Children's Play Policy Forum

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The Children’s’ Play Policy Forum (CPPF) works to advocate for, promote and increase the understanding of the importance of children’s play and quality, inclusive play provision by working with devolved, national and local government; and the voluntary, public and private sectors throughout the United Kingdom.

The Children’s Play Policy Forum acts as an authoritative body that operates on the basis of consensus but is not an executive decision making group. Member organisations are not precluded from taking their own position on issues outside the forum.

The Children's Play Policy Forum:

  • Provides a discussion and networking platform for those connected with play to contribute to the development and formulation of coordinated policy responses to governments and other bodies, especially where UK national policy affects all four nations.
  • Supports members in working with and lobbying the governments of the four nations to achieve full implementation of Article 31 and related articles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  • Represents the diverse views that exist in play and playwork sector, including the play workforce; identifies consensus; and lobbies on behalf of the play sector thereby strengthening commitment to play.

Forum Participation and Membership

The Children’s Play Policy Forum will be informed by and bring together key stakeholders including:

  • Lead bodies responsible for play, playwork and workforce development across and within England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Industry representative bodies that have a stake in play opportunities and play provision
  • Representatives from national, devolved and local Government and officials who are supportive of play or could positively influence the development of play
  • Funders that fund major related initiatives
  • Academics, experts and others influencing and shaping the understanding and knowledge of play may be invited to join specific meetings and/or present at meetings

Chair and vice chairs

Currently the forum has a chair and three vice chairs. These are:

  • Chair - to be appointed by the Forum
  • Vice-Chairs

Play Scotland

Play Wales

PlayBoard, Northern Ireland

Play England

The position of Chair and Vice Chairs of Children's Play Policy Forum will be reviewed every three years. Nominations for the Chair will, in the first instance, be made by the Vice Chairs. These will be considered by the wider membership for discussion and agreement.


Children's Play Policy Forum members can nominate new organisations to join Children's Play Policy Forum either as full members or observers. Nominations for new members will be discussed and agreed during Children's Play Policy Forum meetings.

Children's Play Policy Forum Members

  • Jacqueline O’Loughlin, PlayBoard Northern Ireland
  • Mike Greenaway, Play Wales
  • Marguerite Hunter Blair, Play Scotland
  • Robin Sutcliffe (Chair)
  • Helen Griffiths / Richard McKeever, Fields in Trust
  • Mark Hardy, Association of Play Industries
  • Nicola Butler, Play England
  • Carly Sefton, Learning Through Landscapes
  • Tim Gill, Rethinking Childhood
  • Roger Worthington, Forestry Commission England


Children's Play Policy Forum website


National children’s body calls for all political parties to invest in cost-effective support for children’s play

The UK’s Children’s Play Policy Forum is calling for all UK political parties to invest in children’s play because of the proven benefits to children, families and communities.

’Four asks for play’ calls on the UK Government to:

1. Recognise the need for play before school, during play/break times and after school hours
2. Extend the existing Department of Health-funded programme supporting regular sessional road closures in residential streets in England to every major city in the UK
3. Invest in a programme focusing on disadvantaged communities to encourage appropriate play in public space, while reducing neighbourhood conflict and the resulting pressure on police time
4. Provide support for staffed play provision to test innovative community-based health and well-being initiatives.

Investing in the ‘Four asks for play’ will result in improvements in children’s health and wellbeing, the Children’s Play Policy Forum says, and hence a reduction in the pressures on the National Health Service and the public purse.

Studies show that the long-term health benefits of playing include boosting physical activity levels which helps to tackle child obesity, and supporting children to become more resilient. Play initiatives also benefit the wider community by encouraging neighbourliness and improved community cohesion.

Robin Sutcliffe, Chair of the Children’s Play Policy Forum said:

‘We know that playing provides immediate and long-term benefits to children, young people and the wider community. We all have a responsibility to ensure children have opportunities to play in their communities. We are calling on all political parties to provide for play initiatives across the UK – the level of investment needed would be relatively modest yet extremely cost-effective.’

Download ‘Four asks for play’

New report highlights play’s wider benefits
To coincide with Playday 2014 new research highlights for the first time the measurable difference that play makes, not just to children but also to families and communities.

Commissioned by the UK’s Children’s Play Policy Forum, The Play Return: A review of the wider impact of play initiatives report evidences the importance of play to the health, wellbeing, social and educational development of children; and the importance of play in supporting children to develop essential skills and knowledge as they mature.

Author of the report, Tim Gill said:

‘At the core of the report is the message that not only does outdoor play impact significantly on the lives of children and young people, it also in many cases can provide a basis for the transformation of wider communities’.

Tim added

‘From the perspective of politicians and policy makers, the report highlights that investing in play can, and does lead to multiple benefits including improved educational attainment, a healthier society and increased levels of tolerance within and between communities’.

Welcoming the report, Robin Sutcliffe, Chairman of the Children’s Play Policy Forum said:

‘This report provides a valuable insight into the fundamental importance of play to the lives of children, not only in terms of their development and wellbeing but also their enjoyment of childhood.’

Robin continued:

‘At a government policy level it is our belief that this report provides compelling evidence of the impact play can have across a range of policy areas including health and education’.

Download The Play Return: A review of the wider impact of play initiatives

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