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Care home: Licences

Care home registration

As a care home, your business will be carrying out 'regulated activities' under health and social care legislation and so it is required to register with the appropriate national registering authority. The registering authority will inspect your home periodically to make sure that it meets the requirements of the statutory minimum standards. There is an annual fee for registration.

The national registering authorities in the UK are as follows:

  • England - Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  • Scotland - the Care Inspectorate
  • Wales - Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)
  • Northern Ireland - the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)

Care workers

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) maintains lists of people who are barred from working with children or with vulnerable adults. You must not employ anyone who is included in the barred list. You must also inform the DBS if you consider that anyone working with children or vulnerable adults has harmed them or is likely to do so. You can find out more on the DBS website. A separate but aligned 'vetting and barring' scheme applies in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, care home managers and social care workers in adult residential and nursing homes must be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC). There's more information on the NISCC website.

Other licences and registrations required

As you will be preparing and serving food you will need to register as a food business with your local authority environmental health department. Contact your local authority for details. They will inspect your premises and help you to comply with the requirements of food safety and hygiene legislation. There is no charge for registering.

If there are any televisions in the building, a TV licence must be obtained. Tariffs vary according to the size and type of home and whether all residents have TV sets in their rooms. Each communal area, guest room and staff accommodation area will need to be covered by a full TV licence. In addition, each resident's room (or flat or bungalow) will need an 'accommodation for residential care' (ARC) concessionary licence. These are available at a low rate for care homes so long as their residents are retired (aged over 60) or disabled. Contact TV Licensing for details.

If films are screened on a regular basis then a public video screening licence (PVSL) can be obtained from an organisation such as Filmbank. This enables businesses such as care homes to screen an unlimited number of films from participating film studios to a non-paying audience in return for a single annual fee.

A PPL PRS Ltd Music Licence is not normally required in a care home where music is used in a similar way to a domestic setting. However, a licence may be required to cover situations such as formal performances which residents are charged an entrance fee to attend.

Under the Data Protection Act a health services business that keeps computerised records of individuals' personal details may need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). You can find out more on the ICO website.