Skip to content
The content on this page has yet to be rewritten for GOV.WALES. It is still correct and up-to-date.

Compulsory licensing scheme for practitioners of special procedures in Wales

The content of this page is not being updated. Get up to date information on health and social care at

Related Links

Tell us if you want any of the documents on this page in an alternative format.

We will introduce this scheme under provisions made at part 4 of the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017.  

It will require practitioners who perform: 

  • acupuncture,  
  • body piercing, 
  • electrolysis and 
  • tattooing 

to be licensed. 

The business premises / vehicle from which they operate will also have to be approved. 

A summary of the main requirements of the compulsory licensing scheme for practitioners 

The Public Health (Wales) Act received Royal Assent in July 2017. Part 4 of the Act requires a compulsory licensing scheme for practitioners and businesses carrying out ‘Special Procedures’ in Wales. 

These practices already need registration under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982:
  • tattooing including semi permanent make up, 
  • body piercing, 
  • acupuncture and 
  • electrolysis. 

We aim to introduce the licensing scheme by April 2020. The main requirements include:

  • Practitioners will need a licence to carry out special procedures (it will be an offence to perform any procedures without a licence).
  • Business premises or vehicles must be approved (it will be an offence for a practitioner to perform any procedures from premises or vehicles that are not approved).
  • A full licence will last for 3 years, and a temporary licence will last for 7 days (this is to accommodate events and conferences)
  • The practitioner will have to display the licence in the premises where the special procedure is undertaken.
  • Licence conditions will relate to:
    • the competence of practitioners,
    • the premises where practitioners work,
    • the equipment and practices used, 
    • health and aftercare advice given before and after the special procedure, and
    • the records kept by practitioners
  • Competence will relate to infection control and first aid in context of the special procedure practised. 
  • The level of competence will relate to the level of risk linked to the special procedure. Practitioners will need to have knowledge of the requirements of the Act.
  • Currently registered practitioners will need to transition to the new system. Time will be allowed for those practitioners (and their premises) to be assessed by local councils and moved on to the new licensing system;
  • Local councils will be responsible for enforcing the licensing requirements and for keeping a public register up to date. There will be greater powers of enforcement  than those currently in place. There will be the ability to revoke a licence and immediately stop unsafe practices. Unlimited fines be possible upon successful prosecution;
  • As new special procedures evolve, further legislation will be possible under the Act to amend/add to the list of special procedures. 
We are liaising with:
  • practitioners of special procedures
  • professional associations, and
  • interested stakeholders

to develop bespoke accredited infection control courses and up to date industry guides.

We are also considering the development of a structured career path for practitioners of special procedures in Wales.

If you wish to be part of this process or have any queries, please contact Public Health Division at 

Document Download