The last week of July 2018 saw a major announcement for PIElink members: The Pizazz is published

The text of the announcement email

For those joining this site after that date, below is the full text of that email.  Much of it duplicates material on other pages here.  (But the section on what the Pizazz is NOT may still be useful.)

Otherwise, for an overall introduction, and links to the basic paperwork pack, see: Introducing : The Pizazz, HERE


After many months of discussions and development, we are finally able to announce to all PIElink members the release of the PIES self-assessment and service specification – a.k.a the Pizazz.

And it’s entirely free, to all registered PIElink members; and to all you may share it with.

As always, you will find the full documentation, and all the background, on the PIElink; and we’d recommend that you start here: Pizazz pages (on the PIELink)

But for this announcement, we have here a VERY brief introduction to what the Pizazzdoes, and doesn’t, do:

  • What IS the Pizazz?
  • What is it NOT?
  • Why is it called 'Pizazz'?
  • How come it’s free?
  • Also….

What IS the Pizazz?

The Pizazz is an approach and an assessment framework especially suited for services that must cater effectively for individuals who may be chronically or multiply excluded, traumatised and stigmatised, where extra care is needed as to how the service as a whole works, to meet those needs.

The Pizazz is a ‘distance travelled’ measure. It does not take an ‘either/or’ approach to development as a PIE; instead it allows services to ask themselves how far they have come already; and what they mean to do now.

Despite the title, the PIzazz actually offers far more than a simple ‘point in time’, snap shot assessment. It also asks useful questions about what helps and hinders a service's development; and what action the service can then take, to build on strengths and tackle problems. It then becomes a change management tool, and not just a static, one-off assessment.

The Pizazz is also designed to prompt and facilitate a more informed discussion between service providers and funders; between frontline staff and Head Office; and also for researchers, looking at the nature and/or the effectiveness of particular aspects of the PIEs approach. (For more on the development, and the need for this approach, see the HomelessLink blog: 'PIEs ten years on: where are we now?'  which is HERE.)

What is it NOT?

  • An outcomes evaluation measure
  • An accreditation process
  • A PIEs instructions manual

Outcomes evaluation.
The Pizazz aims to assess the extent to which any service has developed, and wants to develop, as a PIE. For those services that are commissioned according to expectations of specific outcomes, you will still need to discuss appropriate outcome measures with your funders.

The Pizazz is a self-assessment process, with peer-review as its final stage, rather than reference to any external assessor.  Focussed on ‘horizontal’, peer-to-peer accountability, it is intended as a constructive community of practice alternative to ‘authoritative’ accreditation.

For those services that actually do want to have some form of external, authoritative assessment, we tend to recommend the Enabling Environments award, managed by the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists, as being the closest both in spirit and in range. ( See:Enabling Environments on the PIElink, HERE)

A PIEs instructions manual
The Pizazz does not tell you how to be a PIE. Instead, it asks for your own views on 'where you are at'. But it comes with a Handbook (also free: HERE) of “Useful questions”.

You are certainly entitled to take these questions as an indication as to the kind of things that may make a PIE. But it’s an indication only – you will have to think for yourselves about how relevant those questions are for your service. And then come up with your own answers, and further questions of your own.

PS: On the PIElink you will find plenty more illustrations, issues, case studies, commentaries – enough inspiration for any service to get started on the process.

Why is it called 'Pizazz'?
'Pizazz' is a show biz term, that means flair, sparkle, dynamism, creativity - and maybe a hint of courage, to stand out, and do something bold.

We have adopted it as an acronym for the 'PIEs Self Assessment and Service Specification' process; because the kind of services  we see, and would like to see more of, display all those same characteristics.

Perhaps in the longer run, the Pizazz will be re-branded, and replaced with something a little more straight-laced. But for now, the prospect of a lot of serious funders, in suits, sitting around a committee room table and saying, “Yes, but how are they doing for Pizazz?” was simply irresistible.

How come its free?
The pen-and paper version of the Pizazz is entirely free, and will remain free, because we do not want any limitations of cost to prevent small and cash-strapped services from using it.

It is published under a Creative Commons licence; (HERE)  which means that any one can now use it, provided that:

  • the source is correctly attributed to the PIElink;
  • you do not charge for its use:
  • you do not adapt it - though you are entirely free to add to it any additional sheets that suit your particular needs; and let us know if you find it needs modifying.

There will be an on-line version, currently still in the testing stage, which is probably more suited to the needs of larger organisations and/or commissioners needing an overview of all services in their area; and for this, there will be a licence fee (as with most software).


Using PIEs 2.0
For the moment, the Pizazz only works with the PIEs 2.0 formulation of a PIE. This is at least in part because PIEs 2.0 was designed explicitly with the intention for a more evidence-based assessment approach in mind.

In theory it should be possible to produce a version of the Pizazz that works with the older, ‘classic’ account of a PIE. But in practice, that older version does not work so well as a framework for evidence; and it is more restricted in its range.

Nevertheless, all past training or development work undertaken using the older model will find a place in the 2.0 framework; but some of the things that had seemed confusing are more clearly laid out in the new model.

Coming next: the PIE Abacus
The pen-and-paper version of the Pizazz is suited to small and local services or organisations, and/or to those still fairly new to the PIE approach, or those not familiar yet with PIEs 2.0.

Still in the last stages of development, we will soon be in a position to release the on-line version, the PIE Abacus. This is designed to meet the needs of larger services and systems, needing an overview of multiple services; and it has some powerful analytical features.

Some imagery


You can get involved, and try it out, by going to the PIElink: HERE

They say that announcements work best with a visually striking image followed by the details as to how people can get involved.

But why on earth that image uses pigeons, we simply have no idea.