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Guidance on children and young people in employment or entertainment

Employment

There are laws that cover employment of children under school leaving age. Children are of compulsory school age until the academic year in which they turn 16. Our guides can help children and young people, their parents, employers and producers.

Work permits

If you have a young person of compulsory school age working for you, you must make sure they have valid work permits (employment cards). The employer must apply for these and they are issued for specific employment. They cannot be transferred with the child if they change job or employer or transferred to another child or job by you. The work permits are issued by the local authority where the employer is based and not where the child lives (if that is different).

Work permits may also be necessary when children are volunteering for charities. Please take a look at this volunteer's guide (PDF) and the Working with Volunteers page for more information.

If you are employing a young person within the Surrey County Council Local Authority area, you will need to apply to us. Please complete and follow the instructions on our work permit application form (DOC).

For more information on any aspect of child employment in Surrey, email our child employment team at childemployment@surreycc.gov.uk or call us on 01483 517838.

Entertainment

There are also specific rules covering children working in entertainment.

Licences

Performance licences

All children of compulsory school age require a performance licence (PDF) to take part in any performance. Applications for performance licences should be submitted at least 21 days before the date of the first performance.

We can only issue performance licences for children that are permanently resident in the Surrey County Council Area, which is not the same as the postal area of Surrey. Proof of address may be required with applications.

Although we will process applications received with less than 21 days notice whenever possible, we cannot guarantee to do so. We will charge a fee of £35 per licence for applications received five full working days or less before the date of the first performance, but this does not guarantee it will be issued if required information is missing. See our guidance to help you complete the performance licence application form (PDF).

Body of Persons Approval exemption

We can allow exemption approvals to some organisations putting on non-professional or amateur performances that would normally have to licence individual children taking part, for example, amateur dramatics, operatic societies, dance schools and organisers of music/drama/dance festivals. These are issued per performance/festival or for 12 months and the performance/festival must still comply with the law around children in entertainment.

We provide guidance (PDF) and have an BOPA Application form (PDF), which organisations need to complete if their performance is taking place in the Surrey County Council area.

There is a different BOPA application form for organisers of festivals or events. The organisers should complete the BOPA Events Application Form (PDF) and ask all groups participating in their event to complete the Group Participation Info Form (PDF).

Organisations that wish to involve children in their productions should have a child protection policy. We have produced guidance to help you write a child protection policy (PDF) for your organisation.

Applications should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the first performance date.

Unlicensed performance exemption (four day rule)

We can only grant an exemption from performance licensing if the child is not being paid to take part, no other person is being paid for the child to take part (other than out of pocket expenses), the child is not missing any school and will not have performed for more than 4 days in the last six months. This includes the current performance that is being applied for.

If you want to apply for an exemption from performance licensing for a child living within the Surrey County Council Area, please complete the performance exemption application form (PDF) and submit it to us at childemployment@surreycc.gov.uk at least two weeks prior to the first performance date.

Premises licence

We provide guidance for all holders and operators of premises licences in a Surrey borough. All applicants for new premise licences or variations to existing premise licences should familiarise themselves with this guidance when completing section M (measure to promote the licensing objective 'Protection of Children from Harm').

Data management

If you would like to see how we use your personal data please read our privacy notice.

Further information

For more information, including details of performance licences, email our child employment team at: childemployment@surreycc.gov.uk or call on 01483 517838.

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