Special treatment establishment licences

This page gives you information about the licensing of Special Treatment Establishments and the legal requirements. You will find links to pages that detail the different types of licenses. You will also find application forms, information about any application fee and any necessary conditions that must be met. You can apply for many of these licenses online.

The London Local Authorities Act 1991

Under the London Local Authorities Act 1991 a licence is required when you provide or offer special treatments commercially from premises situated in the London Borough of Wandsworth. Special treatments include, but are not limited to:

  • Tattooing, including micropigmentation
  • Piercing including ear piercing
  • Treatments such as acupuncture, red vein treatment, wart or skin tag removal  by electrolysis, semi permanent makeup
  • Massage treatments including aromatherapy and reflexology
  • Electrical treatments such as hair removal by electrolysis and galvanic/faradic treatments
  • Nail treatments including manicure and pedicure
  • Light treatments such as sunbeds, lasers, intense pulse light treatments
  • Sauna, steam, spa–pools or other baths

If your treatment is not listed it may still be licensable. More detailed information on licensable special treatments can be found in our guidance A-Z of treatments.

Premises licences

A special treatment licence is granted in respect of a specific location and authorises the licence holder to provide specified treatments. A licence:

  • is valid for one year, unless revoked
  • an application must be made annually to renew the licence before the date of expiry of the existing licence, otherwise a new application will need to be submitted
  • a licence may be varied
  • a licence may be transferred to a new licence holder but not to a new premises
  • an application for a new licence, the renewal of a licence, the transfer or variation of a licence must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

You do not need a licence if you only carry out treatments in a client's own home provided the treatments are given only to the client.

Exemptions under the Act

The law allows certain exemptions from the need for a licence. These are:

  • any premises which are not used for gain or reward.
  • any premises where the special treatment is carried out by or under the supervision of:

i) a medical practitioner registered by the General Medical Council, or
ii) any bona fide member of a body of health practitioners approved by the Council,
iii) in the case of acupuncture, a dentist registered under the Dentists Act 1984,
iv) in the case of osteopathy, a person registered as a fully registered osteopath or a conditionally registered osteopath under the Osteopaths Act 1993,
v) in the case of chiropractic, a person registered as a fully registered chiropractor or a conditionally registered chiropractor under the Chiropractors Act 1994,

  • any premises used by a person who is registered under the Health Professions Order 2001 solely for the practice of the profession in respect of which he is so registered and of the conduct by him of any business ancillary to such practice and no other purpose.
  • any public hospital.
  • any nursing home.
  • any premises where the only special treatment carried out is of a class which from time to time is by resolution of the borough council excluded from the definition of a special treatment.

The legislation does not list bodies of health practitioners. Each body needs to apply to the borough where they want their members to be exempted.

In order to make this process easier, most London Boroughs agree a list of exempted bodies via the London Special Treatment Group. Wandsworth Council has adopted this list. If your body does not appear on the list, or you are offering treatments not covered by the body, then you will need to be licensed.

Therapist registration

Until 1 August 2015, all therapists who provided licensed treatments in licensed special treatment establishments in the borough needed to hold registration badges issued by us.

The therapist registration scheme ended on the 1 August 2015.

Objecting to a licence or raising concerns about a special treatment establishment

Residents, businesses and legal authorities (including the police, fire brigade and licensing officers) are able to object to a new application or the renewal, transfer or variation of a licence. We will also investigate complaints relating to licensed and unlicensed premises in accordance with our complaints procedure.