Reference guide for care providers and care sector professionals.

Overview of the CQC registration process:

Who needs to register with the CQC (Care Quality Commission)?

The Care Quality Commission, also known as the CQC, is the regulator and monitor for social service healthcare and social care organisations in England, to ensure all care service providers meet expected standards.

The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety, and it publishes its findings, including performance ratings, to help people choose care. We have a memorandum of understanding and joint operating protocol with the CQC.

As a specialist in the UK care sector insurance and risk management, Gallagher is well positioned to support the CQC registration process and provide guidance on the compliance requirements.

This guide answers a range of frequently asked questions:

What is the CQC?

Established under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care services in England. The Care Quality Commission was established with enhanced powers to regulate primary care services including hospitals, GP practices, Dental practices, and Care Homes, thus becoming one of the most powerful regulatory bodies in the UK. Through its rigorous assessments and rating system, the CQC conducts inspections and evaluations to ensure compliance within the healthcare sector.


What is a regulated activity?

Section 8(1) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 describes a regulated activity as “an activity involving, or connected with, the provision of health or social care”. These activities are specified for the purposes of the Act. If a care provider carries any of the regulated activities specified in Schedule 1 of the Act in England, they must register with the CQC unless an exception or exemption applies. The CQC provides a useful guide on their website listing the 14 regulated activities.

Who is a care service provider?

Commonly referred as ‘provider’, a care service provider is an individual, partnership, organisation, or a legal entity that has registered with the CQC to run care services in England.

Who needs to register with CQC?

Any person or company who provides a ‘regulated activity’ in England must register with the CQC1, whether they are an individual, organisation or a partnership. It is crucial to understand what regulated activity will be conducted and who will be responsible for it before deciding a CQC registration.

Regulated activities include personal care, such as helping with daily duties, medical treatments, maternity and midwifery services, nursing care, and the provision of accommodations for people needing nursing or personal care.

In terms of businesses, domiciliary care organisations which offer personal care in people's homes, GP practices that provide medical services and treatments, and care homes including residential and nursing should register with the CQC. Other businesses include dental offices, hospitals, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment.

Why do I need to be CQC registered?

CQC registration is a legal requirement under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. Any service provider who is in day-to-day charge of delivering a regulated activity must be registered with the CQC. Some providers' registrations also include having a registered manager who needs to adhere to all other regulations and laws that are pertinent to the CQC.

Registering with the CQC is a mandatory requirement because all healthcare and adult social care regulations are controlled by the only independent regulator of care services, i.e. the CQC. Through their registration process, the CQC ensures that only those people and organisations who are judged to be ‘fit’ and are likely to provide and manage good quality care meeting the needs of the patients, are authorised to be a care service provider in England.

When and where to apply for CQC registration?

When a legal entity is starting a new service, for example, a new care home, hospital, dental surgery, GP practice or a home care agency, they must apply for a CQC registration. Moreover, providers also need to register if there is a change in the existing services of the legal entity.

To register with the CQC, an application needs to be made online using either the Provider Portal or sending the completed application along with supporting documents to their official email address2.

How to register with CQC?


What is a DBS check?

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. A DBS check allows employers to access the criminal record history of people working, or seeking to work with vulnerable groups. This is a vital disclosure to be provided in a CQC registration that should be countersigned by CQC.

Before an application is made, it is important for the care service provider to be in possession of:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks countersigned by CQC
  • Statement of Purpose
  • All supporting documents requested, that can include:
  • List of risk assessments and emergency plan
  • Financial viability statements
  • Medicines management policy and procedures
  • Organisational and staffing structure
  • Quality assurance policy
  • Recruitment policy
  • Safeguarding policy and procedures.

The CQC registration process3 for a new provider includes the following steps:

  1. An application is made to the CQC through their online portal. Providers will be asked to lay out details about the applicant, the regulated activities applied for, and the places these services will be provided from.
  2. As part of criminal records check, providers need to supply the DBS check and supporting documents specifying the type of service that is planned to provide.
  3. Providing specific supporting documents with the application is the next step. This depends on the type of service and application.
  4. Preparing a statement of purpose that describes what the care provider does, where they do it and who they do it for.
  5. References, giving details of the proposed provider’s employment history, GP contact details, last employer’s contact details and medical fitness declaration. Additionally, an assurance of the financial position of the provider must be provided by a financial specialist.
  6. Lastly, the provider must register the type of service they intend to provide post which the CQC will assess the applicant if satisfied about their fitness and compliance and will grant registration.

How long does it take to register with the CQC?

How long it takes the CQC to assess and determine an application will depend on a range of factors, but most importantly on:

  • How well prepared and ready the provider is.
  • The care provider’s availability or otherwise the availability of their nominated individual and manager (if any) to attend interviews and to facilitate a site visit; and
  • How quickly the provider responds to requests from the registration inspector for further information to support the application.

Compiling the application paperwork and preparing supporting documentation generally takes up to eight hours to complete and a care provider’s preparation work may take several weeks. However, when a care provider is well prepared, and the service and premises are ready to function without any anticipated delays, CQC will generally send its decision ten weeks after the application is validated.

What are the benefits of being registered with the CQC?

The benefits associated with a CQC registration include:

  • Meeting legal requirements
    Providing assurance to patients of meeting required quality and safety standards. Failure to comply may result in facing fines and possible closure.
  • Quality improvement
    Registered healthcare providers fosters continuous quality improvement which includes patient’s improved health, reduced risk of harm and increased satisfaction.
  • Building trust and reputation
    A commitment to effective care helps in building trust with patients and families, bolstering the provider's community reputation of attracting & retaining patients.
  • Identifying areas for improvement
    Valuable feedback and CQC inspection reports help providers to identify areas of improvement with respect to meeting regulatory standards.
  • Access to funding and contracts
    CQC registration benefits providers with funding and contracts security from both public and private sectors, showcasing trustworthiness and reliability as a partner.

The Care Certificate helps new members of this workforce to develop and demonstrate key skills, knowledge, values and behaviours. This enables them to provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care.

In summary: managing risks within the healthcare and social care sector

Risk management within the healthcare and social care sector is of paramount importance to safeguard the organisation's financial stability and reputation. The CQC and other relevant regulatory authorities mandate that you have proper insurance in place to shield you from the numerous dangers that you encounter as a healthcare practitioner.

Gallagher has over 25 years’ experience in providing insurance for care home businesses and we ensure adequate insurance coverage tailored to the specific needs of the healthcare or social care facility. Together, we can create an insurance programme that is appropriate for the services you offer, including coverage for particular liabilities like medical malpractice, treatment risk, and potential abuse claims. Speak to a member of our team or find out more about our care home insurance.

For more information on the CQC application process or to speak with a member of the Gallagher Care Team, call us on 0800 062 2325 or complete the form provided on this page and we will be in touch.


1. What is registration? Care Quality Commission

2. Scope of registration: Who has to register? Care Quality Commission

3. Register as a new provider, Care Quality Commission, updated 27 Jan, 2023.
Adult social care monthly statistics, England: July 2023 Department of Health and Social Care, UK


The sole purpose of this guide is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.