How to register

Assessment process and timescales

This page is a condensed overview of our assessment process and timescales for registration. Full details can be found in Regulatory advice 3.

Once we have received an application, we will check that the information submitted is sufficient to make an assessment.

Once we are satisfied that we have the information we need, we will use the information submitted in the application alongside publicly available evidence (such as that held by Companies House) to undertake checks that the provider meets our eligibility requirements.

We will assess the evidence that has been submitted to determine whether the provider satisfies the initial conditions of registration.


The time it will take to reach a decision depends on a number of factors, including whether:

  • the provider submits all the information we need in its first submission and responds to any questions or requests for further information by the deadlines we set
  • the provider is ready for a visit as part of the assessment of condition B7, if one is required
  • where applicable, the provider is ready to submit the information required for an assessment of standards as soon as this commences
  • our assessment identifies complex issues which need to be resolved during the assessment process
  • our assessment identifies areas of concern that result in a provisional decision to refuse registration.

This means that we cannot give a precise timescale for each provider.

Where a provider submits all the information we need and engages with us responsively during the registration process, the indicative timetable shown below provides a reasonable guide:

Step of registration process Indicative timeframe

OfS checks whether application is complete and confirms this with provider

4 weeks

Additional time may be needed for a provider to resubmit information if the application is incomplete

OfS assesses eligibility, and undertakes preliminary assessment of initial conditions

8-12 weeks from the date the OfS confirms that it has sufficient information to begin its assessment

OfS undertakes assessment of quality and standards

25-30 weeks in total from the date the assessment commences

OfS makes registration decision

4 weeks from the date of the final report on the assessment of the provider’s quality and standards

We are likely to have a number of applications for registration at any one time and we have a duty to consider using our resources in an efficient and effective way. In prioritising applications for assessment, we will exercise reasonable judgement and deal with all applications on a case-by-case basis. However, our assessment is likely to take significantly longer than shown in the timetable above where a provider:

  • does not submit an application which allows us to make an assessment against the initial conditions of registration
  • does not engage with us responsively during the assessment process (if, for example, it asks for an extended period to respond to queries or provide additional information)
  • submits an application that is particularly complex, including where judgements about whether the initial conditions are satisfied are finely balanced
  • seeks to amend timelines for the assessment of quality and standards (including for payment of assessment fees) after these have been confirmed, at which point any changes may result in significant delay and may incur further charges

In those circumstances you should plan for the possibility that it could take more than a calendar year to reach a final decision.

A provisional decision to refuse registration is likely to further extend this timescale.

More information

A full description of the assessment process and more detailed indicative timescales can be found in Regulatory advice 3.

Published 14 October 2022
Last updated 15 December 2023
15 December 2023
Updates to reflect changes to the quality assessments process and timescales.

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