Skin Piercing

Licence - Tattooists, Ear-Piercing, Electrolysis and Acupuncture

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VIII requires that the following types of skin piercing need be registered with the Council.

  • Acupuncture
  • Tattooing
  • Ear-piercing
  • Electrolysis

Licence Summary

To offer skin-piercing treatments - including tattooing, acupuncture, ear and body piercing - both the person performing the treatment and the premises must be registered with the local authority. In some area you may need a licence from the local authority. 

Eligibility Criteria

Applications must include any information required by the local authority.

The act requires registration to cover both the person carrying on the practice and the premises used for that purpose. there are no powers to refuse registration, but the registration is controlled through compliance with bylaws in each case.

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 etc Act 1974.

It is illegal to conduct ear piercing, tattooing, acupuncture or electrolysis unless registration has been formally approved.

Hairdressers and Barbers

If you own a hairdressers or barbers you must register with this local authority (this application is free to register).

Tattooing and body piercing guidance: Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to provide expert advice on safe and hygienic tattooing and body piercing practices. It will be used to check on compliance of by laws and regulations.

Bye-laws requirements:


  • 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) and a nail brush


  • 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.


  • 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.

Byelaws For The Regulation Of Acupuncture/Acupuncturists
Byelaws For The Regulation of Tattooing
Byelaws For The Regulation of Ear Piercing and/or Electrolysis
Byelaws For The Regulations of Hairdressing & Barbers

Regulation Summary

Application Evaluation Process

Once an application has been made and the required fee has been paid, 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.


Please note the fee is per person and not for the establishment but both need to be registered.


 Each Person


 Ear Piercing

 Each Person



 Each Person



 Each Person



An Inspector will also check compliance with the bye-law requirements above as well as ensuring that general health and safety requirements are being met before registration is authorised. The inspector will be pleased to offer any advice or give any help if you are unsure as to how to meet these obligations.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact them.

Refund Policy

Please note that refunds of licence fees are not normally given. Only in exceptional circumstances, as deemed by the Licensing Manager, will a refund be considered. Any refunds given will be subject to an administration charge. 

Failed Application Redress

Please contact the Licensing Section on 01827 709709 or in the first instance.

Licence Holder Redress

Please contact the Licensing Section on 01827 709709 or in the first instance.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizen's Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other Redress

Eg about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another. Please contact the Environmental Health Section on 01827 709709 or in the first instance.

Trade Associations

Contact us:
Public Health Team, Tamworth Borough Council, Marmion House, Lichfield Street, Tamworth
B79 7BZ
Tel: 01827 709709. Email: