The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is England’s independent health and adult social care regulator and it makes sure businesses that provide care uphold the necessary standards. Most businesses that operate in the healthcare sector must be registered with it. Bodies such as hospitals, dental surgeries, GP practices, care homes and home care agencies all need to seek approval from the CQC before they start operating. Businesses also need to re-register if legal changes affect the way they are run.
Businesses in the care sector must be able to demonstrate that they are prepared to abide by the legislation already in place and fit the CQC’s assessment criteria. The CQC prioritises five key features of a care entity, ensuring that they are safe; effective; well-led; caring; and responsive to people’s needs. If a business doesn’t meet the standards necessary to be considered as all of the above, its registration application will be rejected.
What does the registration process involve?
The CQC states that when you make your application, you must:
- Understand your application inside out
- Have all the necessary information ready
- Understand the requirements of the legislation
- Be able to explain and demonstrate how you will follow the regulations
The registration process involves interviews and site visits by CQC inspectors. As a result, you must be ready to answer questions on the spot. You’ll also need to put forward a proposed ‘registered manager’, who will be legally responsible for regulating the business and ensuring it adheres to the required quality and safety standards.
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How long does it take?
The whole process can take months to complete, so if you’re starting a business in the care sector, you should get cracking on your CQC registration as early as possible. The initial step of completing the registration form should take at least two hours, but could take up to eight. After you’ve done this, you should start preparing for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. It can take up to eight weeks to collect the necessary information and be checked, so you should prioritise this step.
You will also need to write a statement of purpose, which could take several days, and get your business premises ready for the inspection. Once these are done, the CQC will want confirmation that you are financially able to grow your business, so it will seek out references from reliable sources.
All of these processes can delay the launch of your business – or stop it in its tracks – so it is vital that you approach the CQC in plenty of time. The regulatory body states that applications from home care agencies are the most likely to be delayed or rejected, so if you aim to open this type of business, you should take extra care with your application and ensure you take all of the necessary measures to ensure your clients will be safe and happy.
As we’ve mentioned, this is one of the processes that takes a long time to complete. It is a vital part of the registration, as it makes sure that your clients will be seen and looked after by qualified, safe individuals with a clean track record. Even if you or your employees already have a DBS number from a previous job, you’ll need to create a new one that is countersigned by the CQC.
In a healthcare business, the people that need to be DBS checked by the CQC are:
- Those who will be carrying out a care service
- All partners
- Registered managers
Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose also represents an important part of your application. This should describe your business and list any relevant information associated with it. This includes what services the company will offer, where they will be offered and who they will be aimed at. You should explain in detail your own goals for the company, and list your contact details and your business’ legal entity.
The CQC must be confident that you have the ability to successfully finance your business in the years to come, so that you can provide the healthcare services you described in your statement of purpose at the highest possible standard.
Firstly, for the CQC to carry out the necessary checks, you’ll need to provide it with information regarding your previous employment, including your last employer’s name and contact details. Also, you’ll need to present a declaration of your medical fitness and the name and contact details of your GP. If you are launching your business alongside a partner or partners, the same information should be sent for each individual.
Secondly, you need to provide a statement letter from a finance professional to corroborate your credentials. This cannot be a friend or relative, but should be an accountant or accountancy company that is registered with a recognised accountancy supervisory or qualifying body. Alternatively, you could contact a bank or financial services firm that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
You should try to make sure that your representative includes all the necessary information in the statement, as your application could be delayed if sections are missing. To reduce the chances of this happening, you could encourage them to use the template provided on the CQC website. When it has been completed, send the letter to the CQC by email.
Bear in mind that you do not need to submit a statement letter if you are opening an NHS GP practice, NHS dental surgery or NHS 111 out of hours and urgent care service. It is also not required from a non-NHS organisation that operates under NHS contracts and an adult social care business currently in the Market Oversight Scheme.
Thirdly, if the CQC needs more details, they may ask for a business plan to get a better sense of the company’s financial forecasts. Alternatively, the regulatory body may contact third parties such as investors and shareholders to act as guarantors, just in case you are unable to fully finance the business.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©