The SFIA Foundation maintains and distributes SFIA using a licensing system. For personal career development and for the majority of internal use for staff management, SFIA is available free of charge. Other use may require different licences which may incur a modest fee.
The following is prohibited without a special fee-bearing licence from the SFIA Foundation:
- using SFIA to support the sale or marketing of a product or service
- using SFIA for external certification or credentials
- using SFIA to promote a company or organisation, including in rate cards, redistributing this material in electronic or printed form to any other organisation (even if affiliated)
- using SFIA across a large distributed organisation
- translating SFIA into another language or language variant and distributing that version
Separate licensing is available for large-scale SFIA use. This is particularly attractive where a country wishes to use the global common reference model of SFIA as the foundation of its wide-scale skills and competence initiatives. Licensing includes:
- whole of public sector licence
- whole of country licence
Obtaining a licence
A licence can be obtained by registering with the SFIA Foundation at https://sfia-online.org/en/licensing-sfia/choosing-a-licence.
If you are registering on behalf of an organisation, for internal use only, in many cases the free organisational licence is appropriate. Only one person from the organisation needs to register, but it is not an issue if several people register. Common use cases include using SFIA in your position descriptions, or using SFIA to support staff development activity.
If you using SFIA for personal use (e.g. personal development) then the free personal licence is usually appropriate.
Generally, all other use cases (including distributing SFIA across organisations including your subsidiary/sibling/parent organisation, mapping your qualifications/certifications to SFIA for others to use, consultancy, training, etc) will likely require one of paid licences.
The most common way to obtain a paid licence is to obtain an organisational licence and then notify the SFIA Foundation of your intentions to use SFIA and they will help you select the most appropriate licence.
Why is SFIA licenced?
As a not-for-profit, the SFIA Foundation does not seek commercial gain over and above its subsistence needs. All revenue received is used to develop, maintain and make available the framework and support the adoption by organisations and individuals around the world through the global ecosystem.
The licensing terms reflect that the SFIA Foundation's intellectual property does indeed have a value, so they seek its protection through a very modest fee arrangement for those who benefit commercially from its use. The Foundation doesn’t generate substantial revenue, and has a very modest operations capability supported by the users, trainers, consultants and partners of SFIA around the world.
Users who register for one of the free licences help support the development of SFIA by providing an indication of the spread and level of use of SFIA around the world. Registered users will also be notified of updates the framework, are invited to contribute change requests and ideas to improve the framework, and participate in the beta of new versions.