Do I need this licence?
Anyone who wishes to carry on the practice of acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin-colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis must be registered with their local council unless they are a registered medical practitioner or dentist.
The purpose of registration is to ensure that basic health and safety standards are maintained in any premises where these activities are carried out. It is compulsory to register both the premises and the operator under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.
Applicants will be required to pay a one-off registration fee, which covers the cost of administration and inspection of the premises on a periodic basis. These checks will ensure the necessary standards are being maintained.
All persons that carry out tattooing, ear piercing and electrolysis must be registered with the local authority.
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Part VIII, requires that the following types of skin piercing are registered with the council.
The act requires registration to cover both the person carrying out the practice and the premises used for that purpose. There are no powers to refuse registration, but the practice is controlled through compliance with by-laws in each case.
What are the conditions and cost of the licence?
The applicant must ensure that the procedures, equipment and facilities used are safe, hygienic, prevent the spread of disease and comply fully with the general duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
It is illegal to conduct ear piercing, tattooing, acupuncture or electrolysis unless the registration has been formally approved.
Once an application has been made and a fee has been paid (£238 for the premises to be registered and £25 to register each individual working there), an inspector will undertake an inspection of the premises. If the inspector considers the applicant's procedures and the premises to be suitable, then registration will be approved.
The inspector will also check compliance with the by-law requirements as well as ensuring that general health and safety requirements are being met.
The inspector will be pleased to offer any advice or give any help if you are unsure as to how to meet these obligations.
What information/evidence will I need to be provided?
Training and competency: All persons carrying out body art procedures (practitioners) must attend a relevant course on infection control (eg one run by a local authority/health authority and/or recognised trade association), and attend a refresher course at least every five years.
Qualifications: Full records must be kept on the premises of all practitioners’ qualifications and registration of the relevant professional association; courses attended – with dates, and the titles of the courses, and venue; details of periods of supervision of all piercers/tattooists must also be kept. These details must be available for inspection at all times.
Insurance: The business must have third party liability, to cover claims from damages or negligence, as well as employer’s liability insurance where appropriate.
Waste: Waste transfer documents and details need to be available at all times for inspection.
*Acupuncture and body art procedures MUST not be undertaken by anyone under the age of 18 years.
Where can I go for further information?
Please view the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) below for more details of the by-law requirements.
How do I apply?
For an application form to register with Norwich City Council, please contact our customer contact centre 0344 980 3333.
Alternatively to apply online, click here
How long will it take you to process my application and if I’m turned down, how do I appeal?
It will take approximately six weeks from receipt of your application and fee to process your application and carry out an initial inspection. If the standards are not met initially, the certificate of registration will not be released until the premises and/or persons meet the required standard.
An applicant cannot be refused registration, however, a registration certificate will not be issued until the premises and/or person meets the standards set (by-laws and Health and safety at Work Act 1974).
How long does the licence last and what is the renewal procedure?
There is a one-off premises registration fee for yourself and your premises for the business, additional persons are charged at a reduced rate.
How do I inform you about changes in circumstance?
Please contact the Customer Contact Service on: 0344 980 3333. To apply online to change a licence, please click here.
Is there a register?
Yes. This can be viewed by visiting Norwich City Council. To arrange a viewing please contact us on 0344 980 3333.
There are a number of specific guidance documents available:
Frequently asked questions
What are the by-law requirements regarding the premises?
All surfaces in any part of the premises used by clients must be kept clean and in good repair.
All furniture and fittings in the treatment area must be kept clean and in good repair.
Tables, couches, seats etc used in the treatment area must have a smooth, impervious surface which is regularly wiped down with disinfectant and covered by a disposable paper sheet, changed after each client.
A 'No Smoking' sign must be prominently displayed.
Cleanliness of operatives:
- Any overall worn by the operative should be clean and in good repair.
- The operative's hands and nails must be kept clean.
- Any open cut, wound, sore or boil must be suitably covered by an impermeable dressing.
- The operative should not smoke nor drink in the treatment area.
- The operative should have sole use of the washing facilities which must provide hot and cold running water, soap (or a similar cleanser).
What are the by-law requirements regarding equipment?
- Any needle, metal instrument or other item of equipment used in the treatment must be in a sterile condition and kept sterile until it is used.
- If pre-sterilised items are not used then adequate facilities must be provided for the purpose of sterilisation.
- If tattooing is being undertaken, then all dyes used must be bacteriologically clean and inert. The containers used to hold dyes for each customer must be disposed of at the end of each treatment or sterilised before re-use.
What are the general by-law requirements?
- It is an offence to tattoo any person under the age of 18 years (the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969) regardless of parental consent.
- A person under the age of 18 years may receive body piercing provided that you have received written permission from, or the treatment is performed in the presence of, the person's parent or guardian.
- Nipple and genital piercing is prohibited on minors, regardless of parental consent.
- The health of the client and the suitability of the treatment should be discussed prior to its administration.