Play Sufficiency Assessment

Play Sufficiency Assessment

Conducting the Assessment – Play Sufficiency Assessment

As well as establishing a baseline of provision, the Play Sufficiency Assessment will enable the following:

  • Identification of gaps in information, provision, service delivery and policy implementation
  • Support the establishment of evidence to give an indication of distance travelled in relation to play sufficiency
  • Highlight potential ways of addressing issues relating to partnership working
  • The input and involvement of all partners increasing levels of knowledge and understanding
  • A monitoring system which will involve and improve communication between professionals
  • The identification of good practice examples
  • Increased levels of partnerships in assessing sufficient play opportunities
  • The identification of actions for the Securing Play Sufficiency Action Plan which accompanies the Play Sufficiency Assessment

A template has been produced to support a corporate appraisal of the matters that need to be taken into account as set out in the Statutory Guidance. The indicators listed within each matter are provided as sample indicators which should be amended to meet local issues as appropriate.

The Play Sufficiency Assessment must demonstrate that the Local Authority has taken into account and assessed the matters set out in The Play Sufficiency Assessment (Wales) Regulations 2012 and Statutory Guidance.

As well as providing baseline information, the Assessment can include examples of current practice that the Local Authority wishes to highlight.

Local Authorities might consider structuring the Play Sufficiency Assessment in the following way and as a minimum address all the identified sections.

Principle Statement

This section should be used to articulate the Local Authority’s acknowledgement of the value and importance of play in the lives of children.

Pembrokeshire is one of Britain’s special places, combining some of the most spectacular coastal scenery with a unique cultural heritage. Nearly a third of the county is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – the only coastal national park in the country,
and its numerous beaches are renowned as being amongst the finest anywhere. This all makes it a particularly attractive and satisfying area in which to live, work and play.

The County has a resident population of 126,751, according to mid-2020 population figures published by ONS, which increases very considerably throughout the summer months through its thriving tourism. It is essentially rural in character, with the largest centres of population being Haverfordwest (the county town), Tenby, Milford Haven, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock and Fishguard, together with the smaller town of Narberth.

As well as its natural beauty, the county has a considerable historical heritage. Agriculture also remains an important feature. As one of the finest deep-water harbours in the country, the Milford Haven estuary is an important centre for the energy industry, with facilities for oil refining, storage and distribution. As well as the industrial presence, the estuary is also a popular area for leisure activities including yachting and water-sports. For many people, Pembrokeshire holds a strong attraction as a place to live, work and play; their reasons for this can probably be summed up in one phrase – quality of life.

Play is a child’s right and is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that every child living in Pembrokeshire is entitled to and has a right ‘to engage in play and recreational activities’ (Article 31 - UNCRC). A popular definition of play within the profession is that play is freely chosen, personally directed, intrinsically motivated behaviour that actively engages the child’ (Hughes and King 1982). The key implication is that children choose WHAT they do, HOW they do it and WHY they do it.

Children and young people (CYP) learn about themselves, others and the world through play. The Pembrokeshire Play Strategy Group promises to work to improve the availability, commitment and understanding of the importance of high-quality play opportunities for children and young people of Pembrokeshire. The 3-year Strategy covers all children and young people between the ages of 0 – 25 years and will be supported by an Annual Action Plan. The local authority is working with all school in Pembrokeshire to implement a standardised play policy, to ensure play is championed and limiting play is not used as a sanction. In a youth setting it is expected that a group of children or young people will action and monitor their action plan.


This section should describe the methodology used to undertake and approve the Play Sufficiency Assessment and Action Plan and any consultation with partners on the Assessment/Action Plan. It should also list the key partners that engaged with the process and identify any challenges in undertaking the Assessment. It should describe the mechanism that the Local Authority proposes to use to take forward the identified actions for the action plan.

Pembrokeshire County Council (the Council) commissioned Premier Advisory Group (PAG) to complete this Play Sufficiency Assessment (PSA). To ensure PAG met the specification requirements of the Council’s PSA, a rigorous mixed methods methodology was deployed that involved primary and secondary, and qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. A guiding theme throughout data collection and analysis was to ensure every voice was heard, and so desk-based research was supplemented with surveys taken by CYP, parents/carers and providers, as well as free-play observation. 1:1 interviews were also conducted with playworkers to understand play from the perspective of professionals across the county.

The fieldwork and research which informed the 2022 Pembrokeshire County Council PSA was conducted during the period December 2021-March 2022. Multiple types of research and analysis were undertaken:

  • Structured desk-based research
  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) with playworkers
  • 2 focus groups with CYP
  • Online Survey Monkey questionnaire with key stakeholders
  • Online Survey Monkey questionnaire with parents/carers
  • Online Survey Monkey questionnaire with CYP
  • Paper-based survey for children under the age of 5
  • Play observation consultation forms.

An outline of the methodology is provided below:

Desk-based research

At the Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level, data was gathered through desk-based research using secondary data sources to map the demand for play and prevalence of children and young people across the local authority (LA). Research focused on population projections, migration and the incidence of key groups, to map current and expected demand for play. A concerted effort was made to obtain the most current practicable data from the most appropriate source, and due regard was given to timescales for the release of the most relevant data. As such, data was primarily obtained from the Office for National Statistics and supplemented and supported by data from PLASC, the National Census, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Assessment of Local Wellbeing.

Consultation with key groups

Following desk-based data analysis, PAG consulted with a range of key groups, including CYP aged 0-17, parents/carers across Pembrokeshire and playworkers currently working at a range of youth and after-school provisions.

In the first instance, PAG created a child-friendly online survey for CYP people aged 5-17 to complete; a paper-based survey for under-5s was also distributed across Pembrokeshire. Due to the impact of COVID-19, opportunities for in-person consultation were limited. Consequently, PAG consulted with CYP through focus groups and a play observation sheet, which was filled out by playworkers to comment on the play enjoyed by CYP at settings.

A short, voluntary and anonymous online survey was shared with parents/carers in the area, which gathered views around their perception of children’s enjoyment of play, alongside their safety and access to play.

PAG also carried out 4 short, structured interviews with a sample of playworkers across Pembrokeshire.

Consultation with wider stakeholders

In order to supplement our consultation with CYP, parents/carers and playworkers, a variety of stakeholders were consulted with via a short, voluntary online survey. The survey gathered the views of stakeholders on existing opportunities for play and access to play facilities, alongside the impact(s) of COVID-19 on play over the last two years.

Reporting and Action Plan

After the end of the consultation period, data was gathered and analysed to inform an overall picture of play in Pembrokeshire, with a summary of findings written with regards to the sufficiency of play.

Based on this, PAG has provided recommendations for how the LA can address gaps in supply and demand, as well as the impact(s) of Covid-19. Using the analysis and findings, PAG and the Council will draft a detailed, costed Action Plan, which the authority can implement immediately.

Partnership working

This section should demonstrate to what extent the following (and others) were involved in the undertaking of the Assessment and the development of the action plan:

  • Town and Community Councils
  • Third sector organisations, particularly play associations and play providers
  • The private sector if appropriate
  • Community groups

A number of individuals and representatives from various organisations were involved in the undertaking of the Assessment and the development of the Action Plan.

Play Wales have been on hand to offer additional advice and support to the Play Sufficiency Officer as and when required. The PSA involved consultation with representatives from educational establishments, play organisations and charities, the County Voluntary Council, Pembrokeshire Coast and National Parks Authority (PCNPA), members of Pembrokeshire County Council, the NHS, and local residents/community groups.

Within Pembrokeshire County Council, consultation took place with representatives from Play Strategy, Planning, Housing, Youth, Flying Start, Transport, Policy & Corporate Planning, Housing, Health & Safety and National Parks.

Information was sourced via survey, telephone conversations, emails, online research, and Play Wales’ guidance and advice. The 2019 PSA and PSA Progress on Action Plan 2020-2021 were also utilised.

Meeting the requirements of the Action Plan will be the main agenda item for the Play Team at termly review. The Assessment and Action Plan will be shared with Cabinet in June 2022 and any requested amendments will be dealt with in the Play Strategy Group.

Consultation and participation

This section should describe how the Local Authority has:

  • Obtained the views of children with regards to the play opportunities they currently access, how they would like the community to better support them to play and what barriers stop them from playing
  • Obtained the views on play provision from parents, families and other stakeholders
  • Analysed the information and how it has been used to inform future plans
ID: 9153, revised 03/11/2022