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02nd February 2018

Pathway to CQC Registration – Part 1: A Brief Guide from Before the Application to when it Reaches a Registration Inspector

If you are thinking about trying to Register your service with the CQC it can seem to be a complex and daunting process but to help soothe those nerves, and give you some insight into the process, I thought I would use my knowledge to explain the pathway to registration, and some of the common slip-ups that people make on the journey to opening their business.



Before you start your application, be sure that your service can show it is ready to open. The CQC takes an average of 10 weeks to assess an application, but there is a lot to do first …make sure you are ready for them to view your service, talk to you and ensure you are able to explain your service and your responsibilities to the CQC including showing:

  • How, as a provider, you meet the regulations
  • What type of legal entity you are – you will be asked this early on in your application
  • Policies and procedures are in place
  • You know what regulated activities you are providing (these are the things you do within the service that CQC regulate) and to whom
  • The Manager and Nominated Individual, if one is required, meets what is legally required of them. They should know about their responsibilities in relation to being registered with the CQC
  • Insurances and legal documents are ready
  • Your building is finished – or will be at the point the inspector will visit, and fit for the purpose that it will be used for
  • Directors, if you have them, should be fit and proper to carry out the role
  • Before you can proceed with submitting an application, you will need a countersigned DBS from the CQC if you are registering as an individual, or you are applying as a Registered Manager or Partner. In fact, you cannot make it past the first page of the application without it!

Top Tips

Make sure you have budgeted for the DBS if you need one, it costs a total of £61.50 including a fee to the Post Office's CQC Disclosure website

  • Remember the DBS needs to be a countersigned CQC DBS less than a year old
  • It can take up to 6 weeks to get your DBS – make sure you add this in to your planning time
  • Don’t underestimate new builds and what needs to happen to get the building signed off. Be realistic about your timescales as the CQC won't know if it is in a ready state for them to visit, holding up the process for you and them
  • Make sure you read the information CQC provides in ‘Guidance for Providers’ as it will help you understand what you should be doing


Online Application

The application form should be completed through the CQC Online System (OLS) which you must register for. The CQC will send you an email with your username and password within 5/10 minutes for you to start inputting onto an application form.

Application Steps

Each ‘step’ requires certain information, and you cannot progress past the step until you have completed the information on the page.

DON’T PANIC – It has a nifty button at the top where you can delete the application and start again if, for any reason, you need to. Nothing will be submitted until you press to submit.

Top Tips

  • Do not forget to save through each section. I found my eye was drawn to the continue button at the bottom to press, make sure you press ‘save section’
  • You do not have to input all in one go – after saving, you can come back to it whenever you would like
  • Don’t worry if you think you have left a field empty, the system will not let you proceed with blank fields, but will let you know what section and highlight in red where you have not completed
  • The system will also pick up certain fields if they do not make sense, such as a phone number with a digit missing
  • The system will not be able to recognise if your narrative is not correct or the incorrect document has been uploaded – make sure you take care to check your inputted text and selected documents

Uploading Documents

There are certain documents that the CQC will ask you for when you are completing your application. These are:

  1. Statement of purpose
  2. Management policy/procedures document
  3. Safeguarding policy and procedures document
  4. Planning permission document (optional)
  5. Building regulation document (optional)
  6. Registered manager supporting evidence
  7. Governance document

There is information as to what these should contain here Each document should be no more than 1 MB and only one document per document asked for. The system can accept:

  • pdf (Adobe Acrobat)
  • doc (Microsoft Word 2003 or older)
  • docx (Microsoft Word 2007 or newer)

Associated Applications

Applications need all of the associated applications to be submitted at the same time.  This means once you press ‘submit’ for your provider application, the CQC's OLS stores your application and sends an invitation to the applying registered manager and or partners you have named, asking them to log in to the system and complete their applications.

  • Only once all applications have been completed will they be submitted together to the CQC
  • If you are an individual you may not have associated applications if you are managing the regulated activity(s) yourself. In this case, when you press submit, your application will be sent to the CQC

 Top Tips

  • When you submit, if an error message shows, give the CQC a call. You don’t want to ring up weeks later and find out they didn’t receive your application!
  • CQC's form finder can help you understand what applications you need to submit

That’s a lot of information!  Time for a break and we will look at what happens after you submit your application in Part 2 in the next edition.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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