The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014/3309 (the Regulations) came into force on 6 February 2015 and replace the Children (Performances Regulations) 1968.  The Regulations are the result of two public consultations led by the Department for Education on proposals for wholesale reform of the child performance licensing system.

APPLICATION OF THE REGULATIONS

The Regulations apply not only to performances, but also cover certain types of activities that will now require licensing, for example, factual entertainment programmes where children are directed to perform activities.

The Regulations apply to children who are resident in England and who film in Great Britain, as well as children who are resident abroad, but who film in England.

Wales and Scotland are still subject to the 1968 Regulations as amended.  In Northern Ireland the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 and the Employment of Children Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996, amended 2006, still apply.

IMPACT OF THE REGULATIONS                        

In order to put on performances which involve children, or appoint children to take part in paid sport or modelling in England, Wales and Scotland., the organiser must apply for a licence from either: (a) the child’s home local authority; or (b) where the child is not from Great Britain, the local authority in whose area the child resides or has his/her place of business.  Certain public performances in Great Britain are exempt from the requirement to obtain a licence.

Applicants and local authorities must follow various requirements during the licensing process.  If a child is to be taken abroad to participate in a performance or activity for profit, the organiser must obtain a licence from a magistrate.

MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE REGULATIONS AND CHILDREN (PERFORMANCES REGULATIONS) 1968

In summary

  • the latest times that a child can be present at the place of performance, the total number of hours a child can spend at the place of performance, and the maximum number of hours of performance a child can carry out have been amended;
  • the grant of a child performance licence is no longer subject to provision of a medical certificate;
  • unnecessary restrictions on the different types of performance a child can take part in on one day have been removed
  • differences between the rules for performances that are recorded or broadcast and those which are not have been removed;
  • education hours may be aggregated over a four-week period.

COMMENT

The Regulations retain important safeguards that protect child performers.  However, the Regulations also remove restrictions which now seem unnecessary.  The Regulations are intended to be clear and self-explanatory, and should provide clarity in this area.  In addition, the Department for Education is to publish short non-statutory guidance to clarify the changes in the legislation.