A new system of registration for health and social care providers has been published by the Department of Health.
The system details the levels of safety and care that providers must deliver.
It will be introduced in April next year, after which it will be illegal to provide services covered by the new framework without registering.
The scheme will be extended to cover private and voluntary carers in October.
The Care Quality Commission will develop guidance on how it will judge compliance with the regulations and take action against those who fail to meet the required standards.
Health minister Mike O’Brien said: “People rightly expect the same level of quality and safety of their care regardless of which organisation is providing it - this single registration framework gives them that assurance.
“All providers of health and adult social care services can now use this framework to ensure they demonstrate an ongoing ability to meet all the requirements.”