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Setting up a group provision

Next steps

Once you know there is a demand for your service, you are ready to set up your new business

Legal structure

First you need to decide what type of legal structure you will operate under. This determines who is responsible 'in law' for the business and legal transactions of your provision. This information will be needed when registering with Ofsted, employing staff and administrative purposes such as banking.


Many group provisions operate as tenants within eg a community building. It is important that you ensure longevity within your proposed accommodation and that it meets both business and EYFS requirements. Legal agreements for premises can vary from a hire agreement to a full lease.

Financing your business

It is vital that your business is financially sustainable and of high quality. Your income from fees and other sources will therefore need to, at least, match your outgoings. For this reason, we advise all providers to prepare a cash flow forecast and a business plan, which can be created using the templates at the end of this page. You should also ensure that you are aware of the relevant financial regulations, including producing annual accounts.

You might also consider offering the Free Early Education Entitlement which provides up to 15 hours funded childcare per week for all three-and-four-year-olds and for eligible two-year-olds. As a provider, you will receive payment for the funded hours from Essex County Council. The section on the Free Entitlement explains this in detail.

If you opt for charitable status, you may want to fundraise. However, you should not be reliant on this income for your core costs. Fundraising is best suited to providing the 'extras' to enhance your provision and developing a fundraising plan can be useful. A marketing plan is also valuable in helping ensure that you have sufficient customers to keep your business sustainable.

Building your staff team

Recruiting your staff team will be one of the most important things you do. Visit the running your business section for information on what you need to consider.

Registering with Ofsted

Depending on the type of provision and age of child you intend to care for, you may need to register with Ofsted. It is important that you go to the Ofsted website and read the relevant guide to registration. This Ofsted pre-registration briefing will also explain the process.

Early years foundation stage

If you plan to care for under fives, you will need to work to the requirements of the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This is a statutory framework that sets out the safeguarding and welfare requirements for the learning, development and care of young children. It is important that you have thoroughly read the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage document as Ofsted will require you to be familiar with the EYFS before registration is granted.

Relevant resources