Introducing: The Pizazz

A PIEs Self Assessment and Service Specification process

'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. 

It is also the way to pronounce the term we are giving - for the time being, at least - to 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.


So what is the Pizazz?  It's 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 builds on ten years of development work in promoting 'psychologically informed environments' - PIEs -  in fields such as homelessness and community mental health. In homelessness, the Pizazz takes many other existing and valuable approaches, such as trauma informed care, or Housing First, to a whole new level. 

But the fundamental ideas that the Pizazz framework uses, the terminology and the holistic assessment approach, can be applied in a wide range of areas.  Schools, care homes, sheltered accommodation, the prison service,  and any other environments where specialist and mainstream services alike must cater for these with quite complex psychological and emotional needs, may find this a useful tool for self assessment and progress management.


In fact, despite the title, the PIzazz actually provides far more than an 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.




The paperwork


The basic Pizazz assessment summary sheets are  HERE

The Pizazz Handbook, 'Useful questions',  is HERE

Pizazz assessment levels guidance is HERE

Advice for Pizazz assessment facilitators is HERE

Creative Commons licence terms are HERE



The Pizazz comes in two forms - the short and the long form.

The short form is particularly recommended for services that are not fully up-to-speed with the PIEs approach, and/or only at the outset of their journey of development as PIEs.

The long form allows services to drill down in finer detail into their assessment and process. It is more useful for those services that have come some way already, and wish to go further.

See: Which form of the Pizazz is right for our service?


The Pizazz also come in two formats - the 'pen and paper' format, and the electronic/on-line format.

The 'pen and paper' format is suitable for simpler and smaller services, where getting round a table to meet and discuss face-to-face is an option.

The electronic/on-line format ( the "PIEAbacus') is geared for more complex and/or larger services, organisations and networks, where face-to-face meeting is impractical.

For the PIE Abacus, see: The PIE Abacus - an online Pizazz 


For a note on current and future costs of using the Pizazz, see: Pizazz costs