Passing of cosmetics amendment to Health and Care Bill is momentous, says CIEH

08 March 2022, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has declared the passing of an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, as momentous. The amendment gives the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to bring into force a national licensing scheme for aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic procedures in England.

Last week, CIEH strongly welcomed the UK Government’s decision to support its flagship campaign to make the cosmetics industry in England safer. Having vocally campaigned for better regulation and a licensing scheme for practitioners to be introduced, CIEH was delighted that the UK Government chose to support this course of action by tabling their own amendment to the Health and Care Bill. Voting on the amendment took place last night in the House of Lords during the Bill’s Report Stage. 

Research carried out in 2020 by CIEH and the Institute of Licensing (IoL) found that current legislation is not able to guarantee consumer safety when undertaking a cosmetic treatment on the high street or in their home. A survey of regulators found overwhelming support for the introduction of a licensing scheme, with 90% of the respondents agreeing that this could improve the regulatory system and protect the public from harm.

Since these reports, CIEH has been working in coalition with the IoL, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), the UK Public Health Network (UKPHN), the Faculty of Public Health (FPH), Save Face, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), Mental Health Foundation, Tattooing and Piercing Industry Union as well as a group of ten industry organisations – the Beauty Industry Group - in calling for better regulation of all cosmetic treatments.

These treatments include common beauty treatments offered on the high street which can cause serious harm to clients if not carried out correctly and in a safe environment. Critically, there is currently no consistent system of regulation in England and no nationally-set training and qualification requirements for practitioners offering these treatments.

Working with public health partners, CIEH drafted and supported a key amendment to the Health and Care Bill, aimed at making the cosmetics industry safer in England, and worked closely with peers from across the political spectrum to ensure it received cross-party support in the House of Lords.

The amendment enabled the Secretary of State for Health to introduce a licensing scheme for all non-surgical cosmetic procedures and was sponsored by:

  • Baroness Merron (Labour)
  • Lord Lansley (Conservative)
  • Baroness Brinton (Liberal Democrat)
  • Baroness Finlay (Crossbench)

The amendment mirrored the one also drafted by the Chartered institute of Environmental Health and tabled by Caroline Nokes MP in the House of Commons, which went on to be signed by 20 MPs from political parties across the House.

Last week, the Government indicated that it would table its own amendment to the Health and Care Bill taking forward the details from the CIEH-sponsored amendment.

Julie Barratt, CIEH President, said:

“This is a campaign that CIEH has been at the forefront of, and we are very pleased that it has achieved success.

Introducing safeguards and better regulation to the cosmetics industry in England has been a key goal for CIEH, and we are delighted that the Government’s amendment has now been voted through.

We strongly welcome the positive engagement we have had with the Government on this issue and look forward to working closely with them, and our public health partners, to build the new licensing scheme.”

Caroline Larissey, Director of Quality and Standards at the National Hair and Beauty Federation, said:

“The NHBF is delighted that the Government has tabled its own amendment on cosmetic procedures to the Health and Care Bill. We were pleased to work in a coalition of 20 organisations from health, beauty, aesthetics and wellbeing (including the Beauty Industry Group) who tabled a previous amendment to the Bill for the licensing of aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

There are a number of points of detail in the draft amendment that we are working through with government officials, but we look forward to engaging in the consultation process and continuing to work together to seek solutions that raise standards and protect the safety and wellbeing of clients”.

Dawn Knight, Patient representative and lay board member of the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners, said:

“This is a much needed long awaited announcement that will truly begin to protect the public and put patient safety first. Thank you to everyone for uniting behind this ground-breaking call for positive, robust and future proof change.” 

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