons to whom such sums were paid
  • Where the licensing authority grant a licence subject to the condition that sums earned by the child shall be dealt with in a manner approved by them, the amount of the sums and the manner in which they have been dealt with

Records to be kept by the licence holder for an ACTIVITY (modelling/sport) are

  • The licence
  • The date of the activity
  • Where arrangements are made for the education of the child by a private teacher, the date and duration of each lesson and the subject taught
  • The amount of all monies earned by the child by reason of taking part in the performance and the names, addresses and description of the persons to whom such sums were paid
  • Where the licensing authority grant a licence subject to the condition that sums earned by the child shall be dealt with in a manner approved by them, the amount of the sums and the manner in which they have been dealt with.

The Local Authority has the power to inspect these records at any time either during the life of the licence or up to six months after the last performance for which the licence was issued.


In addition to legislation and guidance the Council will have regard to our policy on how we will approach performance licensing: 

Children’s Work Permits, Children’s Performance Licensing & Chaperone Approvals Policy 2017 - 2022 (PDF, 345KB)

Who do I contact for help?

If you are a parent you must speak to the person who applies for the licence, this would normally be the producer of an entertainment or the organiser of a sports event or photo shoot.

If you are an agent/producer etc intending to apply for a licence, you can contact the Milton Keynes Council Licencing Team by e-mail.


Last Updated: 4 April 2020