Last reviewed 3 November 2020
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 all primary care medical service providers that carry out “regulated” activities must be registered with Care Quality Commission (CQC). Martin Hodgson describes exactly what new providers must do.
The registration process
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 were introduced in 2015 to underpin a new framework of inspection and regulation for health and social care services in England. The framework requires all providers of services covered under the law to register with the appropriate regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The registration process involves completing the relevant registration forms available on the CQC website and submitting them along with the required supporting documents. These include appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks countersigned by CQC and a completed statement of purpose.
Preparing for registration
The CQC website states that prospective new providers should spend some time preparing their registration application.
According to the CQC applicants must:
be clear about the application they are making
have all the required information ready
understand the requirements of the relevant legislation
be able to explain and show how they will comply with and follow the regulations.
In particular, the CQC state that applicants must decide which regulated activities they are going to provide and read and understand all of the relevant provider guidance. They should also make sure that their business premises are ready for use and fit for purpose.
CQC guidance includes the following.
Guidance for Providers on Meeting the Regulations contains details of the legal requirements.
The Scope of Registration contains detailed descriptions of each regulated activity.
Those who are unsure about which type of service to register for should contact the National Customer Service Centre on 03000 61 61 61 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Countersigned DBS checks
CQC warn that getting a countersigned DBS check can take up to eight weeks. They therefore recommend that organising the check for a new registration is completed early.
A CQC-countersigned DBS number is required for:
individuals applying for registration to carry on or manage a care service
all partners involved in a partnership making an application
To obtain a check:
register with the CQC DBS website
login and fill out the DBS form
have an identity check at a post office that accepts CQC DBS applications.
Once the identity check is completed the website automatically submits the application and the countersigned document will be sent in the post.
Temporary changes were introduced this year in response to disruption caused by coronavirus. Changes designed to fast-track standard checks do not apply to those countersigned by CQC. However, a temporary change enabling ID documents to be viewed over video link is designed to address the difficulty some people have had in accessing face-to-face ID checks.
The statement of purpose
Every application for registration must legally be accompanied by a statement of purpose.
The statement must include the following standard set of information about a provider’s service.
Information about the business.
Name of the business.
Type of business (legal status), for example sole trader, partnership or organisation.
The business address, telephone number and email address (including address for serving notices or other documents).
Names of any partners.
Aims and objectives of the business in providing regulated activities at the locations in which it operates.
Places (locations) where services are provided.
Details about each registered manager in place.
Statements of Purpose of Purpose — Guidance for Providers, was published by CQC in August 2018 to help applicants and registered providers prepare their statement and keep it up to date. A template can be found on the CQC webpage, Write your Statement of Purpose.
CQC state they will reject an application if the statement of purpose does not include all the required information.
Individual providers need to supply details of their employment history, their GP name and contact details, their last employer name and contact details, and a declaration of medical fitness.
Partnerships need to supply the same information for all partners.
Completing the application process
Applicants for a new registration must submit the appropriate form.
Guidance is provided by the CQC in their December 2017 publication, How to Fill in the Application Form for Registration as a New Provider of Regulated Activities — For Applications by all Providers.
The starting point for most new applications will be the CQC web page, Type of Service You Plan to Provide.
Applicants should follow the appropriate route which will direct them to the completion and submission of the correct form.
For a new primary care medical service, the key choice will be between:
registering as a new provider with a continuing registered manager
registering with CQC with new registered managers.
The first option should apply when taking over locations from an existing registered provider where some or all of the registered managers wish to continue managing the same type of service and the same regulated activities at the same locations. In such cases the managers concerned will have to deregister from their old provider and register with the new provider.
The second option should apply where all the registered managers who are part of an application are applying for new registrations. In such cases, when an application is made, the CQC will automatically send an email to any managers named in the application. The email will contain the web address and password they will need to complete their registered manager applications online. Once completed their registered managers’ applications will be automatically included with the main application.
All application forms must have the Data Protection Act statement and application declaration signed and dated.
CQC staff are working from home while measures to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus are in effect. The CQC are therefore currently asking applicants to use online application processes only and not to send forms by post. Sending by post will result in a delay.
Applicants must ensure that they comply with all relevant legislation, including the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. CQC inspectors will assess all applications and come to a judgement about an applicant’s suitability. They will look for compliance with the regulations and in the case of primary care medical service, inspectors will use the appropriate healthcare assessment framework.
In most cases, inspectors will make a site visit. Inspectors will also usually carry out interviews before registering any person as a registered manager, individual or partner. This may be face-to-face or by phone.
Providers applying for registration will be informed of the judgement outcome in a Notice of Decision. How long it takes to come to a decision will vary according to circumstances. Inspectors may take longer if they have had to request additional information, for instance.
Further details and up-to-date information on the registration process is available on the CQC website at www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/registration/register-new-provider.