A Chaperone (or Matron) is the title of a licensed* person appointed to protect, control and care for children whilst they are performing. The law states, “The Chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give that child”.
There are a few types of Chaperone; Broadcast (on a TV or film set and the internet), Non-Broadcast (theatre, in a band or modelling shoots) and a Residential (looking after a child 24 hours a day, unless being tutored, whilst the child is working away from home), Travel (picking a child up from home and taking them to another Chaperone at their place of work) and Parent (chaperoning their own child only).
Production companies are required to log certain activities during a performance i.e. arrival & departure times at the place of the performance etc, the chaperones are often asked to monitor and record all the times that the children are working, having a break or having lessons. This documentation is a legal requirement for the children’s licencing authority.
*Scotland and northern Ireland have different rules around Chaperone licenceing and DBS.
The Local Authority where you live are the ones responsible for issuing chaperone licences, some issue them for free, others charge. Each local authority also has different procedures for acquiring a licence. You will need to apply to your local authority. The most common way is for the LA to send you an application form, which you will need to send back with references from 2 people, and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check some also then require you to attend training.
It can take anything up to 12 weeks until the licence comes through (depending on your DBS check). You cannot chaperone without it, and you will need to re-apply every year or two depending on your local Authority.