Click any of the frequently asked questions below to see the corresponding answer.

About the CIEP

When does chartership start, and what will happen to the SfEP?

From 1 March 2020 we’ll become the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP). We’ll retain the company SfEP Ltd to protect the name from misuse.

How do I pronounce ‘CIEP’?

As with ‘SfEP’, there’s no ‘right’ answer, and different people will naturally say/think different things. After a quick opinion poll on the forum, it seems most members prefer to say the individual letters: see-eye-ee-pee.

What are the benefits of chartership?

A huge benefit is official recognition and authority. The main aims of becoming chartered are to promote good editing and to raise the value and standing of our profession. Chartered status will allow us to build a greater appreciation of good editing (in its widest sense), based on recognised qualifications, high standards and a better understanding of what editorial professionals do, both for people entering the profession and for those using our services. We hope that will in time bring about a commensurate rise in status and pay, and place more value on using editors and proofreaders who are properly trained and who work to CIEP standards.

What will the CIEP do to publicise our new name and status?

We’re planning lots of different ways to get the news out, including press releases and social media campaigns, local group celebrations, a presence at events such as the London Book Fair, a formal launch at the end of March to which various media will be invited, a publication all about our reasons and hopes for chartership, and of course new promotional goodies such as pens and bookmarks to help get us noticed. We hope that members will join in and help us celebrate and promote the new Institute.

Is there going to be a party?

We hope there will be many! We’re encouraging our local member groups to think about how you can help us celebrate the launch of the CIEP over the coming months. We’ll also be hosting a formal launch in London on 31 March, to which we’re inviting news media; the organisations, government officials and individuals who supported our petition for chartership; and publishers and related bodies who use editing services. Look out for coverage.


Is there anything I need to do as a member?

Yes. If you haven’t done so already, please download the chartership checklist from our website and start preparing for the change to the CIEP. In brief, we suggest you make a list of where you mention the SfEP and where you display our logo. Then, after 1 March 2020, start using our new name and your new membership logo. We’ll send members full instructions shortly.

When can I get my new membership logo?

You’ll be able to download your new logo after 1 March 2020. We don’t expect you to replace the logo everywhere immediately on that day, but it would be helpful if you could do so during March. Do remember to read the guidelines on what you can and can’t do with our logos.

Can I call myself a chartered editor or proofreader?

No, it’s the Institute that is chartered, not individuals. In the future we can if we wish propose ways for the most skilled and experienced members to apply for individual chartered status, but that is not a power usually granted to newly chartered bodies. We’ll therefore look at this once the Institute is more established.

When can I tell my clients that I’m a member of the CIEP?

We suggest you do this after the official launch on 1 March – then you can show off your new logo and point people to our rebranded website.

Will my membership fees or benefits change?

Fees and benefits won’t suddenly change after chartership. The Council has no immediate plans to recommend a fee increase any higher than our usual modest annual raise for inflation. We do hope that our chartered status will in time bring more new benefits for members, as potential partners see the value in being associated with the Institute.

Will my membership grade stay the same?

Yes. The membership structure and your grade name will be the same, but you’ll be a member of the CIEP instead of the SfEP. Neither will upgrading requirements immediately change when we become the CIEP –so please don’t hold back on upgrading because of chartership. It is, though, a useful moment to look over your continuing professional development (CPD) plans for the coming year, to decide what training you want to take and how you will upgrade your membership or boost your CPD. Remember that you can log your CPD and job records now by starting the online upgrade application form (in the members’ area of our website). Your information will sit there, anonymously, until you’re ready to apply, and you can add to it any time. Once our new digital platform is up and running, we hope to provide an integrated CPD log.

Will chartership help me find work?

There’s no guarantee that it will, and you’ll still need to have a good marketing plan for your business or be able to convince others to employ you, but we hope that your membership of a chartered body will in itself enhance your credibility and demonstrate that you take standards seriously. Having the name of a chartered institute behind you is a great marketing asset.

Practical stuff

What is going to change in how the organisation is run? Will there still be a Council and staff?

The day-to-day running of our organisation won’t change except for being governed by the new Institute rules and regulations that members voted in last year (you can read them in the members’ area if you need a reminder). The Council will still be responsible for directing policy and managing activities, as it is now. The office staff will continue with their many administrative tasks. The Council is currently exploring alternative management models, including whether and how a chief executive and/or more staff would be of benefit.

Will the SfEP website cease to exist?

We’re busy building a new digital platform for the CIEP that will bring various admin tasks and information sharing together within one integrated platform, which will make it much easier for everyone to use and to know what’s happening. Until that’s ready, the current website and forums will continue, but we’ll make cosmetic changes in March to reflect the new CIEP branding. We hope the new platform will be ready in April or May, but we’d rather get it right than rush it out.

What is going to happen to the SfEP publications?

Current resources such as our guides and fact sheets will be changed to use our new CIEP branding. There are no imminent content changes to existing resources, so you can keep on using your SfEP-branded ones.

We’ll be rolling out a new way of providing resources and information to members and others. This won’t get going in earnest until our new digital platform is up and running. Once that’s in place, you’ll have easier access from your member dashboard and ongoing notifications of new information, resources and events.

The Editing Matters magazine sent out in February 2020 is the last one that will be compiled and sent as a PDF. From April we’ll still send a regular email newsletter to members, but you’ll be able to access articles and resources separately and in other formats, as soon as they’re published. This includes the regular favourites: feature articles on grammar and language, what’s e-new, book reviews and blog articles. We’ll also be bringing you new resources, including knowhow fact sheets, more in-depth discussion papers and practical tools, plus some fun stuff.

If I’ve taken an SfEP course, can I get a new certificate from the CIEP?

No. If you completed a course before 1 March 2020, list it as an SfEP course, as that is the body that awarded your completion. We’ll not be reissuing certificates for past courses. If you complete our courses after 1 March 2020, your successful completion will be awarded by the new Institute.

Will the courses change? Should I hold off signing up for an SfEP course?

There won’t be any immediate change to the current course content, just to the name of the completion awarding body. If you start a course now while we are still the SfEP but complete it after 1 March 2020, you’ll be awarded completion by the new Institute. Work on improving our courses is always ongoing, and you can look forward to some exciting developments later in the year, including more webinars.

Future plans

What are the Institute’s long-term plans?

We’d like to see the CIEP become the go-to place for information and advice on English editing and proofreading, and a supportive community that all editorial professionals want to join. Our charter will give us the authority to work towards our own qualifications in editing and proofreading and a framework for validating others’ courses. We’ve already made a start on a training curriculum. We’ll also work on other ways for editors and proofreaders to prove their competence, such as improved standards that help make best editorial practice visible.

Will the CIEP have a monopoly on training in the future?

No. We’ll encourage good-quality training courses, whoever provides them. In the future, we may have a means of validating external courses so that the public can distinguish good ones from the rest.

Will CPD become a requirement?

As a chartered body, our reputation depends on each other, and we’ll need objective ways to be confident in every member’s professional competence and conduct, so, yes, it’s likely that in future we’ll expect all members to record their ongoing CPD, as most chartered bodies do. We’ll define CPD broadly (not just paid courses). It should be natural, affordable and practical, and something you want to do because it improves your editorial practice and helps you prepare for upgrading or just being better at your work.

Will everyone have to get a qualification to be a member in future?

No, but it’s a huge benefit for us and our clients if we can demonstrate at least a basic level of competence and professionalism, so we’re exploring a membership admission test, and will in time revisit the requirements for achieving the various grades.

Will the CIEP stop non-members from working as editors and proofreaders?

No. We will not require editors and proofreaders to become members, although we hope that more will do so because of the professional recognition that will come with belonging to a chartered body.

Will there be free stuff?

Yes! Which is an incentive to book a place at our September conference. Look out for us anywhere else we will have a stand, such as the London Book Fair and the Society of Young Publishers’ conference. Editors can never have enough new pens …