Focus on Fairness Observatory

An arm’s length project of the Elizabeth Casson Trust exploring diversity, inclusion and equity within the profession.


On World Occupational Therapy Day, 27 October 2021, the Elizabeth Casson Trust is proud to launch its Focus on Fairness Observatory. Development of the Observatory acknowledges a year-long journey by the Trust to examine our beliefs and our actions with regard to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Our journey

Our journey started with developing a deeper understanding of who we are, of who Elizabeth Casson was,, and of our core purpose: to further the profession of occupational therapy to the benefit of those who use our services.

Our first change was to articulate clearly to our stakeholders our values, which can be read here. This includes out commitments on how our values at translated into actions.


This work led naturally to refreshing our strategic intentions and our operational framework which will ensure our projects and activities remain within our charitable Articles and Objects. this foundation laid, our next step was to recruit new trustees who could bring different perspectives and experiences to the Board. Two lay trustees (Edward and Caroline) and one occupational therapist (Malabika) trustee were appointed in July 2021.

Our Observatory



In parallel, the trustees worked with Article Consulting to consider how the Trust could influence diversity, inclusion and equity in the profession. Development of the Focus on Fairness Observatory is the outcome of the work.

The purpose and philosophy:

of the Observatory is built on appreciative enquiry and understanding to drive evidence-informed and solution-focused debates and initiatives across the occupational therapy sector.

We will achieve this by:

inviting leadership representation from across the occupational therapy sector and from outside the sector, to participate in fora examining issues which impact on individuals from diverse groups and communities through their professional journeys. 

Our method will be to:

(a) Use appreciative enquiry with affected individuals to develop an understanding and identification of factors creating inequality and exclusion of minority groups in, and from, the profession

(b) Generate evidence-informed, meaningful insights and provide grants to commission work that will lead to impact and change

(c) Translate the work into actionable recommendations for change to support diversity, equity and inclusion in occupational therapy

(d) Facilitate and support the implementation of recommendations

(e) Share good practice across the profession, with other allied health professionals and with policy makers


The Focus on Fairness Observatory will be an arms-length project, led by Professor Jane Melton. We have shaped our governance this way so that the Observatory can have the freedom for wide-ranging and honest conversations to thoroughly explore issues affecting the profession.

The first forum in theFocus onseries will be the Focus on Education. The event will be held on 18 January 2022.

Follow our social media, our website and subscribe to our NewsBlasts to receive updates on the work.

The Elizabeth Casson Trust’s ‘Focus on Fairness Observatory’ – and their series of ‘Focus on…’ events – will be exploring factors that create exclusion and inequality for diverse groups in the profession and acting to influence these. WFOT welcomes this, today, on World Occupational Therapy Day as an example of an initiative driving positive impact for the profession.” World Federation of Occupational Therapists

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists welcomes this project that will ‘Focus on Fairness’ for occupational therapists and the profession. I’m also excited to have been invited as a member of the Observatory Steering Group that will help guide the direction of this important workSteve Ford, CEO Royal College of Occupational Therapists

COTEC (Council of Occupational Therapists for the European Countries) wholeheartedly endorses this work which should support and enhance practice, not only in the UK, but across Europe too. This is a key time for all of us to examine our practice at an individual, service, community and country level and strive for better – for our members and those they work with. We look forward to hearing what the Observatory finds.” Anu Söderström, President COTEC


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