Is the PIE evolving? (Summary)

Is the PIE evolving? 

The idea of a psychologically informed environment, a PIE, has emerged in the space of just a few years to become one of the more interesting - even inspiring - new ways of thinking about the services we create and provide for vulnerable people, and particularly in the field of homelessness.

But if, as it has been said, becoming and being a PIE is more a journey than a destination then the same might be need to be true of the PIE concept itself; and might need to be particularly true of the operational framework that has developed, to express and put this idea into effect.

Much of this framework has evolved in numerous discussions over a period of 10 years or so;  but one major step forward came about via an on-line working party's discussions. Through the links in the column opposite you can trace the development of these ideas.


From the first outlines to 'PIEs One" - the 'classic' account

In the first pages here, we trace the origins of the concept of a PIE, and the broader context in which this idea arose; then look at the original (2010) formulations of what a PIE is. This followed by the more detailed version that developed over the next few years (from 2012- approx 2016).

We then explore some of the more problematic areas in that 'classic' formulation, and some of the new areas and more recent developments in practice that the idea now needed to address. In summary:

The roots: the origins of the PIE in practice, in the social inclusion policies of the millennial years Labour government in the UK; the earlier roots in social psychiatry, therapeutic communities and 'enabling environments': the wider context of the changing nature of commissioned services in the New Public Management; and the more personal journeys of some of the founders of the project.

The original account : the first formulation of the term PIE, in an article by Johnson & Haigh, and its immediate adoption in the guidance published by the UK Dept of Communities and Local Government, and the National Mental Health Development Unit

The ‘classic’ formulation : the more 'in-depth' and 'operational' guidance produced by the same team, and developed further by the Managed Innovation Network seminar series, and the assessment and implementation guidance for services, commissioned by Westminster City Council

Problematic areas in the classic formulation : some of the areas of the 'classic' formulation that proved problematic or contentious, with some of the attempts made to reconcile developing practice with the more formal definition of a PIE.

New areas to incorporate : some of the areas that had not been part of the original formulation, but yet were clearly relevant, and/or overlapping with the general idea and common practice of PIEs.

A new formulation : some revised formulations that might prove more comprehensive, more flexible, and yet also more adaptable to the future development of PIEs, as a service model.

PIEs 2.0 emerges

PIEs 2.0

Next we sketch out the emerging outlines of the revised formulation, known as PIEs 2.0,  incorporating and expanding on the earlier accounts, and addressing the problematic areas.

This revised version aimed to be not only more up-to-date, but also perhaps better suited to new needs, such as research, and service specification. But any revised version should aim to achieve greater precision, whilst - crucially - retaining the flexibility and needs-led character of the original. It also needed to be 'backwards compatible' - to include as far as possible all the elements of the earlier account.

This revised formulation was published in late 2017; and immediately dubbed 'PIEs 2.0' - which is the name we have used ever since. There is now an entire section of this website outlining the new formulation (HERE); and it is this formulation that is now mainly used, throughout this site.


Later : the Pizazz, and the PIE Abacus 

Finally in the summer of 2018, the Pizazz, a self-assessment framework for services, was introduced based on this new formulation (HERE); and this was followed, in 2021, by the PIE Abacus, an on-line version of the Pizazz which, as software is better suited to communications and practice share in larger organisations and networks.

(For a discussion of the underlying principles and requirements of a PIEs specification tool, see the sections on 'Distance travelled', elsewhere on this site.)


See the video on 'Constantly catching up with developing practice' for a narrative approach to the same development story: HERE

See also:

"Memes; a cautionary tale, Part One; The psychologically Informed Environment"

Distance travelled: towards a PIEs assessment and specification tool 

Further background reading/listening/viewing

PIElink pages


From the origins to PIEs One

The roots : HERE

The original accounts of a PIE : HERE

The 'classic' account emerges : HERE

Problematic areas : HERE

New and emerging areas to include : HERE

A new formulation emerges : HERE


PIEs 2.0

PIEs 2.0- the development process : HERE

PIEs 2.0 - backwards compatibility : HERE

The Pizazz - on paper and on screen : HERE

The Pizazz approach to assessment : HERE

The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE


And beyond?

PIEs and Trauma Informed Care : HERE

PIEs and Housing First : HERE

PIEs 1, 2 - and 3? : HERE

American PIE ? : HERE


Library items

The cycles of practice-based learning : HERE

Memes: a cautionary tale (of TCs and PIEs) : HERE

Distance travelled; towards a PIE assessment and specification tool : HERE

PIEs Ten years on: where are we now? : HERE