Brass Bands England (BBE) is pleased to announce that the Department for Education has awarded a national Body of Persons Approval (BOPA), making the organisation a one-stop shop for Child Performance Licensing for its member bands.
As members of BBE, bands will gain cover from the BBE-held BOPA, which exempts them from the legal requirement of applying for Child Performance Licenses for every child aged 16 or under in their band (CPL). As part of the BOPA service to member bands, BBE will provide the BOPA certification, DBS checks and safeguarding advice and training, thereby significantly reducing the legal and administrative burden placed on bands to comply with CPL.
Heralding this as a “very significant step forward for BBE member bands,” the body’s Chair, Mike Kilroy, also stated: “In addition to relieving bands of hundreds of hours of potentially frustrating administration every year and, no doubt, more than a few sleepless nights for band managers, this new system will also provide further foundations for advancement in bands’ general organisation, as well as a free marketing opportunity. We would like to thank the Department for Education for their co-operation in developing this process with us and for the confidence it has shown in BBE’s approach to the rather thorny subject of Child Performance Licensing over the past 12 months.”
From 1 July, By benefiting from BBE’s new BOPA service, BBE member bands, Associations and Events will also be able to cover their own events under a consistent set of rules, regardless of the local authority in which they reside or perform. In discussions with the Department for Education, BBE has raised some of the issues faced by bands and, as a result, a system has been created specifically to support bands in their activities, whilst retaining the valuable elements of safeguarding that the legislation seeks to create. Three vital concessions have been made for brass bands:
· Removing the need for supervising adults to be licensed chaperones
· An explicit allowance that supervising adults can also be playing members of the band
· Removal of the need to collect large amounts of data about young people
Said BBE Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth Crookston: “To use the BOPA, bands will be required to demonstrate that they have good safeguarding measures in place by attending a BBE/NSPCC-developed training course, although these should already be implemented if they work with young people, regardless of any CPL requirements. Comprehensive advice on this is available to all BBE members from Education and Development Co-ordinator, Sarah Stanley, and Partnership and Development Manager, Alex Parker, whose work on safeguarding over recent months has been recognised by a number of national bodies for its high quality and far-reaching impact.”
When the system launches , bands will be able to apply for the BOPA certificate directly from www.bbe.org.uk using a self-certificating system developed with the Department for Education. To get started, bands will need to click on the BOPA tile in their membership dashboard. In addition to requiring an up-to-date safeguarding policy and TWO BandSafe-trained members, bands will need to confirm that they meet the conditions of the BOPA by, for example, having the correct ratio of supervising adults to children at the event. Indicating the number of children taking part in each event by this method means that bands will no longer need to submit large amounts of data or wait for information to be processed by local authorities.
As a bonus, when bands apply for the BBE-held BOPA, the system will create an event advert listing free-of-charge on the BBE events page, thus turning an administrative exercise into an advertising opportunity!
In addition to administering the BOPA system, the Department of Education has instructed BBE to carry out spot checks on events, removing the need for local authorities to do so. This also means that BBE can support bands with specialist knowledge in their safeguarding activities during inspections. This system will come with significant administrative costs for BBE, though inspection and administration of the BOPA will be included in the cost of bands’ membership.
In order to allow greater access to the BOPA, BBE will be taking the BandSafe training on a roadshow across the country over the next few months to offer training to all member bands at a cost of £60 per delegate. Full details of these events will be confirmed in the next few weeks but, following the success of the BandSafe launch event in Crawley in April, the first official BandSafe seminar will take place on Sunday 9 June at Birmingham Conservatoire.
BandSafe training is valid for two years and those completing the course will receive documentation and identification to assist them in carrying out their role within their bands during that time. To book onto a BandSafe training course, visit www.bbe.org.uk/events to find a session near you. If your band is interested in hosting a training session, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on how to join Brass Bands England and details of the organisation’s services can be found at www.bbe.org.uk or by calling the National Office on 01226 771015.