From PIEs to the PIE Abacus

Ambition and modesty in principle

PIEs 1
The ambition behind the first descriptions of PIEs was to capture, to convey, and so to promote emerging creative practice in services for people with complex needs, and at high risk of social exclusion. The examples given were specifically from homelessness services; and it was here that the idea first began to take off.

PIEs 2
The ambition behind PIEs 2 was to update these first descriptions, with a wider picture; and to create a single coherent but flexible and multi-faceted framework for describing practice as it was continuing to evolve. These descriptions should aspire to cover all the many kinds of settings in which services operate, and all the presenting problems with which complex needs might be expressed

The principle
Those only at the beginnings of this ‘PIE journey’ should not be inhibited by unfavourable comparisons with those more advanced; and those held back by constraints outside their control should be positively encouraged to identify what needed to change outside as well as inside their services.

Ambition and modesty in practice

The Pizazz
The ambition of the Pizazz was similarly that, as far as possible, it should be useful to as many services as possible, at whatever stage, in helping them consider whether this was right for them. It should allow for a wide range in degrees of progress in the development of services in this new direction.

The PIE Abacus
The ambition of the PIE Abacus is then to build on this wider scope, encouraging development now not just within services but between services, in networks - of management hierarchies, locality pathways, communities of practice and research; and in so doing to tackle some of the more systemic issues that we hear are holding back progress in many areas.

The principle (reprise)
In a sector where under-funding, low wages and scruffy buildings are endemic, the PIE Abacus process should not be so demanding of staff willingness, computer literacy etc that it excludes those services, service users and other community groups, that are simply not ready for an investment of time and even quite modest financial costs.

It is tempting to allow for the great British failure – a heroic but ultimately doomed, impossible task, undertaken mainly to lift morale. But it is better to aim instead for a more modest approach, that goes at the highly variable pace of particular services in their particular situation.

The various 'scenarios' (that we are currently developing) aim to illustrate how the PIE Abacus can be far more than just a snapshot assessment of progress, but a toolkit for active transition.