PIP stories – The power of being heard

Spread the love

I’m back at my desk to share the latest on the PIP stories front.  I want to share with you some of the behind the scenes mechanics and a bit of an update.

Broadly speaking, there are two areas of focus at the moment.  The first is to continue with the analysis of the accounts that have been received so far and the second is to continue to raise awareness about what is being done and why to continue to grow the number of accounts received.  The current number is a little over 500, so to reach the 600 mark is the next goal.

This is a great number, but it is important not to stop there.  With each account of the PIP process that comes in, the depth of the sample grows and with it the robustness of any emergent themes from the sample.  Each PIP story really matters.

Behind the scenes

So Chris, what happens when you recieve a PIP story?  The first thing that I do is to read it as soon as I can.  The reason for this is that in a small number of instances people report feeling low in their accounts, so there is a process in place for this to help ensure that people are kept safe.

After an initial read through, the stories are electronically filed and then copied in to Word on an anonymised basis.  A separate file with a numbering system to link back to the individual accounts is used if individuals need to be contacted in future.  Everyone who has sent in a PIP story is sent an information sheet.

From there, the stories are copied into a piece of software that helps me ‘code’ the information.  This process of coding is basically about grouping key themes or ideas that are evident in the stories that are received.  Each story is carefully read and re read to make sure that this is done accurately and consistently.  This is work that needs to be completed with attention to detail and takes time to complete.  It also takes computer power – so much so that I have bought a new one to help me with this so that this work can be completed efficiently and not waiting around for the computer to keep up.

Writing about the themes that are emerging from the coding is also an important part of the process.  Because I am at a relatively early stage in the coding process, it is too soon to be able to share some of the key themes, but that will happen as progress is made.

The power of being heard

In a few instances people have (very kindly) got in touch to see how they could help, and I’ve reached out to some of the people who have written in.  One of the things that has struck me about this process is its human element.  I think from the feedback I have had, that I am listening to a process that we have all been through in one form or another is one of the things that has resonated with people.

In many cases, people have just valued being heard, and have felt empowered by the ability to tell their story, in a process that they have felt has otherwise been ‘done to’ them, stripping them of the power and agency that they strive for in other parts of their lives.

My key messages on this would be two fold:

  1. I hear you.  I am doing this to help make sure voices are heard – and I will strive to make changes as a result.  I can’t promise I will, and it won’t happen overnight – but it won’t be for want of trying!
  2. The PIP process does not define you and who you are. It is important to hold on to that.  At times, I felt unrecognisable as a result of the process.  Hold on to who you are in the widest possible sense

I have not set a deadline on the collection of accounts on the PIP process as I have previously explained.  I will be here to listen as long as you want to share your stories.  There is, of course, no pressure to do so, and your own wellbeing comes first, but if you feel able to do so, I’ll be glad to have it.

Keeping myself safe

As you may imagine, reading accounts of the PIP process can have an impact.  For me, I used this in a positive way, as each account I receive reminds me of why this work is needed, and why change matters.

I have also put measures in place to make sure I can keep my own wellbeing in place.  This is something I which I think isn’t talked about often enough, but it matters too.  To help me to keep doing this work, I have put in place a debriefing arrangement with a trained professional.

Thanks for all your continued support.  Remember you can give your PIP story here: PIP stories.

 


Spread the love

About the Author

Chris Whitaker was born and grew up in Cheshire, arriving in the world with cerebral palsy after a complex childbirth. Apparently, he was lucky to be here at all and has tried to make the most of life ever since! Chris has worked in the third sector for a few years now and is also a charity trustee. Making a positive difference every day is what drives him and he gets to see the impact the third sector makes. Chris has also been able to use his own lived experience as a disabled person to make an input into his working life.

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Jayne Linney - September 23, 2019 Reply

Huge Congratulations on the numbers so far, this is looking to be a really impressive and vital piece of work.
Also so pleased to read you’re looking after your own wellbeing, the strain it puts on you reading such stories is devastating as I know only too well xx

Sharon Moncur - September 23, 2019 Reply

I would also like to add my congratulations and praise to you for the work you’re doing, and also that I was pleased to see that you’ve put in place a formalised debriefing process. Take care of yourself as you share in the difficulties of others.

Leave a Reply: