PIE accreditation?

The case for accreditation

Within the (still relatively small) community of PIE enthusiasts - trainers, consultants, commissioners and 'PIE leads' - you will sometimes hear the suggestion that we may need some kind of accreditation for PIEs.

As the PIE approach is so flexible, it's all too easy, it is said, for any service to say that it IS a PIE, while making at best a few superficial changes - or at worst, simply imposing this claim as a demand on services - with no-one to disagree or hold them to account for that claim.

The viewpoint of this website - reflecting that of the editor and the original author of the term 'PIE', Robin Johnson, - is that this suggestion of some form of external accreditation is understandable; but it is absolutely the wrong way to to go. There are two or three main reasons for that.

The case against accreditation

Firstly, being a PIE is (a) multifaceted, so that it is very possible - in fact, normal - to make more progress in one area than in another; and (b) always a matter of degrees of progress, in each and every area.  It is therefore, we tend to say, more like a long jump than a high jump.

Secondly, accreditation would remove the power to learn and develop and innovate from the frontline of services, to some external 'authority', whereas the real authority needs to be action learning, lived experience, and learning from the client.

What's more, with so many commissioners and senior managers lately inclined to stipulate that they want services to 'be' a PIE, there would be a high risk that any service that was honest about what progress it was making, and what challenges it is tackling, would risk losing the contract to run the service.

So there would need to be an appeals process. The whole thing would become needlessly - but deadly - bureaucratic. The exact opposite of what a PIE needs to be free to be.

A better alternative

But a still better reason to reject external accreditation is that we do have a better alternative, one that is far more compatible with the PIE approach.

It is self assessment, combined with peer review of services, that we are pursuing on the PIElink, with the Pizazz, rather than accreditation by any external body. Built into that is the principle that all services can make progress, and all are on the journey. There should be no-one left behind.

For those local funders and commissioners who wish to have some simple and clear cut means of confirmation that their services are making progress, we would suggest that they encourage them to use the Pizazz process, whether on paper or in the new software version, the PIE Abacus.

For any services that - for whatever reason - do feel that they would like to have an external confirmation of their progress, it is peer review that we suggest, rather than appeals to any 'higher power'.

For any services that nevertheless - for whatever reason - do wish to have a purely external verification, the would suggest taking a look at the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists' Enabling Environments' award, as it is probably the closest in spirit, and in process, to the Pizazz, except with external verification where peer review would otherwise be.




Further background reading/listening/viewing

PIElink pages

Can commissioning help to encourage PIEs? : (HERE)

The Inner Game of PIE : (HERE)

A single framework : (HERE)

The Pizazz approach to assessment : (HERE)

Distance travelled : (HERE)


Library items

(Please note; you do need to be registered and signed in to access Library items; but whilst we are still populating this list, you can browse and access items via other pages)

Psychologically informed environments and the enabling environments initiative : (HERE)