Register as a provider of children's social care services

Information for social care providers and managers on how to register with Ofsted and about the registration process.

Applies to England



You must register to provide or manage certain types of children’s social care services. Ofsted’s registration guidance explains how to register and what stages your application will go through before we make a decision.

You can also view guidance on how to request a priority application to register a children’s home.

Published 9 August 2014
Last updated 24 May 2024 + show all updates
  1. Removed the need for a financial reference and for a GP to sign a health form, following a change in legislation.

  2. Incorporated the temporary changes to the registration process into the main guide.

  3. An update to how registration applications will be managed and determined.

  4. Added a link to guidance on interim managers.

  5. Added a link to new guidance on applying to register a multi-building children's home.

  6. Updated information about the role of the responsible individual.

  7. Minor addition to 'Withdrawing your application': you may not be able to withdraw your application if we have sent a notice of proposal to refuse your registration.

  8. Updated main registration guide throughout for clarity.

  9. Removed the 'Social care online applications: information for applicants' document as the guidance is no longer relevant. This follows the release of updated SC1, SC2 and SC3 forms.

  10. Added clarification around the registration process during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  11. Updated information for applicants who have lived abroad obtaining DBS certificates.

  12. Updated information about applications from charities, planning permission documents and accepting copies of DBS certificates.

  13. To clarify our current policy we have amended the text about applicants from abroad.

  14. Updated guidance to clarify that we do not register satellite children’s homes.

  15. All documents replaced: we have updated the types of financial information required by trusts and included more information about children’s homes location assessments.

  16. Updated sections 80-81 about DBS checks and the DBS update service.

  17. Guidance updated to introduce 3 stages of the application process. Applications must include all completed forms and relevant documents.

  18. Annex B and C added; minor changes for clarity in paragraphs 14, 83 and 152 to 154.

  19. Updated for changes to legislation.

  20. First published.