In December 2008, the Government published the Play Strategy for England after an extensive consultation that overwhelmingly endorsed its vision of a public realm that is both safer for, and more welcoming of children playing out.

This guide formalises the balance between the risks of injury with the benefit of children experiencing risk in play. It does this through a new process of risk–benefit assessment.

The guidance sets out in clear, practical terms how the difficult balance between risk and fun can be achieved in play provision, through the decisions providers and managers make locally.

It is written for those responsible for managing play provision, and for those involved in designing and maintaining such provision. The general approach should also be useful for those who manage other spaces and settings in which children play.


  • Introduction and legal framework
  • Risk-benefit assessment
  • Concluding remarks
  • Appendices