boots by a gate

Members' newsletter archive

Every month - with just the occasional lapse - we produce an 'Editor's Selection' of half a dozen or so recent published papers, video or podcasts that are particularly relevant to PIEs. 

In the panel opposite, you can see the title and a very quick summary of the main items, in each of the selection from recent newsletters. If you want to look up any item, check the date, and then click through to the MailChimp link, which is where they are stored.

Most newsletters contain news items, too, that members have sent in. This can be a good way to advertise an event, or publication of a paper. But you can also post an items in the News and Events page. 

 

Guest editing

We would be happy to invite others to take a turn at guest editing the newsletter. Just drop us an email, and we can talk over what it entails..

 

 

 

 

 

Past newsletters.

For the full archive of newsletters click HERE, for newsletters before October 2016 click HERE.

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NB: There is no August newsletter; and September's newsletter takes the form of a PIElink members' survey.

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JULY 2017 NEWSLETTER

On many kinds of strength.  

June’s newsletter was entirely given over to two central issues – the notion of 'scaffolding' as PIE practice, and an exciting 'new paradigm' for commissioning for complexity.   By contrast, July’s newsletter was going to revert to our more normal practice of covering a range of issues from recent publications. Except that, as so often, a core theme then emerges anyway: working with strengths.

The strengths model in action
Suzanne Quinney’s work in the Appreciative Inquiry approach (AI) is based in positive psychology and a strengths model, and an explicit critique of approaches that focus first and foremost on needs and vulnerabilities.  So this month we feature several examples of her work:

  • 'Appreciative Inquiry: the principles' spells out AI's interwoven core themes of social construction, simultaneity, anticipation, positivity – and 'poetry'. It's HERE
  • 'Where did it all go right?' is an account of a workshop Suzanne ran with health services staff, illustrating the value in 're-framing' approaches to risk in their work. It's HERE
  • We then have a paper (in two parts) in the Library on AI as applied in her work some years ago with King George’s hostel in Westminster: Part One, with the principles and pilot study, is HERE and Part Two, on the results and evaluation, is HERE
  • See also the video ‘Back on your feet; building resilience with hostel residentsHERE and 'Appreciative Inquiry and CBT', a short interview with one of the workers who had participated describing the after effects of that work, HERE.

Survival strengths
We need to bear in mind too, what real strength is needed just to survive on the streets; and this report from Crisis HERE on the violence many homeless people have encountered is salutary.

Emilie Smeaton's has written on the needs of “detached” young people - those who have runaway from home. In her commentary HERE on the PIEs guidance of 2012, she cautioned that services, In addition to highlighting their vulnerability, must also recognise such young people’s survival strategies, and the need in services to provide a social context that promotes such hard-won, still fragile resilience.

Strengths in their own eyes
As part of a recent training course on Pretreatment and PIEs, Jay Levy – using his customary narrative approach to teaching - describes how much he learned, as a newly qualified social worker, from understanding the importance of the strengths and the task, as he saw it, of one particular homeless individual – Old Man Ray – without which he could never have engaged Ray, when he DID need help. This is HERE.

Strength from others 
We tend to think of strength as a personal characteristic; but not all strength comes from within; we also all draw strength from each other. As Coral Westaway described in 'Developing best practice in Psychologically Informed Environments' (HERE)  which we featured last month, the real role of staff is often to 'hold the hope' for an individual, until they are strong enough to hold it themselves.

Alcoholics Anonymous used to suggest that we find strength in a belief in a higher power. Yet, as we argued in ‘Substance abuse, recovery and '"outer strength" ’, people can find strength in each other, as peers; and from a group or a community, which can 'hold the strength'.  NB: this was the linking editorial comment before Brian Morgan’s Building recovery communities,  in 'Complex Trauma and Its effects. - perspectives on creating an environment for recovery,' which talks of the strengths of autonomy in the economics of a funded group project. That whole chapter is HERE.

Moral strength
Feeling 'in the right' is a source of great moral strength for many. Yet it seems a debate has recently flared over where the moral high ground lies, in homelessness work, rather comparable to the discussions twenty years or more ago on harm reduction, needles exchange, pregnancy advice, dependency and other such areas.  

In 'How can we ethically respond to rough sleeping?", HERE, Beth Watts suggests that rather than falling into divisive positions, for and against any particular mode of provision, we might ask a number of key questions of all interventions over their purpose and effect.
(NB: This article is a blogpost summary of a much more in-depth and more academic discussion of legitimate purpose, voluntarism, and effects or outcomes, to be found HERE),

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JUNE 2017 NEWSLETTER 

June’s newsletter is entirely devoted to two recently published documents, plus some supporting material, that between them sum up much of what the PIE concept – the practice, the attitude, the learning curve – has been all about. They are:

  • 'Developing best practice in Psychologically Informed Environments', by Coral Westaway and colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire. HERE
  • 'A Whole New World: Funding and Commissioning in Complexity', by Anabel Davidson Knight and colleagues at Collaborate and Newcastle University HERE 

Scaffolding of hope
Coral Westaway’s paper 'Developing best practice in Psychologically Informed Environments', introduces what may well be a new term to the vocabulary of Psychologically Informed Environments.   At least, the word may be new, for those outside the world of education (where it is more familiar); but it gets to the heart of what homelessness services, and others, are doing.

"The relational nature of hope” is the wonderful phrase used in Westaway's (beautifully written) article from the Spring 2017 issue of Housing Care and Support, which is now in the Library HERE.  In this paper she describes and analyses, from interviews with people who have had multiple experiences of hostel living, what really mattered to them.

You can also listen to two short podcasts, exploring the term. The first, HERE, on 'The relational nature of hope; and scaffolding' is an excerpt from a recording of a conversation with Coral herself and her tutor, Lizette Nolte, over Coral’s research, the concept of scaffolding, and 'Exclusion-informed psychology' discusses the need for an approach in psychology research which is highly sensitive to the issues found amongst chronically excluded ‘research subjects”, HERE

Scaffolding for staff learning
Later in the conversation with Coral Westaway we turn to Coral’s supervisor and co-author, Lizette Nolte,  who suggests that ‘scaffolding’ also can describe the work of management, through supervision, organisation and staffing structures, in providing support for the workers in such services to manage the challenges of work that can be draining.  This too, she suggests, is a form of scaffolding, as managers help staff learn resilience and useful insights, in ‘holding the hope’.  You can hear 'Holding the hope: scaffolding for staff, and what we can learn here for PIEs development', HERE 

Two other podcasts and one article, featured here, also spell out how this can work in practice.
'Up mountains; recovery and manageable challenges' (an extract from a recent BBC Radio “Call you and yours’ programme) is HERE
'How The Big Issue works'; an interview with CEO Steve Robertson (one of our ‘Golden Oldies’) is HERE
'Manageable chunks of time', by Graham Gardner, is HERE

Re-scaffolding : contracts, complex  outcomes and evaluations
 We can then take the same extended concept of scaffolding, and apply it to the wider systemic frameworks that support or inhibit the development of services in meeting the challenges of complexity, responsiveness, and evaluation.

'A Whole New World: Funding and Commissioning in Complexity' is a major new paper from Collaborate, in conjunction with Newcastle University, which spells out brilliantly how we can, and why we must, go beyond the constraints of the established commissioning culture, to meet the needs of those with complex needs

In the name of “The New Public Management”, an approach has emerged in the UK over 20+ years in which the principal focus of government was on ‘delivery’ with a preference for time-limited contracts and narrowly defined outcomes; and a deeper culture of a pervasive mistrust of providers.   The full Collaborate report and analysis, complete with many quotes from local commissioners and providers, will paint a picture that many can recognise, both of what goes wrong, and what goes right. This report is in the Library, HERE

With the permission of the Collaborate/Newcastle team, we have produced a shorter version, with three particularly telling extracts, illustrating some of the key points.   Most useful – and highly recommended - is their chart (Appendix Two of the full report) with a comparison between approaches which illustrates the shift between the culture of NPM, and the new paradigm that they believe they see now emerging. This excerpt is HERE

Further explorations
For this un-doing of an established management and commissioning culture that no longer meets the needs of the time (if it ever did) and its replacement with a new approach, we will suggest a new term: re-scaffolding.    The term 're-scaffolding' deliberately aims to connect these two key facets of the PIE approach - connecting the user-facing work and the system-facing work of services

Because this concept touches on so many area of the PIE approach, we now have a whole page on Re-scaffolding on the PIElink’s “Questions’ area, HERE.  

This provides room for further elaboration of this useful and multi-faceted concept, including the roots of the idea in education, in social constructionist thinking and in complexity theory; and more practical applications.

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MAY 2017 NEWSLETTER

May's newsletter focuses on evaluation, introducing a whole new page on the issue, on the PIElink.  Plus a handful of interesting (and brief) recent items that offer new insights into working with the most excluded.  Plus a new feature for the newsletter: the 'Golden Oldie'

On evaluation 
The PIElink's new 'On evaluation' page (HERE) starts with  some general points on evaluation relevant to PIEs and complex needs, plus - as always - multiple links to explore, for further insights, views and interviews, including:

  • A correspondence on outcomes for PIEs (HERE
  • Complex needs and evidence based treatments (HERE
  • The range of data on complex needs (HERE
  • Formative vs summative evaluation (HERE

and many more besides

Snippets
Useful (brief) insights on

  • memory, trauma, and supported preparation for future challenges (HERE
  • The use of 'we' and 'generic you' as shared language (HERE
  • Swearing as DIY empowerment (HERE

The Golden Oldie
This new end section is an opportunity to revisit some of the great content from past years. So, digitally re-mastered to bring the whole presentation together:

  • Victoria Aseervatham's 'Top Tips for commissioners' (HERE

 

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APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER

Sometimes newsletters seem to naturally be about one particular thing; and sometimes not.  April's newsletter has a lot about a developing dialogue between the UK and the US over developments such as Housing First, and Trauma Informed Care; and what we can learn from each other. Plus a couple of useful insights into alcohol.....

We begin with two papers, outlining the connections between psychologically informed environments and trauma informed care.

  • An introduction to Psychologically Informed Environments and Trauma Informed Care: a briefing for homelessness services from HomelessLink HERE
  • Core skills of engagement - pre-treatment, trauma-informed care and psychologically informed environments:   HERE

Then two examples of services – one in the UK, and one in the US - that are using both; in this case, in the context of domestic violence.

  • Rainbow services: Trauma Informed Care and Psychologically Informed Environments with Intimate Partner Violence services in Los Angeles: HERE
  • Person-centred, holistic, psychologically informed : the Young Women’s Housing Project approachHERE

We then have numerous items on the current impact of the adoption of Housing First as a government policy, in the US.

  • The first (as promised last month) is a commentary, from a European perspective on a policy statement issued in the US on substance abuse and 'Recovery Housing' (which you will find HERE), and the US federal government's attempts at reconciling HF principles with the expressed wishes of some residents to have ‘dry houses’, and even to pass through rehabilitation services. HERE
  • The second, 'Intersections between the Domestic Violence and Homelessness Programs' describes the closure of domestic violence services in California, for failing to fit the Housing First model; HERE
  • The third, 'Community First!' brings recent news items on the creativity HF has brought in Austin Texas, in reconciling instant housing with a strong community ethos HERE
  • The fourth, 'A discussion with Veterans Village CEO Kevin Jamison', offers a contrasting view from veterans housing services (in Missouri) adamantly refusing to use HF principles; HERE
  • The fifth, HERE, is a podcast collection, excerpts from the Q&A of recent discussions and presentations, taking questions raised on developments in Housing First in the US, England, Scotland and France.

And then for some light relief (?) two recent psychology research papers with useful insights for working with alcohol.

  • Research on social effects of alcohol offers insights into street drinking: HERE  
  • Research on engagement with alcohol treatment for people with a personality disorder, giving some cause for optimism: HERE

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MARCH 2017 NEWSLETTER

NB: Here you will find primarily material in video form from the 'Making It Count' research and evidence conference on PIEs, London, 31st Feb 2017.   But also some additional video that is well worth a look: on introducing reflective practice, and on a new approach - pretreatment therapy.

Robin Johnson and Claire Ritchie, jointly presenting the conference introduction, with
"A very brief history of PIEs';  VIDEO HERE
"The key elements of a PIE" : VIDEO HERE; and
"A VERY brief future of PIEs' : VIDEO HERE 

"The lessons learned from an evaluation of facilitated PIEs training", by Sophie BoobisVIDEO HERE

"Using Open Dialogue in research and development"Sophie Boobis and Ray Middleton co-presenting on their own journey into co-working : VIDEO HERE

"How to conduct client-centred research with people with complex needs". with Becky Rice and Juliette Howe VIDEO HERE

"Using multiple data sources to show effectiveness with complex needs"Grant Everitt of Opportunity Nottingham (and Framework Housing),  VIDEO HERE

"A brief future of PIEs" -  Robin Johnson on proposals for a new PIEs self assessment and specification framework - the PIE Abacus (NB: this a longer version of the morning's introduction, described as the VERY brief future; VIDEO HERE

And also:
John Conolly, at the Homeless Health conference, on integrating pre-treatment with therapy, for  multiple exclusion homelessness.  VIDEO HERE

Renzo Cardosi of Ypeople, East Kilbride, interviews Robin Johnson on "What do we know of the value of reflective practice?" : VIDEO HERE

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FEBRUARY 2017 NEWSLETTER
Service development reports, training resources, recent research, and food for thought: the monthly essay:

Y-Adapt
Originally embargo’ed during a round of local contract tendering, Ypeople’s are now releasing this outline for developing a clubhouse model, as one version of the PIE.
Find it HERE.

Housing First: a case study of Fulfilling Lives - early stage evaluation report 
This is an early findings report on the introduction of Housing First in the London boroughs of Camden and Islington as part of the Fulfilling Lives programme pilots on tackling complex needs and multiple exclusion.
Find it HERE

Surviving homelessness: rebuilding lives and mental well-being
A very effective training video offered (free) as a resource for new staff and volunteers. Produced to a very good professional standard by Community Advance Project, this video is nevertheless also very person-centred, focussing on the experience both of homeless people themselves, and the workers working with them.
Find it HERE.

Reflective Practice
In this video, Renzo Cardosi of Ypeople interviews Robin Johnson on the value of reflective practice, and the various ways it might be introduced.
Find it HERE.

Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta analysis
This summary of multiple published studies, which finds that loneliness is as significant a cause of mortality as many other features such as smoking or diabetes, has implications for what we should regard as a satisfactory outcome in housing of those most at risk of social exclusion.
Find it HERE.

Highways and Buyways:  A snapshot of UK drug scenes 2016
A survey by DrugWise on recent street drug developments and usage covers synthetic cannabinoids (aka Spice)and other street drugs. We re-publish it here both for its inherent information value, and as an example of independent and committed research .
Find it HERE.

Change, Justice and Fairness 
Why should we have to move everywhere and everything because of him?”   A participatory action research report from Scotland on homelessness as a result of domestic or sexual abuse has findings that doubtless apply over the border, and across all borders.
Find it HERE.

The neuroscience of singing
On a more up-beat note:  a summary of research on the health benefits of singing together suggests that participation in groups enhances even very simple ‘feel good’ activities and has both immediate and long term benefits
Find it HERE.

The monthly essay -   Housing First: addressing the community dimension
February’s essay builds on a number of discussions in both the US and the UK, exploring the evolution of the Housing First model from one that looks solely at tenancy rights and individualised support, to one that considers the value of a sense of belonging, and of peer support, with a community work model.
Find it HERE.

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JANUARY 2017 NEWSLETTER 

NB: January's newsletter began with one early announcement - of a forthcoming conference; two attractive free offers  - process consultancy and "training, grant-funding, peer to peer support and expert advice" on SROI;  and three invitations to participate in PIE developments, including the "PIE clinics",   Plus :

"Live, learn, grow; supporting transitions to adulthood for homeless youth" a report from the Canadian HomelessHub that endorses the foyers model, and suggests - refreshingly! - that services in Canada have much to learn from such services in the UK. 

'Ending homelessness faster by focussing on 'what works' Towards a world-leading centre for homelessness impact'. Glasgow Housing Network are proposing the creation of a new study centre devoted to research on impact of homelessness interventions. This report, by Ligia Texeira of Crisis, is a feasibility study and outline business case for the proposed centre.

'St Basils Psychologically Informed Environments – meeting the emotional and psychological needs of young homeless people''. This report and evaluation study of the introduction of a PIE framework by researchers at the local university shows not just the impact of the development, but also the value in making links with local universities.

'Traumatic brain injury and offending described as 'an economic analysis', but it also covers the scale and the consequences of TBI, and may be useful, especially for those working with younger offenders.

DECEMBER 2016 NEWSLETTER

New thoughts on:  Is the PIE evolving? a thread of new PIElink exploring how the PIEs concept and practice has evolved over 5 years; and suggesting the early outline of a revised version, for the future. 

Three new items exploring issues for women and homelessness, from Changing Lives' Gap project on harm reduction working with sex workers, and a new approach from GDASS, using a strengths model and target hardening, to escaping domestic violence; plus an item from BBC Radio's Women's Hour on women, exclusion and rehab, that you may well have missed. 

The French connection:  Une conversation avec Anne-Paul Lerosier  is the first of a thread of discussions and presentations in French.

From Labour List - a briefing for activists - we have the first hints of Labour's approach to homelessness,

A reminder that January 31st 2017 would see the National conference on research and evaluation of PIEs.

Plus not one but TWO monthly essays:  December’s essay “Everything you ever wanted to know about PIEs, but were afraid to ask”   and also  “ A way of life?” – a personal comment on time when you are homeless, in prose poem form, from Paul Ashton, published belatedly as the November essay.

November 2016

November's newsletter is a special issue, devoted to research and evaluation of PIEs, with

News of the forthcoming conference, Making it count.

Research mapping; a call for details of any published, current, ongoing or planned research that members are willing to share.

PIEs evaluation framework: a working party to explore a new approach - Distance travelled

September 2016 offers three fresh perspectives on Housing First in the US
From the editor's field trip to the US in the Spring, we have a batch of videos with up-to-date news on how Housing First (HF) has been and is still being developed there.

 The development of Father Bill's and Mainspring services   John Yaswinski and April Connolly describe the needs-led evolution of their homeless services in Quincey, Massachusetts, as one of the pioneers of Housing First.

Why HF developed in the US when it did  The conversation with John Yaswinski and April Connolly continues, turning into a more in-depth exploration of how 'reforms' to mental health services in the US let so many drop through - creating a whole new client group with complex needs that previous service models had not been geared for.

A more skeptical view of how individuals are housed via Housing First  A very different view of Housing First from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the  Groundcover street newspaper team team.

Street homelessness and the need for community; Groundcover's Kiela Crabtree talks of the strength of community in street homelessness, and the need for services supporting individuals to be aware of and respect those needs.

From initial creativity to a government-mandated programme; the strengths and weakness of this shift.  Jay Levy is a supporter of HF; but well aware of how it can be - and has been - over-promoted as the panacea for all ills. 

A PIE of pathways: providing continuity for fragmented selves Jay then describes the work of his own team, the REACH service in Western  Massachusetts, in providing valuable continuity through all the stages of recovery to housing.

August 2016

Impact claim: how can you be sure you cause the change?
A short think piece, and an introduction to Sinzer's useful (and free) easy-reading step-by-step guide to Social Return On Investment.

"But surely they choose to live like this?"
A podcast from Jay Levy, on that awkward question that so many - politicians in particular -  still seem to ask shows, once again, the importance of finding the words to explain ourselves to each other. 

Loving Beggars: how to escape from stereotypes about street people
A provocative think piece by Cambridge University anthropologist Johannes Lenhard, on starting to see relationships between street beggars.

Wodehouse Eaves; dismantling the 'leaving care' crisis.
An account by Robin Johnson of an adolescents' hostel run by Social Services in North London in the 1970s which challenged conventional thinking, and raises some interesting questions now about the role of a "home", and the nature of authority and community. 

A review of nature-based interventions for mental health care,
This report, by Rachel Bragg and Gavin Atkins, was commissioned by Natural England. It covers a lot of the challenges in research and commissioning for environment-based approaches.

'The PIE report is live!'
Ray Middleton's first blog describes Fulfilling Lives'  evaluation of developing PIEs ( as reported also in last month's newsletter). 

Randomised controlled trial of GP-led in-hospital management of homeless people (‘Pathway’)
The Faculty's Nigel Hewett (and others) report on an RCT trial of a primary care led healthcare for the homeless in hospital. It's HERE.

July 2016

In On outreach and community an interview with Brendan Plante, we hear, amongst other things, the story of how 200 people turned out for the funeral of a local homeless man.

"Evaluation of a Dialogical Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) Pilot" - a study for Fulfilling Lives of the implementation of the PIE framework in three selected services in the North East. 

"Saving Lives, Saving Money", is an evaluation by the Young Foundation of the homeless healthcare peer support advocacy service, provided by Groundswell, in London; and

'Progression Together"  a study by the Mental Health Foundation of personalised, self-directed support (SDS), in three step-down residential care units run by Together.

June 2016

"Six key principles of a trauma informed approach" - a summary, from the US Mental Health and Substance Abuse Agency

"How Common Trauma Reactions May Explain Some 'Difficult' Behaviors or Reactions Within Homeless Service Settings" by Elizabeth Hopper and colleagues; 

"Trauma in human experience" - an introduction to the concept of trauma, and complex trauma, from Robin Johnson.  

'Camp Take Notice', a short film on a democratic community created by and for homeless people in Ann Arbor, Michigan

April & May : no newsletter - the Editor was away

March 2016

Is a PIE just about homelessness? A new (and mercifully short) thinkpiece from Robin Johnson:  

Participatory appraisal Zack Ahmed on a useful tool for facilitating service users engagement in service design and gap mapping;  

How a 'politics of listening' could change Britain. A view from the rough sleepers sandwich run on Jeremy Corbyn's new politics   

The PIElink members' questionnaire asks: what works, here, and what doesn't work, for you? Your chance to have a say in what we do next.

February 2016

An interview with Sophie Boobis on Newcastle & Gateshead's approach to evaluation of three PIE pilot schemes

Mental Health Foundation's literature and evidence review on PIEs;  

Kenny Forsyth of Streetworks,  on trauma in homelessness

Ruth Franciska on using her car as a PIE. 

HomelessLink's webinar with Jo Prestidge and Claire Ritchie on the close relationship between PIEs and Trauma Informed Care 

January 2016

Two chapters from Jay Levy's brilliant Pretreatment books;  

"Take a chance on me" with Dick Laban on the pre-contemplative stage:

Three new recorded Blab (live streamed) discussions with Ray Middleton : on PIEs, on pretreatment and on Open Dialogue ('healing conversations').

The Alliance for Useful Evidence publishes a free practice guide on Using Research Evidence.: and

a preview of an article from Robin Johnson on Housing First, PIEs, Trauma Informed Care, pretreatment and system change brokering.

December 2015

YPeople launch their ClubHouse PIE development plan;

Nick Maguire quizzes Robin Johnson  on defining homelessness   

Creating a Psychologically Informed Environment’: by Claire Ritchie, for Westminster City Council