The popularity of body piercing and tattooing has increased greatly over the past
10-20 years, with the migration of these and some of the more extreme body modification
processes (previously confined to subcultures and certain groups within society)
into the wider population. Body modifications such as scarification, branding and
beading, amongst others, are now being seen in different groups of society.
Concerns are often raised over the public health risks associated with these procedures.
In an attempt to reduce these risks, the legislation covering these practices has
been subject to review over the past few years. However, available legislation varies
greatly depending on the procedure involved.
The Civic Government
(Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing) Order 2006
came into force in Scotland on 1 April 2006 and gives Local Authorities the power
to license individuals who carry out skin piercing or tattooing activities as a
business. The Order lays out a number of requirements in relation to key issues
aimed at reducing, if not removing, risks to public health from these practices.
HPS provide advice to stakeholders on potential risks associated with individual
practices. Additionally, a working group chaired by the Royal Environmental Public Health
Institute for Scotland (REHIS) has produced an Implementation Guide to assist Local
Authorities in implementing the Order, and provides information on best practice
as well as specific requirements of the Order.
This document is intended to complement the Order and should be used by officers
in conjunction with both the Order itself and the National Licence Conditions produced
by the Scottish Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing Working Group. Where recommendations
exist within these documents that are not laid out in the Order itself, decisions
may be made at a local level on the adequacy of compliance by a practitioner. However,
best practice should always be recommended. Additional sources of information covering
some aspects of the Order, which are complementary to these documents, are also
referred to within this guide.