Standards update process: timeline and activities 

In keeping with international best practice, SPTF reviews and updates the Universal Standards approximately every five years to make sure that they continue to reflect best practice. Every update involves gathering and analyzing data from a variety of sources, including one-on-one expert interviews, research studies, observations of practice in the field, public comment, and data from audits, ratings, and certifications. SPTF invites all of its members, from every stakeholder group and from every continent, to provide input. The process takes about a year. 

SPTF and CERISE work closely throughout the update process. Once SPTF updates the Universal Standards manual, then CERISE updates the SPI social audit tool, and SPTF and CERISE collaborate to update guidance documents, tools, training materials, training of auditors and TA providers, and other resources that support implementation. SPTF also coordinates with certification/rating agencies to harmonize their frameworks with the updated Standards. 

Universal Standards version 3.0 

SPTF will release version 3.0 of the Universal Standards in January 2022. The updated manual rewords some of the previous elements for increased clarity, is more rigorous and detailed about certain types of practices, and includes entirely new practices, notably in the integration of client protection practices that apply to a digital context. Version 3.0 also includes a mandatory seventh dimension on environmental performance management. SPTF is co-creating dimension 7 with the e-MFP Green Inclusive and Climate Smart Finance working group, which is simultaneously updating the green index. In the new version, dimension 7 and the green index will be fully aligned, with dimension 7 covering the major concepts and areas of activity while the green index provides extensive detail on how to implement practices in each area. Click here to read a draft version of dimensions 1-6 of the updated manual. Dimension 7 will be available in fall 2021.   

The CP Pathway 

Client protection standards and indicators are a subset of  the full set of the Universal Standards and indicators in the SPI tool. Therefore, by evaluating its performance using the SPI tool, an FSP will evaluate its client protection practices. For those who wish to focus only on client protection, however, SPTF and CERISE have an initiative called the CP Pathway.  This initiative helps FSPs to communicate their commitment to implement client protection, to improve practice, and to demonstrate achievement. Visit the CP Pathway webpage to learn more.