Service users' PIE assessments

One of the more radical aspects of PIEs 2.0 and the Pizazz approach - so radical that it could be easily overlooked - is that is that it creates an opportunity for services users, alongside staff and volunteers, to also give their own views on a service, and to what extent it works for them, as a PIE.

The PIE Abacus software is being designed in such a way that is made easier for service users, whether individually or as a group, to in-put their own views and experience of the service, from their own perspective. The Abacus now makes it possible for these assessments to stand (technically to be 'stacked') alongside the views of staff and others.


It's as simple as that....

Wherever it seems useful - where, for example, middle managers, local commissioners and planners or researchers may wish to hear service users' opinions directly - a simple PIE Abacus licence code, issued from whatever source, allows any service users groups to use the Abacus to have their say.

You can have as many such user groups as you choose; and you can combine several or many groups' views for an overall picture, whether a view of a particular agency, or of a network of services in any one locality.

It is not necessary to be computer-literate to participate - or in fact, to be literate at all. All PIE Abacus assessments arising from team or group discussion are in-put into the software by one individual, known as the 'scribe'.

That person might be a key worker, a volunteer, peer support or admin worker, or a worker from a local advocacy service, or public health - anyone can be designated to in-put the views of anyone, on their behalf.


Customising the PIEs language

For this service user in-put to be most effective, however, we suspect we may need to modify and customise the language of the PIEs framework.  This is no different in principle to the ways that all facilitators must to some extent customise the language of the framework to any one particular service and context.

We are therefore currently embarked on the process of recruiting for a working group to explore developing a language for the key elements of the PIE approach - one that may be more suited to the experience of users*. But this will surely still need to be customised for each context, and each individual.

The ambition to keep one framework that works for all concerned is demanding; but it seems the right challenge to have.


  • Note that a simplified, less technical language may also be helpful and welcome when conducting PIEs and Pizazz assessments with many staff.

Further background reading/listening/viewing

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

PIElink pages

The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE

What are people saying about the PIE Abacus? : HERE

Costs and sustainability : HERE

Use and terms of use : HERE

Ambition and modesty : HERE

A single framework : HERE

Customising the PIE Abacus : HERE


Library items

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

'Weighing the costs and 'value added' of the PIE Abacus' : HERE


Essential background for PIE leads

The PIE Abacus range - an introduction for PIE leads : HERE


For applications in particular settings, see:

The PIE Abacus – in medium to large agencies HERE

The PIE Abacus – in local practice networks : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in smaller 'stand alone' services HERE

The PIE Abacus – as a research tool : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in communities of practice : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in service user-led assessments : HERE

The PIE Abacus – with services using PIEs1 : HER


All PIE Abacus FAQs : HERE

Further PIElink pages
PIEs 1,2 - and 3? : HERE
Working with gaps and barriers (page): HERE
A Lived Experience view: Aaron's description of a PIE: HERE
Library items
The democracy of pidgin: HERE
Connection at St Martin's exercise? ( HERE?)
Newcastle & Gateshead service user group feedback (HERE?) 

'Participatory appraisal' (a consultation approach with substance abuse service users) : (HERE)