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Play Sufficiency Package for Local Government Organisations

Tuesday April 11, 2023

Our structured and mentor led Play Sufficiency Package guides local government organisations through a transformation program, enabling them to develop a strategic, robust and comprehensive approach to protecting and improving children’s opportunities for play.

Play Sufficiency Programme for Local Government Organisations

Our mentor-led Play Sufficiency Programme guides local government organisations through a transformation process, enabling them to develop a strategic, robust, comprehensive, and localised approach to protecting and improving children’s opportunities for play.

If, after reading the information below, you would like to know more or are interested in commissioning this programme of support, please contact:

The importance of play sufficiency

Play is fundamental to the wellbeing of children and their communities, yet it remains undervalued and overlooked in public policies, education, and healthcare systems. Spatial and societal changes over the past 50 years have served to significantly constrain children’s opportunities for play. These restrictions have led to a rise in childhood obesity, decreased physical fitness, mental health issues, and weakened community bonds, increasing the burden on public services. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child emphasizes that governmental support for children’s play should be based on the principle of sufficiency.

Play sufficiency offers an organising principle for creating child-friendly communities and organizations, as well as being a powerful policy instrument for upholding children’s rights. By prioritizing play and making it central to policymaking, we can ensure children and their way of engaging with the world have much greater influence over how we govern and the types of environments we create for people. Such an approach requires adults to take account of children’s everyday experiences of playing and how these are shaped by, and can shape, the context in which children live.

Our Play Sufficiency Programme

Our Play Sufficiency Programme, grounded in systems thinking, focuses on embedding consideration of children’s right to play within organizational systems and developing an organisational culture supportive of children’s play. We do this by enabling adults to pay attention to how their decisions and actions, directly and indirectly, support or constrain children’s time, space and permission for play.

The program assists local government organisations in researching play at a localised level, using collected data to evaluate how spaces, services, policies, and practices work across the region to either support and/or constrain play. This process reveals what is (and isn’t) working for whom, where and why at both a neighbourhood and organisational level. Doing so enables organisations to identify how they can improve their responsibilities towards children and their play. This in turn informs the development of a strategic action plan aimed at cultivating improved conditions for children’s play.

Our preferred method of delivery, and the most cost effective, is to work with organisations supporting their implementation of our play sufficiency process through a knowledge transfer partnership. This structured and mentor led approach ensures organisations can be confident in producing a detailed and comprehensive assessment, accompanied by a well-informed action plan. Through active involvement in the assessment process, practitioners and policy leads will develop their collective understanding of play sufficiency and develop a greater sense of ownership over the findings and subsequent actions.

Our Play Sufficiency Programme supports the following objectives:

  • Identify assets that support play which need to be protected.
  • Identify constraining factors that serve to restrict children’s play.
  • Identify gaps in information, service provision, partnership working and policy implementation regarding children’s play.
  • Highlight or suggest ways in which these gaps and constraining factors can be addressed.
  • Provide a monitoring system, generating ‘baseline’ evidence with which future developments can be compared and evaluated.
  • Involve a wide range of partners in exploring the sufficiency of children’s play.
  • Improve people’s collective knowledge and understanding of the conditions that support children’s play and how these can be protected and improved.

Our Play Sufficiency Programme includes:

  • The development of a bespoke methodology and assessment project plan.
  • Regular mentoring sessions for those tasked with leading on the assessment.
  • Access to our tried and tested methods and research tools, with associated training for those undertaking the research.
  • Delivery of Ludicology’s ‘Understanding Play Sufficiency’ online training for other partners involved in the assessment.
  • An e-pack providing all the documentation organisations will need to produce a comprehensive play sufficiency assessment.
  • ‘Playing with data’ workshops, supporting researchers to make sense of data gathered through face-to-face research with children and parents.
  • Action planning workshops, sharing findings from the research with children and supporting partners to identify strategic priorities.
  • Real life examples of what works and how to make lasting changes.
  • Review and feedback on the assessment and action plan documents produced.
  • Ongoing advice and support throughout the assessment and action planning process.

Outputs from this Play Sufficiency Programme include:

  1. A full play sufficiency assessment report identifying current levels of satisfaction, strategic priorities, strengths and weaknesses of organisational systems and recommended areas for improvement.
  2. A strategic and cross-departmental action plan, making best use of the human and financial resources available.
  3. The establishment of an informed strategic group with lead responsibility for play across the region.

The cost of our Play Sufficiency Programme is £13,000 plus travel expenses and VAT. This includes direct support through 11 planning, training and workshop sessions, plus monthly mentoring support and ongoing advice throughout the process, as well as access to all the documentation required to transform your organisation’s thinking about play.

Our Play Sufficiency Programme incorporates 10 distinct stages of work, divided into three broader phases. Each phase has particular outcomes, outputs and opportunities for publicity and public engagement. It is possible that each phase could be funded in turn to make the overall cost of the project more manageable and provide more regular project completion dates, however, the full assessment is likely to take somewhere in the region of 12 to 18 months (depending on the capacity of those leading on this work).

For further information see our introduction to play sufficiency, read about the value of play sufficiency from a population health perspective, or read our interview with Jen and Karen on their experiences of implementing our play sufficiency programme in Leeds.

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Ludicology support those interested in play and playfulness to develop evidence based play centred policies and practices through our advice, research and training services. Use this form to get in touch and to let us know what kind of support you require.