Child performance licensing

Children who perform or participate in activities such as modelling, stage, and TV performances or sport may require a child performance licence, regardless of if they are paid or unpaid. There are lots of children who participate in performances within Southampton, providing them with a range of opportunities.

Southampton City Council reviews and issues licences for children to participate in these activities, following thorough checks to ensure that the children are safe whilst participating in the performance.

Legislation exists that is designed to protect children's health, welfare, and education. While we want to give children the opportunity to work and gain experience, we have a statutory duty to prevent the work from impacting their education and to prevent children from being exploited.

The law applies to all children from birth until completion of compulsory schooling. This is the last Friday in June, during the school year in which the child turns 16 (Year 11). We ask for 21 days’ notice for applications, in line with guidance from the Department for Education; this ensures we can undertake our checks to keep children safe.

Who needs to apply for the licence?

The person responsible for the production/organisation of the performance is the person who is required to apply for a performance license. Sometimes agencies will send an application in on behalf of the producer.

Performances that need a licence

A performance needs a license if:

  • It is at a licensed premises or a registered club
  • It is to be broadcast. This includes performing on stage, TV, filming and modelling
  • A paid performance
  • A charge is made, whether for admission or otherwise
  • Absence from school is required
  • The production will be directed in any way
  • It includes working in paid/professional sport

Performances that do not need a licence

A child may may be exempt from licensing, but only if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • It is unpaid
  • No absence from school is required
  • The child has not performed on more than four days in the previous six months

Performances arranged by schools are exempt from licensing and you do not need to tell us about them. Performances by Guides and Scouts are covered by a National Body of Persons Approval and do not require licensing. However, they should inform the Local Authority of any performances.

All performances requiring absence from school require licensing.

It is a legal requirement to seek a licence when one is required. Any person who causes or procures any child to do anything in contravention of the licensing requirement commits an offence. They may be subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Apply for a child performance licence

The application should be sent to us at least 21 days before the performance will take place. Applications sent less than 21 days prior to a performance may not be processed. Please contact us if you need to apply for a licence which has less than the required 21 days notice. It is the duty of the applicant to ensure a timely request is made, including all of the required documents fully completed.

Applications will only be accepted electronically.

Please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have read and fully understand the statutory requirements for the licence for which you are applying. Failure to comply with the regulations may lead to the licence being revoked and/or prosecution.

Please either scan and email the completed application form, or submit an electronically completed application form, to

For any queries please email

Please note

From 1 December 2022, paper applications will no longer be accepted by post and will be rejected. To prevent any delay, please ensure they are sent electronically to

Apply for a child performance licence (PDF)

Apply for a child performance licence (Word)

You must ensure that you send in full and complete applications, with a:

  • Child protection policy, naming an appointed Safeguarding Lead
  • Risk assessment, school absence permission (if required)
  • Photo of the child and the birth certificate of the child

An application may be rejected if not all documentation is provided.

You must also have a Local Authority approved Chaperone for children who require licensing, if the child’s own parent is not attending the performance.

Officers of the Local Authority may randomly inspect performances. At inspection, we would expect to speak with the Head Chaperone and see the relevant documentation, such as the licences and medical records. We will also inspect the performance area, changing/rest areas, and facilities.

For further information regarding Child Performance, please contact the Child Employment and Performance Officers via