Distance travelled: towards a PIE services assessment and specification tool

3: Specific elements in a PIEs assessment tool 

We can (and frequently do) define a Psychologically Informed Environment quite broadly as a service in which working with the psychological and emotional needs of the service users is seen as paramount. But we can also define a PIE more specifically as one that uses the PIEs “framework” to describe and guide the development of the service. 

As suggested earlier, the intention in this original description of a PIE was to be analytical and promotional; and a framework for an assessment tool may have different requirements.  Nevertheless, cutting across this standard five- or six-fold definition there are also other key features implicit in the needs-led nature that the PIE concept assumes, and that any range of markers in an assessment framework must respect and support, and if possible include, such as:

  • Diversity and client-group specific issues
  • Setting-specific issues
  • Client/user involvement and empowerment 

The question is therefore how to manage such additional variability, and development capacity, in one assessment tool. How many axes is it useful to have? And when is an issue better dealt with as a marker on one or more other dimensions or axes, rather than as a separate axis in its own right? 

At this point, it may be helpful to re-visit the specifics of the standard framework – the ‘Big Six’ above – in terms of what is actually observable. See therefore:  Distance travelled 4: Observable expressions of the key PIE elements

In section 5 we then consider how some other assessment tools have been developed, to cover similar concerns, in: Distance travelled 5: Models of assessment for whole or complex in-puts and environments.