An advisory group (or 'editorial board') for the PIElink

Taking it forward from here

The PIElink was first created as a resource for PIEs by Robin Johnson, the original author of the PIEs approach, and for the first 7-8 years was managed single-handedly by Robin as 'curator' or 'editor'. But Robin's intention was always for the site to be more than a resource library, and to host an interactive community of practice; though it was only with the advent of COVID that engagement with live streaming became commonplace for all.

Over this time the PIEs idea grew, and was taken up in many areas besides homelessness and hostels-based work; and the site grew in scope, to match this evolution. It was already outgrowing the level of in-put that any one man could provide; and being by then in his mid-70s, Robin was keen to pass this resource on to a new generation; though in the end if it was health problems that precipitated and accelerated the transition to next stages.

The lunchtime forums of Spring 2022 therefore discussed the future of the PIElink, after Robin's retirement not just as editor here, but as the key theorist and overall 'steward' of PIEs. The videos in the side panel explain the ideas Robin had, in a characteristically informal and  lively style.

But here, for those that prefer the written word, is Robin's proposal, in brief:


"What I would like to see is a small group – probably just one to two dozen individuals, who would be willing in principle to be part of an editorial/advisory board for the future direction of the PIElink - and especially the more interactive 'community of practice' possibilities such as the forums and SIGs, webinars and similar.

"That is to say, the purpose of this group would not be to run the website and the discussions, but simply to advise whoever IS doing so on what is happening ‘in the field’ – what issues need addressing.

"But with a broadly-based editorial or advisory group to represent the full range of interest in PIEs, it could then be workable for one single agency to take on the day-to-day running of the site. If that agency was a social enterprise, with an assets lock, it can then attract philanthropic investment, to allow it to even expand beyond what one person on their own (me) can do....".


Keeping it real

"The time commitment involved overall in participating in the group would have to be no more than is compatible with the members' ‘day job’ – the point being that they are bringing their real world knowledge to the table.   In fact, preferably their involvement should be something actually positive for their work, something they benefit from.

"This may help ensure that those who are there to represent the views and experience of the staff and services – and users - of a particular agency or sector are not in a conflict of priorities over the time they might devote to it.

"So I would anticipate that live, ‘real time’ meetings of the board would be every two or three months; and that all meetings would be virtual, with no travel time to include. However, in between these meetings there is likely to be some further time commitment, by email and/or live streamed conversations, over particular issues".

(NB: As things stand, we have no confirmed partnership arrangement with an organisation that might provide the 'production team', for the advisory group to advise. But we are working on it.)


And why do it?

"This level of participation might be attractive for agencies whose primary role and raison d’etre is to represent the views of services in their sector. They may expect to benefit both from having a say in the direction of PIEs and the PIElink, and for the opportunity to confer and learn from others in parallel fields.

"Nevertheless, some of the more advanced provider agencies do see themselves as having a role in promoting innovative practice outside and beyond their own services, and they may equally welcome the same opportunity to confer and learn from others in parallel fields."


A further advisory role for the group

Although advising on developments with the PIElink as a community of practice website will be the primary role of the editorial board,  there is an important potential secondary role that follows quite naturally from that. That is, to advise on the continuing development of PIEs, and of the Pizazz and the PIE Abacus.

In the four years since its publication, the Pizazz on paper has gained users and momentum – now even a growing evidence base for effectiveness – as an instrument for ‘front-line led’ service development. The software version the PIE Abacus, now allows us to take this still further, in developing whole agency embedding, but also in using the Pizazz approach in networks, including in locality networks to address more systemic 'hindrances’. (For examples, see : HERE)

The Pizazz and the PIE Abacus themselves also need to keep evolving, responsive to innovation and creativity in the field; and the editorial board may well prove to be a useful sounding board for future development in the software, and the guidance on its use. This role is now written in to the operational policis of PIEPR, the Community of Interest Company now formed to continue the work, see: HERE


And what else?

For the 'business' side of continuing the PIElink, see the page 'And now a word for our sponsors' :  HERE

And for more details on the Community of Interest Company PIEPR, see: HERE

Further background reading/listening/viewing

Background thinking and business plans

And now a word for our sponsors :  HERE

An advisory group ( or 'editorial board') for the PIElink : HERE 

Core members : HERE



A quick summary of one possible future:

Income via the PIE Abacus


FAQs - Costs and sustainability: HERE

Company structures, partnerships and a (more) modest strategy for maintaining the PIElink : HERE

Licences, costs, and the Abacus income re-investment strategy:


Income via the vocational training model

Is this the future of vocational training? :  HERE

Is this the future of academic publishing : HERE

The role of an incubator partner : HERE

The homelessness sector as beneficiaries   :  HERE

Company structures and partnerships for significant growth :  HERE

A still more imaginative future possibility: vocational training


And a thought on three ways to retire: