22nd October 2018

Our first Leadership Project award

The Elizabeth Casson Trust is delighted to share the news that a group of occupational therapists and allied health professionals in Scotland are being supported by the Elizabeth Casson Leadership Grant to develop and implement a national leadership project with a group of 20 clinical leaders from all the health boards in Scotland.

The clinical leaders come together as the Alzheimer Scotland AHP dementia forum, a group with a membership of 20 AHP’s from the 14 health boards across Scotland, of which 15 are occupational therapists.  The Alzheimer Scotland AHP Forum has a common goal to integrate Connecting People, Connecting Support (CPCS)1in their local partnership and board areas. CPCS is the first AHP evidence informed dementia policy document within the UK and looks to transform the contribution of the allied health professionals to dementia care. This policy document arose from one of the key commitments in Scotland’s dementia strategy2and the delivery of CPCS is now a key commitment in Scotland’s third dementia Strategy3.

The leadership project is a tailored appreciative inquiry leadership programme building on the foundations of appreciative inquiry to lead and transform how AHP work with people living with dementia in Scotland in integrated services.  Appreciative inquiry is about relating to and working with people in a different way to achieve the outcomes that matter to them and focuses on doing more of what is already working4.

This innovative leadership development experience offers an opportunity to the Alzheimer Scotland Forum members to develop their own personal role as dementia clinical leaders regardless of their title or place of work and to see themselves as agents of change who can influence all stakeholders from chief officers in the integrated joint boards to people who live with dementia in their local communities.

The leadership programme philosophy and underpinning constructs support the understanding of the complexity of the delivery environment within Health, Social Care and the Third sector. The programme will provide fluidity, ownership and puts the leadership learning in a partnership relationship with Fiona MacNeill Associates (FMA) allowing an innovative approach where FMA will act as the Thinking Partner to the Alzheimer Scotland AHP forum members, providing tailored support within a flexible delivery framework so the forum members will be in a position to support the occupational therapy and AHP dementia clinical leaders of the future.

Elaine Hunter, who led on the proposal to the Trust, said,

I am particularly delighted about this leadership programme, even after 33 years as an occupational therapists, I know my own learning as a leader is still developing. Through learning from the professional facilitators at FMA and with my peer group in the Alzheimer Scotland AHP Forum, we can support each other in our appreciative inquiry leadership journey to truly transform our contribution in dementia care in Scotland.  I wrote in 2013 that to be a transformational leader you have to welcome new ideas, embrace chaos, set a new course with motivated, engaged staff, be willing to be a lifelong learner and harness all our creativity to find new ways of working5. This new leadership programme supported by the Elizabeth Casson Grant will allow me to put my ideas into practice.

We will be sharing all our leadership learning in a number of creative and innovative ways including blogs, posters and at conferences locally and nationally, so please get in touch with me if you would like to find out more at [email protected]. We will also be providing regular updates that will be made available on the Elizabeth Casson website.

You can find more about the overall AHP dementia programme at Alzheimer Scotland follow the work on social media at @AHPDementia and #AHPConnectingPeople  and @elaineahpmh.



  1. Alzheimer Scotland 2017 Connecting people, connecting support. Transforming the contribution of allied health professionals in dementia in Scotland 2017- 2020
  2. Scottish Government 2013 Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy 2013-2016 Scottish Government Edinburgh
  3. Scottish Government  2017 Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020 Scottish Government Edinburgh
  4. Scottish Social Services Council 2016  Appreciative Inquiry Resource Pack
  5. Hunter EP (2013) The Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture 2013:  Transformational leadership in occupational  therapy —delivering change through  conversations. British Journal of Occupational  Therapy, 76(8), 346–354.
News & Announcements
Ready to Apply for funding?