Public Health (Wales) Act - special procedures

The new licensing scheme for 'special procedures' will be introduced by April 2020 under Part 4 of the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017.  

‘Special procedures’ include tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing, acupuncture and electrolysis. 

The main requirements include: 

  • practitioners must be licensed to carry out special procedures - it will be an offence to carry out special 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 three years and a temporary licence will last for seven days (to allow for events and conferences).
  • the licence will have to be displayed in the premises where the special procedure takes place 
  • licence conditions will cover a practitioner's competence, the premises, the equipment and practices used, advice given before and after the special procedure and the records kept


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, for example ear lobe piercing would not require the same level of competence as body piercing.

Knowledge of the requirements of the Act will also be required.

How the new licensing system will work

Practitioners who are currently registered will need to move to the new system.

Time will be allowed for them and their premises to be assessed by council officers and moved to the new licensing system 

The council will be responsible for enforcing the licensing requirements and for keeping an up to date public register.

There will be greater powers to enforce this legislation than those currently in place, as well as the ability to revoke a licence and immediately stop unsafe practices.

Fines will be unlimited where a prosecution is successful.

The Act allows for further legislation to amend the list of special procedures so that the legislation stays up to date. 

Read about the Public Health Act (Wales) Act 2017