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Play policy and legislation

Play policy and legislation

As a champion for play, it is important that Play Wales contributes to a range of play policy and legislation debates and decisions in Wales, as well as with UK partner organisations and internationally.


In this section you will find information about:


  • Play policy in Wales
  • The history of play policy in Wales
  • Play sufficiency
  • Research studies relating to play policy
child on swing

Wales and the UK

Play policy in Wales and across the UK

In Wales

Senedd Cymru (previously the National Assembly for Wales) has supported children’s play since it was established in 1999.


In 2000, Senedd Cymru distributed a £1m Play Grant to local authorities. It also commissioned a review of open access play in Wales, looking at how local authorities spent the Play Grant. The State of Play: a review of open access play provision in Wales and the Play 2000 grant scheme report called for a national play policy and strategy.


At a national level, Play Wales has worked with the Welsh Government to develop its Play Policy, Play Policy Implementation Plan, legislation, regulations and guidance. We also drafted the report for the Ministerial Review of Play Steering Group (2022) and accompanying background paper.


Between 2000 and 2012, we carried out national State of Play reviews. These strategic documents are used by Play Wales and the Welsh Government to explore subjects relating to children’s play in Wales. Their purpose was to provide information about:


  • how various national policies and funding programmes supported play provision at local level
  • common issues concerning children’s play.


In 2010, Wales became the first country in the world to pass a law about opportunities to play. The law makes it a legal requirement for local authorities to carry out Play Sufficiency Assessments (PSAs). The first of these three-yearly PSAs were submitted to the Welsh Government in 2013.


Since 2013, we have worked with the Welsh Government to review and report on the local authority PSAs, progress reports and action plans.

In the UK

As members of the UK Children’s Play Policy Forum (CPPF) and the UK Play Safety Forum (PSF), Play Wales contributes to UK policy work. We work closely with other national organisations in the UK who have an interest in either children’s play or the development of a playwork workforce.


UK Children’s Play Policy Forum


This forum works to champion, promote and increase people’s understanding of the importance of children’s play and quality, inclusive play provision. It does this by working with devolved, national and local government, and with the voluntary, public and private sectors throughout the UK to:


  • provide a discussion and networking platform for anyone connected with play
  • support members in working with and lobbying the governments of the four nations to make Article 31 a reality, along with other related articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • represent the diverse views that exist in the play and playwork sectors
  • lobby on behalf of the play sector to strengthen commitment to play.


UK Play Safety Forum


This forum promotes a balance between safety, risk and challenge within play and leisure provision. It identifies, develops and provides advice and guidance that:


  • determines and promotes a balanced and thoughtful approach to risk, challenge, benefits and safety
  • advises on policy and practice relating to risk benefit and safety in the places where children play
  • makes advice available to government departments, agencies and regulators.


Play policy internationally

Play Wales is an active member of the International Play Association (IPA). This is an international non-governmental organisation founded in 1961 to protect, preserve and promote children’s right to play as a basic human right.

The IPA has a wide and diverse membership with active branches around the world. The IPA’s branches are the basis of a worldwide play network and they support the IPA’s international activities and programmes of work. Play Wales acts as a secretariat for IPA Cymru Wales, which was established as a branch in late 2022.

The work, values and principles of IPA Cymru Wales are underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and in particular Article 31.

Join IPA Cymru Wales to support an international movement working to protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play. IPA Cymru Wales membership is available to those living or working in Wales. A range of membership levels for individuals and organisations are offered.

Play sufficiency kids playing in forest supervised by an adult

All about the Play Sufficiency Duty that protects in law children’s right to play

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History of play policy in Wales child with bubbles

An overview and timeline of play policy development in Wales

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Current play policy in Wales child playing with ball

Welsh Government policies currently supporting the creation of a play friendly Wales

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Our research girls playing with hammer and nail

Research commissioned by Play Wales about play, playwork and play sufficiency

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Ministerial Review of Play

The Welsh Government’s three-year collaborative review of its play policy work

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