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Nigel's surgery 39: Registration requirements for GP federations

  • Organisations we regulate

We are increasingly seeing groups of registered GP practices and primary care teams who are collaborating. These groups, sometimes known as ‘federations’, can be either a formal or informal association of practices that work together to provide a greater range of services or to share knowledge.

We often get queries from GP practices about this issue, particularly focused on how these providers or services should be registered. As a result, we have produced guidance to help groups of registered providers who wish to form a federation understand their duties and responsibilities about the registration requirements.

If you are considering forming a federation, please read the full guidance on our website:

We also advise you to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss:

  • any potential changes to existing CQC registration, or
  • any new registration that you may need to apply for as a result of forming a federation.

Federations can be formed in a number of ways, so whether or not they need to register with CQC will depend on how they are arranged. In our guidance we summarise the issues that federations should consider and provide case studies to illustrate different registration scenarios.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, all ‘service providers’ who carry on regulated activities must register with CQC. The two key things that need to be considered when forming a federation are:

  • It is always the provider of the regulated activity that must be registered. For example, the provider of care or treatment. When services are provided jointly, or at a shared location, not all of the parties involved may provide regulated activity. Whatever the arrangement, the provider of any regulated activity should always be identified and they must register with CQC.
  • Only legal entities can register. People who come together informally, without any kind of legal constitution, are unlikely to have formed a legal entity.

Most providers will already be registered. However, where the federation establishes a legal entity to provide the regulated activity, only that legal entity will need to be registered in respect to that activity. Where the federation is an informal arrangement, which has not established a legal entity to carry on the regulated activity, then each of the parties providing regulated activity will need to be registered separately with CQC through the normal registration process.

Last updated:
10 August 2017