The law says that any child or young person taking part in a performance or activity should be supervised and well cared for at all times. If parents are unavailable to care for their child personally, a chaperone must be used. A chaperone is an adult approved by a local authority to take charge of children or young people over the course of a performance or activity, including travel to and from the event.
The law says that a chaperone must:
- Be suitably vetted to look after children
- Look after no more than 12 children at one time
- Not be asked to undertake other duties whilst acting as a chaperone
Follow the correct procedures if the child becomes ill, upset or suffers an injury.
The chaperone’s first duty is to the welfare of the child. He or she should exercise the same level of duty and care that a good parent might reasonably be expected to provide.
A chaperone’s duties will vary according to the situation. However, all chaperones are expected to exercise proper supervision and make sure that the child has adequate meals, rest and recreation breaks. This applies both when the child is performing and when the child is not. The chaperone must accompany the child to and from the dressing room, to the set and, where applicable, their school room. He or she must stay on set all the time the child is there.
During any type of performance or activity, the law says that:
- It should be clear who is responsible for the child at all times
- No child over the age of five shall share a dressing room with an adult or with a child of the opposite sex
- Each child or young person must be accompanied to and from the place of performance by a responsible adult who is either the parent, an approved chaperone or in some cases, their class teacher
- The chaperone must keep a record of the times the child is on set, including rehearsals and performances, to ensure this falls within the periods permitted by law.
The chaperone should make sure that the child or young person has suitable opportunities for breaks and is protected from stress, strain and any other conditions that might affect their well-being.
Children must not be allowed to perform if they are unwell
Appropriate first aid facilities must be available in case of accident or injury
Any accidents or cases of illness must be reported to both the parents of the child or young person concerned and also to both the host and licencing local education authorities.
Allegations of abuse
If a child or young person ever discloses any details of physical or sexual abuse you cannot keep this information to yourself. It must be immediately reported to both the licensing authority and the police.
Applying to be a chaperone
If you would like to become a chaperone, you will need a licence from the Council via an application form. These can be found in the documents section below.
You will also be required to complete an online level 1 safeguarding qualification. Information on how to complete this will be in the application pack.
You will then need to attend for a short meeting with one of the Council’s inclusion officers, when you should bring your completed application together with:
- one passport size photograph
- two references
- a copy of your safeguarding certificate
- your payment
- accompanying identification documentation
The Council will input your details with the DBS who will then send you an email link in order for you to complete your DBS online.
Once this process is complete, your application will either be approved or rejected.
If you are rejected, we will explain the reasons for this. Approval as a chaperone lasts for three years, after which time you must reapply. Approval can also be withdrawn at any time if a chaperone proves unsuitable.
Things to do
- Familiarise yourself with the layout of the venue
- Identify any hazards
- Locate all fire exits and check that they are accessible
- Ask to hear the sound of the fire alarm
- If necessary, arrange a fire/bomb drill (with alarm) for the children
- Locate the first aid facilities and find out who is the trained first aider
- Inspect the dressing rooms (must be separate for children over the age of five)
- Find and inspect the toiletsFind and inspect any rest rooms
- Find and inspect the school room (where appropriate)
- Check meal and refreshment arrangements
- Check the total number of children in each chaperones care (must not exceed 12)
- Make sure the producer is aware of which children you are responsible for
- Get a full list of all the children involved with emergency contact telephone numbers for each of them
- Make sure you are aware of each individual child’s medical conditions and any medication that each child might need to take. This information is confidential and should only be divulged on a strict need to know basis
- Familiarise the children with the venue, exits, toilets, restrooms etc. and ensure they know that you are the person responsible for them
- Ensure you are aware of each individual child’s medical conditions and any medication that each child/children might need to take. This information is confidential and should only be divulged on a strict need to know basis.
- Familiarise the children with the venue, exits, toilets, restrooms etc. and ensure they know that you are the person responsible for them.
If you are unhappy with any of the facilities or arrangements, you should raise your concerns with the licence holder and negotiate better conditions. If these negotiations are unsuccessful, you must carefully consider whether you are going to allow the child or children to continue taking part in the event.
You should remember that you are ultimately responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the child/children and that you may be held liable if anything happens to them as a result of your decision.
If you are concerned about conditions or treatment, you must also contact the Council as soon as possible.