Child employment and chaperoning


What are the rules for young people in work?

There are different rules and regulations for young people in general employment and those working in entertainment and modelling.  

Read useful information about child employment for both young people and the employer.

Who can work?

Young people are allowed by law to be employed part time from the age of 13 to 16, with the exception of children involved in television, theatre, modelling or similar activities.
If a young person has a national insurance number this does not mean they can leave school and work full time. They will still have to wait until they are past compulsory school age.

If you are an employer wanting to apply for an employment permit

Please contact the Child Employment and Licensing Officer for an employment permit application pack, this will be sent out to you and will take 2 to 3 days to arrive.

You must return the employment permit application form signed by the parent/carer and with a copy of the young person’s birth certificate, your application for a permit will be delayed .  Only the employer can make an application for an employment permit for a young person.

If you are a young person/parent/carer and would like to discuss work permit applications please contact the Child Employment and Licensing Office.


What is working in entertainment?

  • television, film, radio
  • theatre
  • modelling
  • sport 

Who can work?

From new born children to adults can work in entertainment. New born babies to children of statutory school age need to be licensed by the council where they live.  If you are a Redbridge resident you will have to apply to us for a performance licence.

Performance licences

If a child is offered work in entertainment and modelling they will need a performance licence. Performance licences are issued by our Child Employment Officer.

Before granting a licence we will need to make contact with the head teacher of the child's school to check the child's education will not suffer if a performance licence is granted to work in entertainment.

Applying for a performance licence

To get a performance licence you will need to send us: 

  • part 1 of the application form– this must be completed by the production company
  • part 2 of the application form – this must be completed by the parent, guardian or carer
  • two passport sized photographs
  • a copy of the child/young person's birth certificate
  • permission from child/young person's education provision
  • we ideally need 15 day's notice to process a performance licence. 10 working days (weekends not included) is the minimum requirement.

We do not charge a fee for a performance licence -  child entertainment licence application (PDF 371KB) 

How long is a performance licence valid for?

A child licence is only valid for 1 performance. If child / young person has work for 1 month with 1 company and then works in the same or following month for another company a new performance licence must be applied for. 

Are there times when a performance licence is not required?

There are certain circumstances in which a child licence will not be required for the child to perform. To find out when this condition will apply to your child's performance, please contact the Redbridge child employment and licensing officer.

Laws protecting children working in entertainment

All children who perform on stage or in television, films, commercials, work in paid/professional sport or who work as models have their welfare and safety protected by law which includes the:


The chaperone acts in the absence of the parent/guardian/carer taking are of the child's health and safety. They also provide food and drink when a child is working at the place of performance and during rehearsals and breaks.

A child/young person will all need a chaperone when taking part in an entertainment performance such as:

  • TV and film
  • theatre
  • sporting activities or modelling

Apply for a chaperone license

Please download and complete the chaperone application form (120KB)

Once you have completed the form and returned it to us. You will be contacted by the Child Employment and Licensing Officer to arrange an interview. Payment details are discussed when you meet with the Child Employment and Licensing Officer.

If you have recently undertaken safeguarding children training in the last year, you can attach your course certificate to your email. If you have not recently completed safeguarding training, you must complete the NSPCC ‘Protecting Children in Entertainment’ online course.

A guide for adults who want to chaperone children in entertainment (PDF 771 KB)  The guide includes chaperoning skills, responsibilities and regulations. 

Licenses are valid for three years from the issue date upon the license. Applicants who wish to renew their license are encouraged to contact the Child Employment Team 4-6 weeks ahead of expiry to prevent license expiry.  If there are any changes to your circumstances within the lifetime of the license that may affect your status as a chaperone, you are required to inform the Child Employment Officer, as detailed on the license.

Charges for Chaperone Licences

  • Professional License (Enhanced DBS and Chaperone License) £65

Working professionally as a chaperone means receiving payment other than genuine out of pocket expenses? If you intend to work professionally as a chaperone, a Professional DBS check will be required

  • Volunteer License. (Enhanced DBS and Chaperone License) £44

A volunteer chaperone can only receive reimbursement of genuine out of pocket expenses by the company they are acting as a chaperone for.  To receive payment for acting as a chaperone will be in breach of the declaration made when applying for the Volunteer DBS.

  • Volunteer or Professional Chaperone Applicants with their own Enhanced DBS £15 (this includes those subscribed to the update service).

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check

You may or may not need to apply for an enhanced DBS check. When we process your application, we will contact you to find out if you need to apply.



Telephone: 020 8708 6031


4th Floor (Front), Lynton House

255-259 High Road