Introducing the PIE approach

Getting started on 'the PIE journey'

There is no one right way to 'be' a PIE; and likewise, there is no right way to develop as one, or to introduce the PIE approach in existing services.

Unless you are designing a new service from scratch, developing an existing service will depend on two things; where you are coming from, and where you wish to go. Both will be unique to you.

There is no check list of things to do, to be a PIE.  No boxes to simply tick. That way you miss the discussion - which is the best bit.

This is why instead we recommend a self assessment approach. It can also be a helpful way to begin, taking a careful look at the service now, and then assessing current strengths and constraints, and forming an action plan. There is more on this at the bottom of this page.

It is important, though, to take this at the natural pace of your own services' development, as far as you can . The PIE approach is not best imposed from above; or from outside, by funders.


Introducing the PIE framework

One thing we can say with confidence, though, is that developing as a PIE is not a linear process, one with a start and a finish. For starters, it doesn't have an end point. The process is circular; every development helps another along. As we see it, being a PIE is a continuous process - more a journey than a destination.

Even the idea of a PIE, we suggest, has evolved, and is still evolving, in a continuous process of dialogue between 'the ideas people' and the services themselves, exploring these ideas.  You can trace some of the history of this 'development in dialogue' via the links in the side panel (or below, on a mobile. )

Secondly, it is a multi-faceted, holistic approach; and you will be able to go further and faster in some areas than in others  (HERE) .

Thirdly, there is a limit to how far any one team or agency can go, on your own.  The further you get, the more you will find that you need to talk to other services in your area about how to work better with them.  There is a fairly good account (HERE) of some of the conversations we have had on 'embedding' the PIE approach from top-to-toe in any one agency. We soon found that you have to look beyond (HERE).


PIEs in other sectors

Also, much of the content on this site is about how we develop psychologically informed services to meet the challenge of homelessness, as this is the area where the PIE approach has had most impact. It's here that the PIEs practice framework was first fully developed.

But the ideas and practice that gave rise to the term are far more widespread; and PIEs in other fields are equally valuable (see: Is a PIE just about homelessness?' HERE for some ideas).

Whatever context you may be working in, on these pages, you will find plenty of advice, examples, inspiration, some training material, and other 'food for thought', to help you on your way.


Taking inspiration from others

It may also be helpful to know of some examples of how other services have fared. You might want to start by consider the first few items here, which describe the various approaches that a handful of services had taken in consciously adopting the PIE approach to their client group and circumstances.

But categorising all this is easier said than done. The PIE 2.0 approach is so flexible, and so adaptable to many different services and kinds of service - as it was intended to be (HERE)  - that it is just not possible to pick out a half dozen or so 'typical' PIEs.

(Add to that the fact that when we first started looking for the common threads between so many different approaches, many of the examples we first use did not call themselves PIEs, simply because the word had not been invented yet. Many still have not even heard the term. Then add to that the fact that quite a few services began their PIE journey using the earlier descriptions - PIEs 1 - and so what it is that they say they are examples of is, not always easily located here. )

The case studies pages on this site are therefore some of the messiest and least well structured pages. But please DO have a browse around (HERE and HERE) .


Learning together

But this is not the only way, and not even the best way.  One of the bolder claims behind this whole way of thinking is that 'we learn best when we learn from each other' (HERE).

We hope that at some point in the not-too-distant future we may be able to resume the on-line forums of 2021; and even to go further, with webinars, local events, and a host of other such interactive engagement possibilities.

But in the meantime, in you own local area, and/or in groupings in your own speciality :  talk to each other.


Using the Pizazz for service development

The Pizazz  (HERE) is a self-assessment and service development tool, originally devised for services that wish to track their progress as a PIE. What we are finding, however, is that many services find it useful to introduce this quite early in the process, as it helps to focus on the specific actions that a service can take, in interpreting the general approach in their specific context..

For those wanting to start quite modestly with the Pizazz, in a quite informal and almost casual fashion, do take a look at 'the coffee break Pizazz' (HERE); and some other comments on using informality, in what we call 'peer review' (HERE).



Further background reading/listening/viewing


Navigating this site : HERE

Digging deeper : HERE

'A little bit PIE'd'? : HERE

Roll out and 'top-to-toe embedding' : HERE

Can commissioning help to encourage PIEs? : HERE


Creating a Psychologically Informed Environment at Rock Trust (above)

(A presentation on Rock Trust's use of the Pizazz, from a FEANTSA on-line practice share event)


A sample of Library items

PLEASE NOTE: after a recent system upgrade, some library items are temporarily inaccessible. We are working to fix this as fast as we can.

Wellness Action Planning (for staff welfare) : HERE

Duneddin Canmore: colour coding spacesHERE 

PIEs at the Wallich - rethinking the buildingHERE

Simon Community - Glasgow Access Hub (short video) : HERE

Complex needs and building adaptation at King George's :  HERE   and HERE

Y Adapt - developing a PIE (with a Clubhouse  model):  HERE

A window on engagementHERE

Back on your feet (user engagement) - Suzanne Quinney -  HERE

Pre-treatment –  the core skills of engagement with Jay S, Levy -  HERE

A Whole New World – Toby Lowe et al –  HERE

Westminster City’ Ten Top Tips - Victoria Aseervatham –  HERE

Towards a PIE city – Sian Clark -  HERE


From the early years of PIEs 1 development

Developing a psychological model: learning from a Housing Association pilot - Aileen Edwards - HERE

Implementing a Psychologically Informed Environment in a service for young homeless people - Jeremy Woodcock & Jamie Gill -  HERE

Y-Adapt - Y people staff team –  HERE

Highwater House annual report –  (Coming Soon)



From the case studies collections:

  • Introducing the PIE approach : HERE
  • The built environment and adaptations : HERE
  • Using the whole environment: HERE
  • Outreach, pathways, and environments without buildings : HERE
  • PIEs, communities and a sense of belonging : HERE
  • Clubhouses, cores, and campus models : HERE
  • PIEs in therapy settings : HERE
  • 'Psychologically informed business environments' : HERE
  • Whole system PIEs  : HERE
  • PIEs and ‘exclusion-informed research’ HERE


The Future

The Future of PIE and the PIElink: HERE