Special treatment establishment licences

Apply for a new premises licence

Details of the activities that require a licence and information on bodies of health practitioners can be found by following the links on the right hand side of the screen.

Make an application 

An application for a special treatment establishment licence can be made in one of two ways:

Online

  • Complete the form online (GOV.UK)
  • Save a copy of the completed form for your own records
  • Make the payment using a debit or credit card

Paper

You should note that the application process will not start until the fee is received.

Who should apply for the licence?

The person or body to whom the licence is issued has the overall responsibility for ensuring that:

  • premises providing special treatments are safe and meet the standards of hygiene and cleanliness expected
  • the therapists working in the establishment are qualified and competent
  • adequate procedures are in place to ensure that clients are able to give informed consent to treatments and are
  • where appropriate, age related prohibitions are adhered to.


The licence holder:

  • must ensure that all requirements of condition are met.
  • may appoint a manager to have the day to day control of the premises.


However, in the case of any breach of conditions, it is the licence holder who would be liable for prosecution.

The applicant for the licence must be the person, company or organisation who is in lawful control of the establishment where the treatments are to be given.

This must be by way of holding the freehold, a lease or agreement to lease, a tenancy, or written agreement giving a substantial right of occupancy.

The following examples will help you to decide who should apply.

  • If you run the business yourself, and control all aspects of it (e.g. you control the therapists and take payment from clients), then you must apply for the licence.  If it is a limited company or other incorporated body, you must apply in the name of that organisation.
  • If you are using an area within another business premises (e.g. a room/area in a hair or beauty salon) but you operate as a separate business (i.e. you control the therapists and take direct payment from the client and only pay the premises owner some form of rent), then you must apply for the licence.
  • Where a premise is operating as a clinic, spa or other centre for Special Treatments you need to consider who is in overall control of the treatments being offered. It may be that more than licence will be required.
  • If several therapists rent different rooms in a single premises, but have no connection with each other (e.g. they all trade under separate names and/or have no common reception area), and no one person can be said to be in charge of the whole premises, then each must apply for a separate licence.
  • Where a number of therapists use rooms in a single premises which is being run as a centre, a clinic or other such common title, (e.g. share a receptionist, produce a common pricing list, advertising is arranged under one name) then the person in control of the premises should apply for one licence covering all therapies.

Before applying for a licence

A special treatment licence will not be granted if the premises do not have the planning permission needed, as determined by the Planning Service.

All applications for special treatment licences are notified to the Planning Service for comment.

If they respond that permission is needed, then your application for a licence will be on hold until such time as planning permission is granted or refused.

If you have to apply for planning permission, and are then refused, your licence application will also be refused, and the full fee for the licence may not be refunded.

If you do not know whether you have the right planning permissions, you are strongly recommended to check the planning status of the premises before you make any licence application. View our planning pages.

What you need to apply for a new premises licence

When you apply for a premises licence you must provide the following with your completed application form:

Plans of the premises

This may be drawn by hand but must be to scale and must be accurate, clear and legible. It must show:

  • The boundary of the building, including any external and internal walls
  • All entry and exit points
  • Location of the areas where the special treatment(s) are to be provided
  • Location of all toilets
  • Location of all washing facilities

An application will not be accepted if a plan is not included.

If you are carrying out construction or alterations to the premises, the application form asks you to state the date that you realistically expect to be open for business. 

A special treatment licence will not be issued until our licensing officer has inspected the finished premises and is satisfied that it is safe to licence.

Although plans can be agreed in principle, a licence will not be issued until all building work is finished and inspected and a final plan has been submitted. 

Fee

You must include the correct fee with your application.

The fee is based upon the level of risk from the treatments, and is calculated on a cost-recovery basis. The fee is calculated on the highest risk treatment that is to be given, e.g. even if only one treatment out of many is group A*, then the fee will be for group A*. 

The number of treatment groups to be licensed makes no difference to the licence fee.

Licensable treatments are grouped into seven categories and these will be specified on your licence when issued, rather than the specific treatments that you wish to carry out. The groups are:

High risk fee group

Category Description
A* Tattooing, including micropigmentation, cosmetic piercing (except ear piercing - lobe only), laser/intense pulse light treatments.

Medium risk fee group

Category Description
A Other treatments involving the breaking of skin (e.g. acupuncture, red vein treatment, wart or skin tag removal by electrolysis)
B Massage treatments (including aromatherapy, reflexology)
C Beauty treatments (including hair removal by electrolysis, galvanic/faradic treatments)
D Nail treatments (e.g. manicure/pedicure, nail art)
E Sauna, steam, spa–pools, sun beds

Low risk fee group

Category Description
F Ear piercing (lobe only)

When completing the application form you are asked to list the treatments you intend to carry out by placing them in the correct category.

If you are unsure, the treatments can be listed in the final box 'unsure' and we will establish whether they require a licence, the correct category that they fall under and we will check that the correct fee has been paid.

Other documents that you will need to provide as part of the application process.

You will need to ensure that you have the following documents available for inspection by our licensing officer prior to the licence being issued. They do not need to be supplied with the application.

Insurance

You will need to provide proof of public liability insurance for the treatments that you intend to provide to the sum of at least £2 million.

The insurance must include, and name, all the treatments that are provided at the premises and must cover all treatments given by all therapists.

Some general public indemnity insurances do not actually cover all treatments that you might give, e.g. treatments such as red vein removal often requires an extra premium due to the higher risk.

A licence will not be issued until the insurance is in order.  

Electrical safety certificates

You must ensure that you have a current electrical safety certificate for the installation at the premises (fuse-box, wiring, lighting etc.). This is often called a Periodic Inspection Report for an Electrical Installation.

If the installation is new, then you will need to ensure that you have been provided with an installation certificate. A new certificate must be obtained at five yearly intervals and be available on site for inspection.

Only certificates provided by properly registered (and competent) electrical engineers will be accepted. Examples of acceptable registration bodies or electricians include:

  • IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers)
  • NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting)
  • ELECSA, and
  • NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors or Testers).

You will also need an electrical safety certificate for all portable/moveable appliances (wax pots, electrolysis/faradic machines, kettles etc), unless they are new.

These are called Portable Appliance Tests (PAT), and these must be obtained on a yearly basis and be available on site for inspection.

Gas safety certificate

You must ensure that you have a current gas safety certificate for the installations and appliances in use at the premises. The certificate must be provided by a Gas Safe registered engineer capable of working in business premises.

Notifying other authorities

We will send a copy of your application form to the Metropolitan Police, the Fire Authority and to our Planning Service.

What happens next?

We will check that the application is correctly completed and that the correct fee has been paid and will arrange to visit the premises when all refurbishment work is completed.

If there is a problem

If there is a problem with the application, we may contact you for further information or return the application (or part of it) for your attention. Until these problems are solved your application is not valid and will not be processed.

How long does it take to decide on an application?

There is a legal 28 day consultation period during which objections can be made. See making representations for more information. 

If we receive no objections within the 28 days and provided that the premises has received a final satisfactory inspection by our licensing officer, we will grant your application as applied for, subject to our standard conditions and any additional conditions specific to the application.

What happens if objections are received?

Where we receive relevant objections, we will hold a hearing of our Regulatory Licensing Committee to decide on the application. We will tell you about the arrangements for the hearing.

The decision

After the Regulatory Licensing Committee has heard all parties it will make its decision. It may:
  • Grant the licence as applied for
  • Grant the licence but modify the conditions of the licence
  • Reject the whole or part of the application
This decision is usually made at the time of the hearing. This will be confirmed in writing with the reasons for the decision along with information on what you need to do if you want to appeal.

Appeals

You can appeal to the local magistrates' court if you are dissatisfied with the decision. See Appeal against a licensing decision for more information.