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Making changes to partnerships
Partnerships that have registered with us since 4 February 2013 can normally add or remove partners without cancelling their original registration.
Partnerships that registered before 4 February 2013
If your partnership registered with us before 4 February 2013 and one or more of your partners changes, you must cancel your registration and apply to register the resulting new partnership as a new provider. This is because, previously, we interpreted the law to mean that when a partner joins or leaves a partnership, the partnership becomes a new legal entity.
We changed our approach to this in February 2013. By registering partnerships with a condition of registration that lists their partners, the registration of the original partnership can normally continue after such changes. The process is less burdensome, while still enabling us to assess both the fitness of any new partners and the partnership as a whole, and remaining rigorous and meeting the requirements of the law.
Partnerships that have registered since 4 February 2013
If you register a partnership with us now, we register you with a condition (we refer to this as the 'partnership condition') listing your partners. This condition appears on your certificate of registration.
The partnership condition makes it a condition of your registration that the partnership is made up of these named partners only. If you are adding a partner to or removing a partner from your partnership, you must apply to vary your partnership condition. You do this by completing and submitting a variation form. Because the form and our assessment only need to deal with the change, it is a far simpler and more efficient process, both for you and for us.
Partnerships registered with us before 4 February 2013 that add or remove a partner must cancel their registration and the new partnership must apply. The new partnership will be registered with the partnership condition, meaning that any subsequent change can be dealt with under the new arrangements.
Why did we change our approach to partnerships?
We listened to feedback from providers. We recognised that that the old process (one partnership cancelling and the new partnership applying to be registered) placed a burden on some providers. Some partnerships change their members frequently. Our former approach meant that a new application had to be made every time a partner left or joined, often duplicating information we already held about the partnership. The approach was disproportionate because, in many cases, the addition or removal of a partner did not significantly change how the partnership managed regulated activities. Additionally, because a new provider was registered after each change, it was not possible to link any history we held about the former provider to the new provider’s registration. That meant people who use services and commissioners did not easily have access to historical regulatory information about services.
We looked at how we could adopt an approach to regulating partnerships that was more efficient and less burdensome while enabling us to continue to assess and be satisfied about the fitness of both the partnership as a whole and of each partner.
After carefully considering the legal implications and any impact on our assessment of the fitness of a partnership, we changed our approach so that partnerships can continue to be registered when a partner leaves or joins. The new approach allows partnerships to change their membership by varying a condition of their registration relating to the membership of their partnership (the ‘partnership condition’).
What does the 'agreed' partnership condition on my registration mean?
When you apply to be registered, you are asked to provide us with the details of all of your partners. We use this information in the partnership condition. When you submit your application you agree to us making the membership of your partnership a condition of your registration. By agreeing the condition in this way, we can, if we are granting your registration, send you a Notice of Decision and your certificate of registration, rather than imposing the condition through a Notice of Proposal.
Your Notice of Decision will set out all of the conditions we have placed on your registration, such as the partnership condition, the registered manager condition (if relevant) and the location condition, which details the location(s) at or from which you may provide regulated activity. As well as the agreed conditions, it will include any that we have imposed on the partnership. The partnership condition will name each of the individuals who are partners in your partnership and who are responsible for the regulated activities you provide.
The wording on your notice will be:
It is a condition of registration (in respect of the regulated activity/ies you will carry on) that the membership of the partnership is as follows:
- Partner 1
- Partner 2 etc
How can I apply to add or remove a partner/s from my registration using this condition?
The forms you need to use to apply to vary the partnership condition on your registration by adding or removing partners from your registration are available on the making changes to your registration page.
We will assess your application and if we decide to grant your application, we will send you a Notice of Decision reflecting any changes to the membership of your partnership. You will also be sent a new certificate of registration.
Where we do not propose to grant your application, we will send you a Notice of Proposal to Refuse, setting out our reasons. You will have 28 days to make any representations to us in writing before we make a decision. If we decide to refuse then you will be sent a Notice of Decision to Refuse, explaining our reasons and your right to appeal to the Third Tier Tribunal.
What if I want to reduce my partnership to just one member?
A partnership must have at least two members at all times and for a partnership to remain the same legal entity it must be recognisably a continuation of the same partnership.
If members left a partnership so that only one ‘partner’ was left it would no longer be a legal partnership. The partnership would need to apply to cancel its registration and the remaining former partner would need to apply for registration as an individual.
- Last updated:
- 12 February 2020