Tattooists, Piercing and Electrolysis Registration

The following bye-laws under the provisions of s.14(7) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 apply to all skin piercing activities in the District.

This includes:

  • Acupuncture
  • Tattooing
  • Ear piercing
  • Electrolysis

Both the practitioner and the premises at which these activities are to be carried out are required to be registered.  An officer of the Council will visit your premise to ensure:


Cleanliness of the premises and fittings: this includes all internal walls, doors, windows, partitions, floors and floor coverings and ceilings in any part of the premises used by clients and operators are kept clean and in such good repair as to enable them to be cleaned effectively.

Tables, couches, seats etc used in the treatment area must have a smooth, impervious surface which must be regularly wiped down with disinfectant and covered by a disposable paper sheet, changed after each client.

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.

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.


When applying for a personal registration an applicant must demonstrate that they:

  • are competent in the relevant activity
  • have high standards of personal hygiene
  • have knowledge of the risks associated with the relevant activity
  • have knowledge of the required standards for premises in which they are to operate
  • understand the importance of gaining knowledge about the health of their clients
  • understand the benefits of record keeping.

Please note, as well as complying with the relevant bylaws, businesses also have a duty to meet the relevant requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and its associated regulations.  Further guidance on these requirements is available from the Environmental Health Unit.

The above are examples of what is required, please contact the Licensing Team of West Somerset Council for more information. 

Application Process

To apply for an initial registration for both the premises and one person, both forms must be completed and returned to these offices with the relevant documentation.  Note, only one fee is required which will cover both the personal and premises registration.

If you are applying for a personal registration to carry out the activity at a premises already registered with the authority, only the personal registration form should be completed. 

The relevant fees can be found in the schedule of fees under useful links on this page.

Application forms can be downloaded from the related documents section on this page. Alternatively please contact the Environmental Health & Licensing Team.

Please send the completed application form and any supporting documentation (requested in the application form) to West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, Taunton  TA4 4QA

Once your application has been received, the Environmental Health Officer will contact you to:

  • arrange an inspection of the premises to ascertain its suitability and/or
  • undertake a short interview of the person to be registered to ascertain their experience and ability. 

Once a satisfactory inspection/interview has been undertaken, West Somerset Council will issue you with a certificate of registration.

Any changes to the registration must be notified to the Local Authority.

How long will it take to process my application?

The Council will endeavour to determine your application within 28 days of receipt of a valid application, however, if you have been unable to determine your application in this timescale a registration will not automatically be granted due to health and safety implications.

How long does a certificate of registration last?

The certificate for either yourself or your premises will last indefinitely provided there are no changes.  Registrations are not transferable and if a business is sold, or an operative leaves for new employment, a new registration will be required.  There is no renewal process.

 We look forward to receiving your application and if you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact  us on 01643 703704 or email or complete the online form.

If you have any comments, enquiries or feedback about any of our services, please complete the online form.  Your comments will be collated and used to improve the service we provide.