Early years and childcare: For all other users

The registration process for early years and childcare providers

We register an early years or childcare provider to:

  • check that they are suitable to look after children
  • gather information about the provider, what they offer and any other people closely connected to it for our records.

For further information about the checks that we carry out go to:

Registering as a provider

Early Years Register

The process often begins with the prospective provider going to a briefing session held by their local authority where they can find out if they are a suitable candidate for being a provider.

The prospective provider must check that they can deliver all the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and/or the requirements of the Childcare Register.

The next step is to apply online – which is the quickest and easiest way – or complete downloaded forms for the Early Years Register and send them to us. We will send the applicant information on how to obtain checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (this replaced the Criminal Records Bureau on 1 December 2012: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/dbs).

During the application process we will visit the premises that the applicant plans to use.

During the visit we will interview the provider or the person they have nominated to act on their behalf including checking how the provison will meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

When we have completed our checks, we will decide if we will register the applicant as a provider.

Childcare Register

The process begins with the prospective provider submitting an application form that explains how they will meet the requirements of the Childcare Register. The prospective provider must:

  • have a current first-aid certificate, or someone working with the children must have one (childcare providers)
  • have a current first-aid certificate and have completed a local authority-approved childminder training course (home childcarers)

We send information on how to obtain checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (this replaced the Criminal Records Bureau on 1 December 2012: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/dbs).

We do not usually visit or interview the applicant unless the checks indicate concerns.

We will register the applicant if our checks have found them to be suitable.

Granting registration

If the applicant is accepted, then we will send them their certificate of registration. A provider cannot begin caring for children until they have their certificate and the provider must display it where you can see it; home childcarers have to show it to you on request.

Refusing registration

If we refuse to register an applicant then this person cannot provide childcare that requires registration. If we refuse registration, then the applicant can object and appeal.

How long will my application take?

Ofsted’s timescales for the registration process are published in our guides to registration:

Applications are not subject to tacit approval under the EU Services Directive. Tacit approval relates to a situation in which an authority does not process an application for registration within the published timescales and the application as a result becomes deemed as having been granted. It does not apply to applications to Ofsted for registration as a childcare provider because different arrangements are in place for overriding reasons relating to the public interest, namely the need to safeguard and protect children’s welfare (Provision of Services Regulations 2009, regulations 19(5) and (6)).

We aim to carry out our work smoothly and without incident. However, if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the registration process please contact us. he details of our complaints procedure are available here: Complaints procedure: raising concerns and making complaints about Ofsted.

Further information