How far do you want to go?

Using the Pizazz  for services' self assessment and development

The Pizazz is the name we have adopted for a useful, semistructured process designed to help services and networks to check how far they feel they have come, in developing as a PIE; and to then think over what, in that case, they mean to do next.

NB: The Pizazz now comes in two formats - the 'pen and paper' format, and the electronic/on-line format, known as the PIE Abacus. For an outline summary of the PIE Abacus, see: The PIE Abacus - an on-line version of the Pizazz

The short form and the long form on paper

The Pizazz on paper is intended to be quite easy to use - at least to those already reasonably familiar with the ideas behind the PIEs 2 framework.  In effect, it is a 'short form' of just five pages (with a short introduction), with each page representing one stage in the five stage process.

Each page then considers, in turn, all five of the 'Big Five' themes of the framework. The more specific practice elements in each are treated simply as sub-headings, that you may focus on as much or as little as may suit the level of development that is appropriate for each service. There is also a Handbook - 'Useful questions' - that you can refer to, just to help you get the discussions started.

Those who find they want to take these discussions into more detail can always do so; but they will need to attach extra sheets, flip charts, white boards, using Post-It notes or whatever else, to brainstorm or record their thoughts and plans.

The Pizazz on paper is therefore particularly recommended, at least initially, 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, as it allows you to explore the approach, without expecting much depth. That can come alter - and at your own pace..

The short form and the long form on line

By contrast, the Pizazz online - the PIE Abacus - comes in two distinct forms, which we call, therefore, the short and the long forms; and at the moment it is NOT possible to toggle between them..

But the only difference between them is still in the level of detail that you want to go into initially, in your assessment. The short form PIE Abacus - like the Pizazz on paper - just uses the 'Big Five' themes; whereas the long form has each of the practice elements laid out.

The short form is therefore particularly recommended initially for services that are still fairly new to the PIEs approach, and/or only at the outset of their journey of development as PIEs. But it is also more suited for those services that want to share their assessment with others in the same organisation that are using the short form - this being one of the main uses of the PIE Abacus in mediuem- to larger agencies.

The short form is also likely to be more used by services that want to share their assessment with others in a network outside their own agency, such as in local needs and strengths audit..

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


Further background reading/listening/viewing

The actual 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


For the overall introduction to the Pizazz, see: Introducing : The Pizazz

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

The short form on paper

Some services will be still relatively new to the idea and the main themes of a PIE – although you may find that in practice you have already gone further down that road than you had realised, just without using this language to describe what you do.

For such a service, tackling a new way of thinking about what you do, with the full form in depth may be a lot to expect. We recommend that those new to the field begin with simply the five ‘headline’ themes:

  • a ‘psychological awareness’ – trying to recognise and understand complex needs, and the challenges they brought;
  • training and support for staff to meet these challenging needs;
  • attention to the physical environment, to help create an atmosphere of opportunity, and the spaces where growth could happen; and also to where this services fits, in a broader ‘pathway’ or environment of services
  • a culture of trying to learn as an organisation; with reflective practice at all levels, and a respect for evidence and assessing outcomes that needed to go beyond simple contract compliance monitoring;
  • and all this underpinned by a service philosophy ( or ‘theory of change’) which sees human relationships as being as, or more, important than any particular task they perform; and so pays particular attention to how that is expressed in, and 'written into', the day-to-day operating principles - what we call the 'Three Rs' of rules, roles, and responsiveness.

To assess your service against these five themes, you may well find that it is helpful to look a little closer at some of the examples of useful questions for PIE development in the Pizazz Handbook.

At this point, you will already be on the verge of the full form, at least in your thinking and understanding.  You are by now clearly ‘on the road’; but you get there in your own time.

So it is quite sufficient, in the short form, to simply give briefer answers to where you are at, how you know, what helps and hinders, and what you plan to do, without necessarily touching on all the areas that the long form spells out.


The long form on paper

In the pen-and-paper version of the Pizazz, the short form and the longer form both use exactly the same paperwork. The difference is only in how they are used.

The long form, in the pen-and-paper/flip chart version, goes into exactly the same areas, with exactly the same language, as the short form, and uses the same assessment sheets. But you will probably want to attach to it additional pages – and/or flip chart sheets - to describe and explore in more detail the issues spelled out in the sub-headings.

The only difference is that in the long form, you choose to go into one or more - or all - of those sub-heading areas in greater depth.  The areas you focus on, and the depth with which you explore, will in all likelihood reflect the priorities for development in your action plan.

But they may not. They may more reflect the complexity of your service, or your situation, that you feel the need to capture in sufficient detail.


It is highly likely that those who are exploring use of the long form will have already come across and drawn upon the suggested questions, for each themes and sub-theme, in the Pizazz Handbook. But if not, now is probably the time to do so.

The Pizazz Handbook, 'Useful questions' is HERE


Level One & Level Two assessments (now superseded)  : HERE