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Applying as a new provider to CQC? Read this first to avoid common mistakes

As a consultant one of my main lines of business is Clients wishing to set up their own Care Services. With a rigorous application process, applying to CQC as a new provider can be a daunting experience for many.

When it comes to providing healthcare services, the role of regulatory bodies cannot be overstated. In the United Kingdom, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for ensuring that healthcare providers meet the required standards of quality and safety. However, for new providers looking to enter the healthcare industry, gaining approval from the CQC can be a challenging task. In this blog post, we will explore the most common reasons why new providers are rejected by the Care Quality Commission.

Too Many Service User Bands

When applying to be a new provider it can be tempting to try and provide care for as many people as possible, this may seem a good financial approach but you must be very wary of how many service user bands you are aiming for. Each service user band comes with its own complexities and part of your interview process will be to ensure you have the skills, knowledge and resources to be able to provide good quality care for these people. Now we all know that providing support to a young adult with ASD would look very different to providing care to an elderly frail person who needs assistance with their mobility. So what CQC really need to see is how can you differentiate your care, training and systems for such a large range of individuals. It can be done of course but it is a highly ambitious and complex thing to set out to achieve when you first start up. Service user bands can be amended and added to once you are up and running so consider being selective about who you can serve best when you are preparing for applying as a new provider.

Lack of Effective Governance and Leadership

Another significant reason for rejection by the CQC is the absence of effective governance and leadership within the organization. The CQC places great emphasis on the management and leadership structures of healthcare providers to ensure that they have clear accountability and oversight. New providers may face rejection if they fail to demonstrate strong leadership, effective governance structures, and a culture of continuous improvement.

To overcome this hurdle, new providers should establish clear lines of accountability, implement robust governance frameworks, and foster a culture of openness and transparency. They should also develop strategies for monitoring and evaluating the quality of care and actively seek feedback from patients and staff.

Often in small start ups the Provider, The RM and the NI are often the same person. If this is the case you will need to be able to clearly demonstrate in your application how you will manage all these roles and where your external feedback and monitoring will come from. Many smaller companies choose to use a reputable consultant to carry our various external monitoring visits. If you are in a position of holding all 3 roles, it is wise to address this issue head on and explain what external support you will be receiving.

Inadequate Safeguarding Measures

Safeguarding vulnerable individuals is a top priority for the CQC. Healthcare providers must demonstrate that they have comprehensive safeguarding policies and procedures in place to protect their clients from harm. Failing to provide evidence of robust safeguarding measures is a common reason for rejection.

New providers should prioritize the development and implementation of comprehensive safeguarding policies and procedures. They should establish clear protocols for identifying and responding to potential cases of abuse or neglect. Regular training and ongoing monitoring of safeguarding practices are essential to ensure compliance with CQC standards.

You will be expected to talk through your safeguarding arrangements confidently during your CQC interview.

Lack of Effective Risk Management

The CQC expects healthcare providers to have effective risk management systems in place to identify and mitigate potential risks to patient safety and well-being. New providers can be rejected if they fail to demonstrate a proactive approach to risk management. CQC expect all these processes to e in place from the point of application. This is because in theory, you could gain a new client into your service the very day after receiving registration, so they want to see that you are ready to go in every aspect, but managing risk is a huge area of importance. Often CQC will come back to providers and ask for their business continuity Plan. This is not part of what you need to submit to gain registration but I have seen more and more times that CQC are coming back to new providers to check how they would operate and ensure good quality safe care when disruptions to the service could happen. My advice is have you BCP set up and ready to go when you submit an application as a new provider.

To address this concern, new providers should develop comprehensive risk management strategies that identify potential risks, assess their impact, and implement appropriate mitigation measures. Regular audits and reviews should be conducted to ensure that risk management processes remain effective and up to date.


When applying for the position of Registered Manager for a new organisation CQC require a separate application form for the proposed RM which is handed in alongside the application to register as a new provider. Now I cannot stress enough that CQC will want a FULL EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

At the time of writing this article the explicit expectation from CQC is that this means from the age of 16 years old and any gaps that are over 4 weeks must be explained in full.

I have seen nay applications turned down by CQC because people have missed the odd month here or there or simply can’t remember back that far. It is worth doing due diligence and ensuring that you submit a full and robust employment history with explanations for gaps.


Gaining approval from the Care Quality Commission is a crucial step for new healthcare providers looking to enter the industry in the United Kingdom. By addressing the most common reasons for rejection, such as providing non specialist care, lack of effective governance and leadership, insufficient safeguarding measures, ineffective risk management, and lack of attention to detail in application new providers can increase their chances of successfully obtaining CQC approval. Which will open up a whole new range and scope of possibilities for your business.

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