More and more members are telling us that their local authorities are asking them to apply for licenses for children performing with them, for each child, for each performances, and also asking for trained and licensed chaperones to be in place.
This is all a lot of work - and costs money. And the question is: is it appropriate?
We all agree that safeguarding children is important, of course. But the legislation which is now increasingly being applied to amateur musical performances was designed to protect children from being exploited in professional commercial productions.
If amateur musical activity by young people under the age of 16 were to be re-classified as educational - in the same way that youth sports activity is - , then it would be exempt from the requirements of licensing. This would clearly make sense.
In addition, there is the problem that the current legislation is being interpreted in such wildly differing ways by local authorities. This is causing problems for groups who span several local authorities; it means that some children will have more and better opportunities than in others; and that Making Music is not able to give members solid advice: we can only point you in the direction of your own local authority.
You can help! Please leave your comments and experiences on this forum, so others can learn from them and so that I can collect case studies to use for lobbying the government on this issue. You can also email me on Barbara@makingmusic.org.uk