Whole systems as PIEs

 Whole systems as PIEs (aka 'a PIE of pathways')

Much new thinking on early trauma suggests the importance of attachment, and valuing the continuity of supportive relationships. This may mean tackling, bridging and transcending the barriers between specific services (see: Gaps and Barriers : HERE); and sometimes this may need to challenge the ways that services have been provided, in the past.

The stress on relationships, which is central to any kind of working as a PIE, suggests that it is not simply the proponents of Housing First that question the constant 'staircase' (or 'pass-the-parcel') approach that has characterised much thinking on service provision in the past.

Likewise simple outcomes measures of success and 'value for money' that might be quite workable for simple interventions can ignore the real nature of work with the more marginalised and disengaged. Complex and entrenched needs require both longer timescales and subtler and more multi-dimensions outcomes.

This is not to say that short term services themselves cannot be psychologically astute; on the contrary, short term and initial engagement services play a crucial role in initial engagement, paving the way for others to build on a constructive first encounter (See:  Short term services as PIEs?: HERE).

But it does suggest that for PIEs to develop to their full potential, we need not just the individual services, but the whole network or pathway, to be more psychologically informed.


An Abacus for whole systems work?

For commissioners and other funders keen to see a 'whole systems' approach, and deeper system change, the PIE Abacus - still experimental -  may now offer a tool for obtaining that local overview of gaps and hindrances to be addressed.

Using the PIE Abacus, the views of services' staff can now also be complemented and strengthened with service user input in these local strengths and needs audit assessments.

This more systemic approach to assessment may help to operationalise the recommendations of the duo of papers published by Collaborate (with first Newcastle and now Northumberland universities), on commissioning for complexity.

The more systemic features of the PIE approach, and the Pizazz, aim at providing a mechanism, a tool for operationalising this new vision at system level.


Further background reading/listening/viewing

PIElink pages

A single framework : HERE

Spaces of opportunity 101 : HERE

Can commissioning help to encourage PIEs? : HERE


On evaluation : specifics

  • Service evaluation by outcomes: HERE
  • Evaluations of specific interventions: HERE
  • Whole systems evaluation: HERE
  • Formative vs summative evaluation: HERE
  • Outcome and process assessments: HERE

The Pizazz on paper and on screen : HERE


The Pizazz on paper

  • The Pizazz on paper - the paperwork : HERE
  • The Pizazz approach to assessment: HERE
  • The coffee break Pizazz: HERE
  • The Pizazz - what is it NOT? : HERE
  • The Pizazz as a research tool: HERE


The PIE Abacus

The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.

For more on the PIE Abacus, see:

  • The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE
  • Ambition and modesty : HERE
  • The PIE Abacus - FAQs : HERE
  • PIE Abacus use and terms of use : HERE


Library items

The PIE Abacus- essential briefing for PIE leads (and any others in comparable roles) : HERE