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How To Start a Care Home

If you want to start a care home in the UK, there are important aspects you need to consider, including registration, qualifications, certifications, business plans and insurance.

Read a guide to how to start a care home.

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How to start a care home in England

If you want to run a care home for adults in England, the first thing you need to do its register the ‘service provider’ for a licence with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). A service provider can be an organisation, partnership or individual.

Apply for this licence on the Care Quality Commission website.

Apply for registration as a:

Along with your application, you must:

  • Provide details of each location from where you will provide residential care services
  • List the regulated activities you intend to carry out
  • Meet essential standards of quality and safety
  • Make a declaration of compliance

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How to start a care home as a partnership or organisation in England

If you’re registered as an organisation or partnership then the person responsible for managing the services must also register.

Apply for registration as a new manager.

How to start a care home as an individual in England

If you’re registering as an individual, you don’t need to have a separately registered manager unless you don’t intend to be in charge full-time.

How to start a care home in Wales

You need to register with Care Inspectorate Wales to provide a care home service for adults or children in Wales.

Apply for this licence via the Care Inspectorate Wales website

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How to start a care home in Scotland

If you want to start one of these types of care home in Scotland, you need to register with the Care Inspectorate:

    • For people with physical and sensory impairments
    • For older people
    • For people with learning disabilities
    • For children and young people
    • For people with drug and alcohol misuse problems
    • For people with mental health problems
    • For short breaks and respite care services for adults

Apply for the licence on the Care Inspectorate website.

As part of this registration, the Care Inspectorate will check:

      • If the applicant and manager of the proposed care service are fit to provide or manage a care service
      • If the premises for the proposed care service is fit to be used
      • If the proposed service will make all the proper provisions for the health, welfare, independence, choice, privacy and dignity of everyone using it

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How to start a care home in Northern Ireland

To start a care home in Northern Ireland, you must be registered with the Health and Social Care Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).

A residential care home in Northern Ireland is an establishment that provides accommodation and personal care for people who need it due one or more of the following reasons:

  • Old age and infirmity
  • Disablement
  • Dependence on alcohol or drugs
  • Mental disorder

Register via the RQIA website.

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Certifications required for running a care home

As well as being registered with the relevant national regulator, there are certifications and qualifications you need to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

The national regulators monitor, regulate and carry out inspections to ensure care homes are meeting required standards of care and safety.

Regulators across the UK require care home owners to:

  • Have qualified and experienced staff
  • Make sure their premises meet strict health and safety standards
  • Meet requirements for residents’ treatment and safeguarding

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What qualifications do you need to start a care home?

To run a care home, you need to be or employ a registered care home manager, holding a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care.

It’s also recommended that your care staff have care qualifications, such as NVQs in Health and Social Care (Levels 2 and 3).

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How to find the right care home insurance

When you request an insurance quote from Towergate as a start-up care home business, we will ask for some key pieces of information and documents, before we can speak to our insurer to get you the best terms:

  • Your care home business plan
  • Your three-year financial projection
  • Your registered manager’s CV
  • Your statement of purpose

This helps the insurers we work with assess the viability and sustainability of your business.

Once you send us all the relevant documents, one of our team of dedicated care insurance specialists will be in touch to discuss your requirements further. This will include a review so we can understand your unique business needs and it also presents you with a chance to ask any questions that you may have regarding insurance and risk management.

Following this conversation, we will be able to approach our insurer who will then be able to produce a quote unique to your business that includes the cover requirements discussed, helping you to ensure the right amount of cover with the right policy is put in place.

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Tailored care home insurance

It is essential that once you receive your quote from us, you understand each section and are happy that the care home insurance policy meets your needs. Our team are available to discuss this further, should you need any advice or clarification.

Along with your quote, you will receive your policy wording, which should be kept and saved in a safe place. Once you confirm with us that you are happy, we will start the policy on a date that suits you.

All our quotes are valid for 30 days, so should you get in touch with us to agree to the terms outside of this timeline, we will have to speak to our insurer again, meaning we will need a few days to get an up-to-date quote back over to you.

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Business hub for start up care homes

Once you have insurance in place, you are ready to trade. We are here to help protect your business and as part of most policies you will have access to a business hub, your very own legal information portal. This delivers up-to-date legal information and a wide range of legal precedents that you can fully tailor to suit your business needs, helping reduce your reliance on expensive solicitors for legal advice as your business gets up and running.

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Standard features of care home insurance

As standard, includes the following covers:

  • Property and contents
  • 24-month business interruption
  • Loss of registration
  • Employers liability
  • Public liability
  • Products liability
  • Malpractice liability
  • Professional indemnity
  • Legal expenses
  • Towergate Assist loss recovery (for complex claims over £5000)

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Why choose Towergate for your care home insurance?

With over 40 years of experience working within the care sector, we are the experts when it comes to understanding exactly what is required when starting a business within the sector, because we’ve been there and know what it takes.

When it comes to setting up a business, it’s always going to be an overwhelming and stressful time but when the business is focused on caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens, it can make the process much more difficult. This is why we want to make sure that you understand all that you need to as you make a start in the care sector.

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Get a care home insurance quote

For more information on our care home policy or to get a quote, please see our care home insurance webpage, call 0330 123 5342 or email our specialist team at

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About the author

Carolyn Baker-Mellor is a respected industry leader with over 35 years' experience within the care insurance sector.  

Carolyn currently works at Towergate as Trading Director,

The information contained in this article is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.