Capability Frameworks

Practice Support

Capability Frameworks

OTA Launched the Mental Health Capability Framework on 1 March 2023. Since this time the capability framework has demonstrated its effectiveness by providing:

  • a pathway and structure for occupational therapists focusing their scope of practice in mental health
  • a platform for the new mental health endorsement to be built on
  • a structure to build targeted CPD and L&D opportunities
  • a value tool to support advocacy efforts with government and funding schemes
  • an awareness tool for OTs to use across the health and disability sectors.

Due to the success of the MH Capability Framework and the recommendations within the OTA Workforce Development Report, the OTA Professional Practice Team have identified a number of priority areas of practice (including paediatrics), in which to commence building further capability frameworks. (To read more about the Mental Health Capability Framework click here.)


Purpose of Capability Frameworks

The capability frameworks propose a set of key capabilities for occupational therapists practicing in specific areas, at different career stages. It is not the intention of the frameworks to create additional hurdles for practitioners, rather, the frameworks serve as a facilitator. The frameworks enable individual occupational therapists to make informed decisions about where to focus their development activities, and provide a guide to the role of an occupational therapist in that area of practice. Additionally, the frameworks assist employers and employees with negotiation of capability development, and defining the nature of clinical practice that can be expected at different career stages.

In identifying the capabilities required for specific areas of practice, several caveats apply. The set of capabilities is not intended to represent all capabilities required by occupational therapists, but rather to illustrate those capabilities that are important for supporting safe, effective, ethical practice in a particular area.  Furthermore, the capabilities are presented independently, without influence from funding bodies/models.

Several areas of capability may also be excluded based on consultation with the profession and a view that they are outside the scope of the frameworks. These may include: 

  • Generic or setting-based capabilities will not be included as it has been agreed these are the responsibility of employers rather than OTA. This may include non-occupational therapy specific capabilities that apply to all health professionals in a particular work setting, such as the use of service-specific screening tools. It may also include other generic capabilities that are required by all staff in a particular setting, such as the use of an electronic medical record system. 
  • Generic occupational therapy skills that apply across all areas of practice will not be specifically addressed in the frameworks. While some frameworks such as the Royal College of Occupational Therapy Career Development Framework also include additional pillars (focused on facilitation of learning, leadership, evidence, research & development), the capability frameworks should be designed to work in conjunction with more broadly focused models and frameworks including the Occupational Therapy Competency Standards (2018). 



OTA Mental Health Capability Framework

The mental health capability framework proposes a series of capabilities that occupational therapists practising in mental health settings should seek to achieve at different career stages.



Aged Care Capability Framework

In February 2024 work commenced to build an aged care capability framework to support occupational therapists working with older people. An expert Advisory Group has been appointed and workshops will be held in March with wider consultation expected in April 2024.

Paediatric Capability Framework

In February 2024 work commenced to build a paediatric capability framework to support occupational therapists working with children and young people. An expert Advisory Group has been appointed and workshops will be held in March with wider consultation expected in April 2024.

Pain Capability Framework

Plans are underway to create a pain capability framework. This work is expected to commence in the coming months.

Expert Advisory Group members:

  • Briony Foote
  • Lauren Gee
  • Alex Ho
  • Eloise Hoile
  • Maddie Jones
  • Lynette Mackenzie
  • Deidre Morgan
  • Naomi Moylan
  • Karen Shaw
  • Laura Stasinowsky

Expert Advisory Group members:

  • Fiona Beauchamp
  • Anoo Bhopti
  • Helen Bourke-Taylor
  • Frances Dobson
  • Megan Hatfield
  • Olivia Jackson
  • Alison Lane
  • Caroline Mills
  • Susanne Nelson
  • Julia Johnson
  • Sinead Taylor
  • Veronica Zalanyi

Expert Advisory Group members:

  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC
Aged Care conversation with therapists

Capability Framework Broad Consultation

OTA are seeking feedback on two draft capability frameworks from all occupational therapists. We are keen to hear from OTA members and non-members across a range of settings, career stages and geographical locations.

The Aged Care Capability Framework Consultation is open from Monday 15 April until Sunday 28 April.

You can view the draft here and complete the survey by clicking here.

The Paediatric Capability Framework Consultation will open on Monday 22 April until Sunday 5 May.

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