An arm’s length project of the Elizabeth Casson Trust exploring diversity, inclusion and equity within the profession.
The Observatory core team, led by Prof Jane Melton, presented a paper to trustees at the April 2022 board meeting of the Elizabeth Casson Trust. Funding for three streams of work were approved and calls for proposals were issued in the summer.
The projects shown to the right have been commissioned and are underway:
i/ Development of a pocket guide for occupational therapists and occupational therapy students. Similar to our newly-qualified occupational therapist pocket guides, this is intended for individuals to engage with in a quiet moment, adopting a reflective approach towards self-awareness and the consideration of our personal impact on individuals, our environment and the profession, and on the services we deliver. The guide is available below.
ii/ Support of Equity Champions through a series of ‘reflective co-learning spaces’. The opportunity to participate will be offered to representatives from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that deliver occupational therapy programmes. The reflective space allows for ideas and proposed actions to be shared, witnessed and supported. The programme is based on the Solution-focused Approach, a structured method that focuses on what works – in the present, in the past and in the imagined future. The Equity Champions series will feature four spaces over seven weeks and will be hosted by Anita Volkert (Glasgow Caledonian University) and Rayya Ghul (University of Edinburgh) commencing in February 2023.
iii/ A research project to explore minoritised occupational therapy students’ experiences at the University of Bradford: Participatory action research developing student-led actions to address inequities and promote inclusion. Dissemination products will support the sharing of actions with HEIs. The study will commence in October 2022.
Several ideas were also generated at the Observatory event that are beyond the Trust’s sphere of activity, for example some ideas were recognised as belonging to the professional body of occupational therapy. These ideas were shared with our colleagues at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT), who have taken the baton and work is underway. An update will be added to this page when appropriate. These ideas concern the educational standards for pre-registration programmes, including equity statements and requirements, considering the recruitment of accreditors with expertise (lived or acquired) in diversity and equity, and learner participation and partnership in programme design. It was also suggested that fine tuning the annual monitoring reports completed by universities could provide an excellent opportunity to facilitate the monitoring of change.
An important Post Script
The Focus on Fairness Observatory team extends their deepest gratitude to those who have participated in the January events and following focus groups, without whom this work could not be taken forward in the form it is.
Observatory Steering Group: Prof Jane Melton MBE, Steve Ford, Malabika Ghosh, Edward Vera-Cruz, Caroline Waters OBE, Pam Anderson, Laura Rossiter
“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