Do I need a licence?

The rules governing children taking part in entertainment cover broadcast and theatre performances, child photography and modelling.

Some performances may not require a licence. If you think you do not require a licence then you must apply for an exemption.

Do I need a licence or an exemption?


You must apply for a licence for a performance when:

  • A charge is made.
  • It is in a licensed premises or in a registered club.
  • It is filmed with a view to it being broadcast to the public.
  • An absence from school is required.

Apply for a licence 


You must apply for an exemption for a performance when:

  • It is for academic purposes - if a child takes part in three or less performances in any six -month period (provided there is no absence from school).
  • It is put on by a body approved by the Secretary of State for the Home Office or Liverpool City Council. No payment, except expenses, can be given to the child or any other person. This could include amateur productions, drama societies, churches, scouts and other youth organizations.
  • We do not consider it to be a performance - for instance if a child is interviewed while taking part in a normal activity not arranged for the purpose, such as doing ordinary school lessons or playing in the park.

Apply for an exemption

Key things to remember

  • A child must not take part in a performance or activity except under the authority of a licence. Backdated licences cannot be issued, as the process is to safeguard the children.
  • When a licence is requested Liverpool City Council requires 21 days notice.
  • When a licence is requested at a short notice, Liverpool City Council will try to accommodate requests.  However, there must be enough time to deal with the application details beforehand.


With a Warrant

An officer of Liverpool City Council, or a Police Officer, may enter any place where there is reasonable cause to believe that employment is taking place.

Without a Warrant

An officer of Liverpool City Council, or a Police Officer, may at any time enter any place:

  • Used as a broadcasting or film studio;
  • Used for the recording of any film in the performance which is intended for public exhibition and make enquiries about any child or children taking part;
  • A child is believed to be taking part in a performance or being trained for dangerous performances and may make enquiries about the child.
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