Scope of registration: Introduction

Page last updated: 22 February 2024


  1. Introduction
  2. Who has to register?
  3. General exceptions and exemptions from registration
  4. The regulated activities
  5. Glossary of terms


You may need to register with CQC if you provide, or intend to provide, health or adult social care activities in England. This is a legal requirement under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

You must apply to be registered even if you do not intend to provide those services on a regular or permanent basis.

This guidance will help you decide whether you need to register with us. It explains:

  • what we mean by regulated activities
  • who and what needs to be registered – we call this the scope of registration
  • which regulated activities you are most likely to need to register for.
It is an offence to carry on a regulated activity without being registered.

To make sure you have all the information to register correctly, you need to read this guidance and refer to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations and our guidance on meeting the regulations. Make sure you always refer to the latest version of the regulations. This is a guide to the regulations but is not a substitute for them.

You can also see our guidance on how to register as a new provider or how to make changes to your registration.

To decide whether and how you need to register with CQC you may find it useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I be carrying on a regulated activity? If so, which will apply to me?
  • Who will be responsible for directing and controlling the regulated activity? (called ‘carrying on’ the activity)
  • Will any exceptions apply?
  • Where will the regulated activity be carried on at or from? (called location(s)) 
  • Is a registered manager required at any or all locations?
  • If I am intending to provide services to children, do these activities need to be registered with CQC, Ofsted or both?

This guidance will help you answer some of these questions. 

It is important to focus on the activities that will trigger the need for registration. This depends on what regulated activity you provide within your 'service type'. See Information on service types.

If you are already registered and want to change the type of activities or services you provide, refer to the regulations and use this guidance to determine whether you need to apply for any changes to your regulated activities.

If you support people with a learning disability and/or autistic people, also refer to our guidance Right support, right care, right culture

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Who has to register?

Download and print

You can download and print a PDF version of the Scope of Registration.

Scope of Registration (pdf, 2.24MB, English)