What is a Body of Person's Approval (BOPA) exemption?
The Body of Person's approval (S39 (3)(b) of The Children & Young Persons Act 1963) is available to organisations including amateur organisations, who have children taking part in their productions. It is to reduce the administrative burden by exempting them from the need to obtain individual performance licences for each child.
It may also be useful for organisations who currently use the exemption known as 'the four day rule'. (S37(3)(a) of The Children and Young Persons Act 1963). This states that performances given under the Body of Person's Approval, will not require the organisation to check the number of performances each child has or will do during the 6 months before their performances.
Local authorities may consider issuing a 'Body of Person's' exemption for performances taking place within their authority, where the following circumstances apply:
- no payment is being made to the child (nor anyone else) for the child to take part, other than expenses
- the child will not be absent from school to take part
Surrey County Council would encourage amateur groups involving children in their productions to make use of this exemption when their productions take place in the Surrey Local Authority Area.
Where children take part in non-amateur/professional productions, the use of the Body of Persons exemption may not be appropriate if payments are being made and/or the child is missing school.
What criteria need to be met?
Where an organisation wishes to take advantage of the Body of Persons approval exemption, it must complete the application form. This is to satisfy this authority that the following are already in place:
- That they formally consent to abide by the terms and conditions as laid out in the 'Contract of Agreement'. (The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014).
- That it has clear, robust and well embedded policies for safeguarding children. (Child performance and activities licensing legislation in England, Department for Education departmental advice February 2015). Surrey County Council believes that this is best achieved by the use of local authority approved chaperones.
- That it has a regularly updated (every 18 months) safeguarding or child protection policy. (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018).
- That it has a dedicated Child Welfare (Safeguarding) Officer.
- It has a set of rules of membership and engagement for adults and children, which must include an equal opportunity policy. (Surrey County Council Policies).
- That it keeps detailed and complete records of children involved with the group, including emergency contact details. (The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014).
- That it maintains an ongoing and updated list of local authority approved chaperones that meet the requirements of the numbers of children involved in their productions. (The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014).
Organisations may be approved for a specific production only or annually if they have children taking part in multiple productions in Surrey. They must satisfy the above criteria and have signed the 'Contract of Agreement'.
How much notice do we need?
At least 21 days' notice before the first day of the performance is needed for a Body of Persons Approval exemption.
How to apply for a Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)
To apply for a Body of Persons approval the following information must be sent to the Child Employment Team:
- A fully completed Body of Persons Approval Full Application form (PDF)
- A copy of the organisation's Safeguarding/Child Protection Policy and Procedures
- Details of the performance – times, dates, location
- Details of the Chaperones supervising the children
- The numbers, age range and gender split of the children taking part
If the approval is rejected, the organisation will be informed at the earliest possible opportunity. This will be in writing, with full details of the reasons for rejection. The organisation will then be asked to apply for licences in the usual way. If the organisation is unhappy with the decision, they should lodge a complaint. Full details of the procedure can be found by visiting our complaints page.
If approved, the Child Employment Team will issue the appropriate documentation to the organisation together with a copy of the 'Contract of Agreement', signed by the Child Employment Manager on behalf of Surrey County Council
Where an annual Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) has been granted the organisation must:
- Advise the Child Employment Team of the times and location of all productions in advance of the first performance, during the period of the approval.
- Provide the Child Employment Team with the number, age range and gender split, of all children taking part. This includes the number of days each of them is performing.
- Provide the Child Employment Team with the rota of chaperones who will be supervising the children. This must take into account the number of children, their gender and age. These details are needed for each performance including appropriate rehearsals, as directed by The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.
- Where absence from school is required for any child, the exemption is void. The normal licensing procedure will be adopted for the child(ren) that require absence from school to take part.
- The organisation is required to apply for future exemptions annually.
- A statement of the organisation's commitment to protecting children must be displayed prominently at all performance and rehearsal venues.
- The organisation must allow any authorised officer of the local authority to have unrestricted access whilst any rehearsal or performance is taking place at any venue that the company uses.
Festivals and events taking place over multiple dates and venues in Surrey
A Body of Persons Approval can be applied for where there are lots of children in several performances at multiple venues. These events could include Music, Drama, Dance and other Festivals in the Surrey County Council area. There is a separate Body of Persons Event/Festival application form. This application will cover all children taking part in the event/festival at all the Surrey venues.
To apply for a Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) for an event or festival:
The following information must be sent to the Child Employment Team:
- A fully completed Body of Persons Event/Festival application form BOPA Events Application Form (PDF)
- A copy of the organisation's Safeguarding/Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
- The organisers of the event or festival should ask the lead person from the group, for example dance or drama school, who are entering groups of children in the event or festival, to complete a BOPA Group Participation Form (PDF). The organiser is then responsible for collating the forms from ALL participating groups and sending these to the Child Employment Team. This must be done 28 days before the first performance.
Before the event/festival commences:
At least 28 days before the first performance the following additional information should be forwarded to the Child Employment Team:
- Details of the numbers of children taking part in the individual performances. This could be in the form an electronic copy of the published programme.
- Copies of the Group Participation Information Forms completed by the responsible person for each of the groups taking part in the Event/Festival.
- Details of the Chaperones supervising the children.
Child Employment Team contact details:
For further information or guidance regarding applying for a Body of Persons Approval exemption, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Files available to download
Body of Persons Approval Full Application Form (PDF)
BOPA Full Application Form for Child Performances
BOPA Event Application Form (PDF)
Body of Persons Approval Event Application form for child performances
BOPA Group Participation Form (PDF)
Body of Persons Approval info form for groups involving child performers