Civic Hall in Bedworth
Child protection policy
The Civic Hall in Bedworth is committed to ensuring that all visitors experience a consistently good service and that all patrons feel safe and are protected from harm.
One of the most vulnerable groups of Hirers we encounter, and work with is children. Their welfare is of paramount importance to us and the aim of this document is designed to explain:
- What we will do to ensure the safety of child performers
- What we expect our users to do to ensure the safety of child performers
Alongside this document it is essential that the ‘Warwickshire County Council Guidance for Licence Holders and Chaperones’ document be thoroughly understood as well as the ‘Guidelines for Chaperones’ document.
Parents or carers must know at what time they are expected to drop off children at the Stage Door of the Civic Hall in Bedworth. Regardless of whether this is for rehearsal or performance. It is essential that an effective communication has taken place between the Visiting Manger (the Hirer) and the child’s carers. It is the Visiting Managers responsibility to communicate this information effectively to ensure no child is left unattended without a chaperone on site to look after the child.
It is essential that the Visiting Manager provide a nominated person for performances that involve children. This individual is responsible for signing the child in and is taking responsibility for the child’s welfare. This individual must insist that the parent/ carer stays with the child until the child can be united with that child’s designated and responsible licensed chaperone.
Signing in and out
All performers and crew working backstage must be signed in or out including all children. This ensures that we know exactly who is on and off site at any given time and in the event of an emergency we know exactly whom we should be accounting for. Ultimately this is the Visiting Managers responsibility.
The procedure should be reversed on the collection of children. A chaperone should stay with the child until a parent or carer arrives, at which point the child should be signed out and released to the parent. Under no circumstances should children be released to strangers or to other parents without the permission of the child own parents.
Any other entrance or exit to the Backstage or Dressing Room area including the ‘fob doors’ must not be used as this is not a controlled signing in / out point.
For performances at the Civic Hall, a risk assessment will be visible above the signing in point. This is available for all parents to look at and will identify Venue specific hazards and how the risk is to be controlled. The responsibility for performance specific risk assessments lies with the Visiting Manager.
Under no circumstances must any visitors be allowed backstage. In performances involving children, this is the responsibility of both the Visiting Manager and the Civic Hall in Bedworth.
Access to the Dressing Room area and Small Hall from the public areas of The Civic Hall is controlled by use of a fob system. Fobs are available to the Visiting Manager for the duration of the performance. A £20 cash deposit is required (reimbursed when fob is returned). Fobs are collected from the Technical Staff.
The Warwickshire County Council document, “Guidance for Licence Holders and Chaperones” clearly and concisely sets out what the local authority expects of Visiting Managers in their provision for child performers.
The document should be studied thoroughly and it is important to remember that:
- Children can only perform on 3 days in a six-month period (excluding school performances). It is important that Visiting Managers know each child’s performance history with other organisations. Any child requiring working a fourth day in a six month period should be performing with a child performance license.
Irrelevant of whether a child is performing under the terms of a ‘child performance licence’ or not, Visiting Managers must be aware of any medical conditions the child has and special requirements including dietary.
Visiting Managers whose children do not need to be licensed so parents could identify their child’s special needs could use the medical questionnaire, which forms a part of the ‘child performance licence application’.
Visiting Managers must think carefully about agreeing to allow chaperones to administer medication to a child in their care, where children are unwell they should not be asked to perform.
It is also strongly recommended that licensed chaperones have a basic understanding of emergency first aid. Any accident or incident must be reported to the Technical Staff or Civic Hall Duty Manager for logging in the Civic Halls own records.
It is also very important that Visiting Managers remember to take emergency contact telephone numbers for parents or carers in case children fall sick or become injured.
Dressing room policy
The Warwickshire County Council ‘Guidance for Chaperones’ document spells out clearly the ratios of chaperones per children that are required.
- Remember Children over 5 years old must be in single sex dressing rooms
- As per Ofsted ratios, chaperones can only chaperone a maximum of 12 children (depending on ages)
- Each Dressing Room has a policy on the wall that will be adhered to by Civic Hall staff and must be adhered to by visiting companies.
- Dressing room doors must remain closed when children are occupying them. This is to protect the dignity of the children and other theatre visitors and staff.
- Children should be kept calm whilst in dressing rooms with activities planned through long periods of waiting to keep them occupied.
Under no circumstances should children be allowed to leave a dressing room unsupervised. Children should not be allowed in the Auditorium or Public Areas of the Civic Hall in Bedworth when the building is open to the public.
- The only times children are unable to be supervised is when onstage, which is a rehearsed and controlled environment. Sufficient thought must be given to toileting and chaperones must ensure children have single sex toilets. This may require additional chaperones and should be thought through in advance of any performance. There are four separate toilets available in the Dressing Room area.
- Chaperones should identify risks in dressing rooms and it would be good practice for them to carry out their own assessment. Hazards such as hot radiators, sharp edges on dressing tables, dressing room light fittings, hot water and electrical sockets are all potential heightened risks for children.
Quick changes for children, at the side of the stage or in the Scenery Dock must try and be avoided at all costs. This causes staff, volunteers and the children themselves to feel awkward and uncomfortable. We would strongly advocate that sufficient thought and planning goes into running orders to prevent this.
Where this is unavoidable and a child must change quickly with insufficient time to return to a dressing room, the Visiting Manager may request a temporary dressing room in the Scenery Dock, which protects the child’s dignity. These are available for groups no larger than 10 children at a time. Only licensed chaperones or parents of children can assist in this. Nobody else must ever be allowed to assist.
- The child’s modesty and dignity is paramount and must never be allowed to be compromised.
- Chaperones other than the children’s parents must be licensed by the local authority
- Parents can only look after their own children and can never be given responsibility for other children
- Comprehensive details of chaperoning can be found by visiting the Warwickshire County Council document, “Guidance for Licence Holders and Chaperones”
- The local authority does have a register of licensed chaperones who may be contacted in an emergency
- The chaperones principle job is to look after the children and chaperones should not be burdened with other major responsibilities.
Photographic procedure and recording of live performances
The Civic Hall in Bedworth has a policy of no photos, videos or audio recording from within the auditorium with performances containing children. The only exception to this may be when the Visiting Manager wants to film the production for archive or retail sale.
The Visiting Manager is asked to provide, in writing, a declaration that all parents of all children participating are happy with this and that the Visiting Manager has been granted permission to do this by said parents. The Civic Hall for our records will retain the form.
Refer to Section 10 of the Contract for more information on charges for performance recordings.
Particularly with dance school performances, an announcement must be made before the start of every performance informing patrons that:
- Photography and audio visual recording is prohibited and mobile telephones must be switched off.
Last updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021