How to ensure non-NHS health care organisations are prepared for CQC registration

Registering with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is compulsory for all providers of health and social care in England, not just those as part of the NHS, and it is against the law not to do so. The provider can be an individual, a partnership or an organisation and knowing which of these legal entities applies is important. The CQC’s aims are to set standards, ensuring that they are met and, where possible, improved upon. With a growing number of non-health care organisations, these standards exist in order to protect users and improve their experiences of health and social care.

Providers should be prepared to register by understanding what is involved in the application process, what information should be given and how much it costs. Here are a few pointers to give providers an idea of how to get ready for registration.

Getting the right checks
Applying for a CQC-countersigned DBS check is the first absolute must when it comes to preparing. This covers individuals who carry on or manage a care service, all partners, and registered managers. To avoid common mistakes that will hinder registration, visit the CQC website.

Stating the purpose
Providers should be in a position to describe what they do, where they do it and who they do it for so that they can write this in their statement of purpose. This statement also includes some of the details listed below.

Understanding ‘regulated activities’
Organisations need to be aware of the 14 health care services that are regulated by the CQC and then consider which of these ‘regulated activities’ they will continue with.

Having a registered manager
Alongside this, at least one registered manager must be in place to manage the regulated activities. This person must work routinely in the activities and have some legal responsibility in relation to their position. The new registered manager should apply at the same time as the new provider.

Who can be contacted
It is important that the organisation has a nominated individual who can be contacted about the regulated activities and has some supervision responsibilities for these. It is advised that this person is not the registered manager if it can be avoided.

Where the activities take place
A regulated activity might be carried out as one service but at many locations. In this case, the locations must be clearly stated as this is a declaration about compliance with the relevant activity standards at each location.

Supporting the application
Providers need to know how to get hold of policies that can support their application, such as those on Management, Safeguarding and Governance. There will also need to be some evidence of the registered manager’s position.

Providing references
Individual providers need to supply details of employment history and medical fitness, whilst
partnerships need to supply the same information for all partners. However, organisations do not need to supply this information for their nominated individual.

Covering the fees
Applicants need to be aware of the fees involved as this will need to be paid on the same date each year. The fee amount depends on the type of provider and how many people benefit from the service.

Applications for registration are made online via the CQC website, where there are also a number of guidance documents to help with registration.

Registering with the CQC may seem like a lengthy and cumbersome procedure. However, it is worth bearing in mind that they are looking for ‘fitness’ and compliance with the relevant regulations, and if applicants are found to be non-compliant they will have their application refused. There are many conditions that the CQC needs to consider so it is worth taking the time to prepare and get registration right first time.