Our aim of chartership

In line with its aim of upholding editorial excellence, the SfEP is planning to apply for a royal charter and thus to become a chartered institution. The rationale was set out for members on 15 April 2016 as follows.

Why we are aiming to become a chartered institution

The SfEP council have decided unanimously that we will aim to gain chartered status for the SfEP. This will benefit not only the Society and all of us as members, but also the editorial profession and society as a whole.

Our aims for the profession

Editorial professionals – copy-editors, proofreaders and project managers, along with some allied groups such as indexers, researchers, permissions specialists and picture researchers – are almost invisible to the general public, government and business. As a result, their contribution to the dissemination and retrieval of information, the economy, education, research, politics and cultural life is largely unrecognised and undervalued.

We want to change all that. We want to see greater appreciation of the value of good editing (in its widest sense), based on recognised qualifications, high standards and an understanding of what editorial professionals do, with a commensurate rise in their status and pay.

Our aims for the SfEP

The SfEP is already the only membership body in Britain for editorial professionals, but we want them to join in much larger numbers. Our aim is to make the SfEP the voice of copy-editors and proofreaders, the recognised authority in editing and the go-to organisation for advice, information, standards, training, qualifications, recruitment and support.

With the above in mind, the SfEP strategy group has identified a number of priorities for the next few years, which include at least doubling membership, accreditation of courses, developing standards and admissions tests, creating a framework of accredited qualifications, raising our profile, working to educate the public and allied professions, and engaging more with publishers and others. Council has decided to build its plans around these priorities.

Why chartership?

The priorities we have identified closely match the requirements for chartered status, which will greatly strengthen the SfEP’s position. It will bring the vast majority of editorial professionals into a single body, which will allow us as a profession to achieve the aims we have prioritised, aims that would be impossible for us acting as individuals.

Many eminent professional bodies – those of surgeons, architects, lawyers or accountants for example – have a royal charter, which gives them weight and standing, distinguishes them as the authoritative voice on excellence in their profession and thus puts them in a position to set standards, highlight issues in their field, and gain the attention of government and society.

Because the aims we have prioritised are also prerequisites before applying for chartership, all this will take time, possibly five to seven years, possibly longer. Nonetheless it is clear that this is the best way to advance our profession and we will all benefit.