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Dormant providers - what to do when CQC cancels registration

View profile for Laura Hannah
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The CQC has the power to cancel a service provider’s CQC registration pursuant to Section 17(1)(e) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and Regulation 6(1)(c) of the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 if:

“a registered person is a service provider, is not, and has not been for a continuous period of 12 months ending with the date of the decision to cancel registration, carrying on that regulated activity.”

In order to cancel the registration, the CQC will usually issue a notice of proposal to cancel the service provider’s registration of the relevant regulated activity, such as ‘personal care’ for example. At this stage, the provider is given 28 calendar days to make written representations against the proposal.

Where a provider has not provided the regulated activity for a continuous period of 12 months or more, and wishes to retain their registration, it will be vital for the provider to start providing that regulated activity as a matter of urgency. However, providing the regulated activity is just the first step. Providers will also need to evidence that the regulated activity is being provided.

For example, a domiciliary care or home care provider registered for the regulated activity of ‘personal care’ will likely need to provide evidence of a service contract; a care plan signed by the service user; invoices for payments received for the provision of ‘personal care’; and daily logs showing the care provided.

Where a provider is unable to provide the regulated activity before representations are made, it will be important to demonstrate the steps taken towards achieving this and any relevant timescales. Demonstrating some certainty about being able to provide the regulated activity in the imminent future is likely to improve your chances of successfully challenging the cancellation long-term.

For instance, if a provider has applied for tenders which, if successful, will provide it with contracts to provide the regulated activity, evidence of that tender application; its current stage; and the expected time frame for a decision on that tender should be put forward. If a care package has been agreed and is due to start on a future date, the details of that package and any agreement on the services to be provided (i.e. personal care) and when, will be important.

Ultimately, unless a provider is providing a regulated activity, the CQC will generally have proportionate grounds to justify the cancellation of registration under the above legislation. A provider’s best chance to challenge a cancellation on these grounds is therefore to start providing the regulated activity immediately or have definitive evidence that the regulated activity will be provided imminently.

In the event that a provider’s representations are not successful in persuading the CQC not to cancel the registration, the CQC will issue a notice of decision confirming the cancellation of the service provider registration pursuant to Section 28 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. A provider will have a further 28 calendar days at this stage to appeal against this decision to the first-tier tribunal (care standards chamber). However, as with a notice of proposal, a provider will need to be able to evidence the provision of the regulated activity or that this will be provided imminently in order to stand any prospects of success in an appeal.

Successfully challenging a cancellation of registration is often very important for dormant providers as many are often applying for tenders and contracts on the basis that they have a CQC registration. The loss of their CQC registration can often be detrimental to the financial viability of their business moving forwards and can significantly impact any progress made with tenders and other potential contracts up to that point. In the event that a registration is cancelled, providers will need to re-apply for CQC registration and such applications could be subject to significant delays, as discussed in our recent blog on CQC registration refusals.

Our specialist CQC lawyers have extensive experience of assisting health and social care providers with successful challenges and appeals against notices of proposals and notices of decisions, particularly where cancellation is pursued on the grounds of dormancy. You can contact our team of specialist CQC lawyers now on 0161 696 6250 or via our online enquiry form.