Rules and procedures

The spaces in which we work provide us with many opportunities to engage; but in making constructive relationships, it’s the Three Rs that do most of the heavy lifting. The centrality of relationships, which runs through everything, does so most obviously, most practically,  in the Three Rs.

The Three Rs provide a more precise and tighter focus on the nitty gritty of the day to day life of services – the rules and procedures of the service.

NB: The text that follows here is an excerpt from : The Book of PIE (HERE)


Rules and procedures

.....The rules and procedures that a service works to will cover a very wide area; including not just the written rules of the agency itself; and the rules apply not just to users, but also to staff..

Procedures such as care and support plans, for example, may be standard practice in one agency; but the timing of such discussions needs to reflect how difficult it may be, how much it is to ask, to expect a new arrival to share their more private hopes and fears.....

....Then, how should the service ‘manage’ – that is, how should it respond to - those whose behaviour challenges the service? ......  What scope is there for ‘flexible tolerance’ – and how flexible can any service working with many people be?  What scope is there for those who do break rules to remedy and make good the damage, by ‘giving something back’ ? ...

.. When is it possible, or even desirable, to have a ‘No permanent exclusions’ rule? And is someone is temporarily excluded from a building, can the service still keep in contact, still work with them to keep the relationship costructive and help them through it?


.....Sometimes, though, the rules are not just with the client, but in understandings between services.... At times this may also mean working with other agencies on THEIR rules, and how they interpret them. .....   Sharing of risk assessments and agreeing confidentiality protocols is one area where no service is an island...

.....Then we can look at the boundaries of services, not just in terms of inter-agency work, but from the point of view of the users..... When does someone really cease to need the service? Can they self-refer or be re-referred with minimal paperwork and vetting, if problems persist, or recur? ..    In many more explicitly therapeutic settings, such as therapeutic communities, these issues of beginnings and endings are given particular attention; and this serves to highlight the importance of developing the skills and the models for effective outreach and in-reach. In particular, the entering and exiting of a service were seen as key moments; and in 'The Three Rs' area of the PIEs 2 framework, services are encouraged to think over the formal procedures they expect, as  people enter and leave.

But it is equally also important for staff, and systems, to be aware of where their service offer may fit as just one part of the whole trajectory of people's lives, and the limited role of any one service in that flow.


.......The example of HF earlier also points to where they could be deliberate limits to how many rules there are, or how intrusive in people’s lives. HF is primarily defined by its rules, and one key principle is that of no ‘conditionality’ – that the granting or a tenancy should NOT be dependent on any acceptance of support by the client/tenant.......... There are other examples of projects – typically communities - with rules that rule out having pre-defined rules.  On the whole communities which emphasise participation will have many areas where there is considerable leeway for the community itself to make the rules, and to vary them.  In therapeutic communities, for example, this self-governing principle, and the active participation and negotiations that it allows, will be a central part of the therapy....


.... Finally – at least for the purpose of this very brief introduction – when looking at the extent of pre-defined rules, there is always a question over how rules are applied, with or without much discretion, and how far that discretion is, or can be, delegated closer to the frontline. It has been argued, for example, that a service which is truly person-centred WILL not treat all people alike.  If so, where and how far can we allow, in effect, different rules, or different consequences, for different people?. This will soon take us into the area of more un-written rules – and responsiveness....



Further links and background

Psychological awareness ; HERE

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence : HERE
  • Approaches and techniques : HERE
  • Psychological models : HERE

Training and support : HERE

Learning and enquiry : HERE

  • Reflective practice : HERE
  • A culture of Enquiry : HERE
  • Sector engagement : HERE
  • Evidence- generating practice : HERE

Spaces of opportunity : HERE

  • The built environment : HERE
  • Networks and surroundings : HERE
  • Pathways, systems and system coherence : HERE

The Three Rs : HERE

  • Rules and procedures : HERE
  • Roles and relationships : HERE
  • Responsiveness : HERE


Where are relationships in PIEs 2.0? : HERE

A lived experience view of PIEs : HERE

What's the Big Idea?  : HERE

From PIEs 1 to PIEs 2.0 : HERE

Will there be a PIEs 3? : HERE