Risk Management Policy and Procedures
Wrexham Council’s Play Strategy 2009-2013 (which Mike, as the local authority’s principle play officer, was responsible for producing) identified the need to develop a new risk-benefit management system that would better support professionals working with or on behalf of children to enable them to experience risk in their play.
In our roles with Wrexham Council and Play Wales, we developed the resulting framework in partnership with a group of experienced playworkers. This was underpinned by a policy that recognized the intrinsic value of children experiencing uncertainty in their play and children’s own developing capabilities for negotiating risk. The framework then incorporated both paper based and dynamic risk-benefit assessments enabling professionals to make informed and defensible, value based judgments that balance the need for safety with the need for children to engage with risk of their own volition.
Since being developed elements of this risk-benefit framework have been recognised as good practice both nationally and internationally. The policy was used to form the basis of a model risk-benefit policy included in the Welsh Government’s toolkit for local authorities in meeting the Welsh play sufficiency duty, and the dynamic risk-benefit assessment flowchart is currently being used by staff in a range of settings where children play.