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Acupuncture, tattoo, piercing or electrolysis registration

​​​​​​​​​The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VIII makes it illegal to ca​rry out acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing or electrolysis unless you register with us. The registration covers you and the premises you work in.

You must ensure that the procedures, equipment and facilities you use are safe and hygienic to prevent the spread of disease. You must also fully comply with the general duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Once we receive your application and fee we'll arrange a suitable time for us to inspect your premises. If the inspector considers your procedures and premises to be suitable your registration will be approved.

Register to carry out tattooing, acupuncture, piercing or electrolysis

The fee for 2017-2018 is £151 per person, per registered activity and relates specifically to the registered premises.

Application for the registration of tattooing, acupuncture, piercing or electrolysis (115kb pdf)

Bye-laws requirements

Our inspector will check that you comply with the following bye-laws as well as ensuring that general health and safety requirements are being met. We can offer you advice or help if you're unsure how to meet these obligations.


  • 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 and other items of furniture 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 staff

  • Any overall worn by staff should be clean and in good repair.
  • Staff's hands and nails must be kept clean.
  • Any open cut, wound, sore or boil must be suitably covered by an impermeable dressing.
  • Staff should not smoke nor drink in the treatment area.
  • Staff 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 to sterilise them.

Tattoo and body piercing guidance

The purpose of the guidance toolkit is to promote effective control of risk in tattooing and piercing activities and to promote a consistent approach across the country. This guidance will ensure that your business complies with legal requirements and the health and safety of both you and your clients.

Tattooing and body piercing guidance toolkit (5.8MB pdf)

Scratcher catcher

A scratcher is a person that is not registered to tattoo and may be doing so from unregistered premises. This is illegal and presents a serious risk of infection. We encourage anyone with any information about a scratcher working within the Rochdale Borough to report this to us so that we may investigate. Complete the scratcher catcher form below and return it to us.

Scratcher catcher form (534kb pdf)


0300 303 8871

Public Protection Service
Business Engagement & Compliance Team
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU