Play Sufficiency Assessments (PSA)

PAG Staff2023, Article, Case Studies, Leadership, Project Management, PSA, Testimonials

PSA: Play Sufficiency Assessment


In 2022, PAG was commissioned by two Welsh local authorities, Pembrokeshire County Council and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, to conduct Play Sufficiency Assessments (PSAs) to evaluate the quality, sufficiency, and quantity of play areas for children in Pembrokeshire and Merthyr Tydfil.    

PSAs are designed to help ensure children from 0-17 have accessible, high-quality, diverse play areas and opportunities local to them, a right for all children as play is a crucial factor in developing children’s social, physical and mental wellbeing. 

PSAs are essential for local authorities (LAs) to gather information regarding play spaces and activities to determine any strengths, gaps and challenges with provision of existing play opportunities. All data, where possible, is broken down by ward to provide identification of supply and demand at a local level. The data and findings result in a comprehensive report, inclusive of identified themes and key recommendations for LAs to support the development of strategies in order to improve play provision.

Our work was designed to:

• Identify gaps and challenges in provision of play opportunities
• Identify examples of best practice
• Understand play needs in local areas
• Assess the quantity and accessibility of play spaces
• Provide in-depth information to assist in the development of play strategies
• Encourage community engagement in the development of play opportunities.


For both PSAs conducted, our expert team employed multiple types of research and analysis to assess the adequacy of play opportunities including:

• Structured desk-based research
• Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) with playworkers
• Focus groups with children and young people (CYP)
• Online questionnaires with key stakeholders, parents/carers, and children and young people (CYP)
• A paper-based survey for children under the age of 5
• Play observation consultation forms.


Due to our thorough, extensive research, we were able to provide these LAs with in-depth information regarding the quality and accessibility of play spaces in their local areas. In summary, we were able to help Pembrokeshire County Council identify a reduction in the number of after-school and holiday provisions, as well as gaps in adequate public or subsidised transport for CYP in accessing play spaces. Additionally, there was an identified need for support after COVID-19 for families and staff, and it was found that regular funding for play events would be advantageous to promote accessibility. 

For Merthyr Tydfil, our research found that Covid-19 led to many children feeling anxious going outside to play, with nearly one-fifth expressing diminished enjoyment in outdoor activities. Notably, 50% of play providers acknowledged challenges faced by children with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) disabilities in participating in activities. Additionally, we identified limited availability of after school clubs, with only one catering for children with ALN specifically. Accessibility and affordability issues were also identified regarding holiday provision, as reported by both families and providers, and funding gaps were noted throughout the year. 


Our work has supported LAs immensely in identifying and evaluating the quality and diversity of play opportunities in their local areas, and therefore enabled them to develop, strengthen and improve upon their existing play policies. At PAG, we’re delighted that our work has assisted LAs in developing further play strategies to improve the lives of children and young people during their formative years.

Given our successful history of delivering PSAs in Wales, we’re looking to continue supporting LAs throughout the UK with these assessments, particularly in Scotland where the need for PSAs is currently in the process of being implemented as part of an evidence report under section 16B of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

If you’re looking for support conducting a PSA or have any enquiries about our previous work, please click here to get in contact with our expert team.


“I found PAG extremely helpful when conducting our most recent PSA. All staff members were always polite, helpful and really responsive to all my issues and queries. Everyone was also on hand to provide support and guidance throughout the whole process, even after the PSA was complete. Staff members supported me to facilitate consultation sessions with both adults and children and supported me in collecting the data required at the time. My overall experience with PAG was fantastic, I had all the support and guidance I needed and everyone was so willing to provide support which was so helpful. Thank you to everyone at PAG!”

- Kelly Hamid, Education Welfare Service Manager, Pembrokeshire County Council

If you have any questions about opening our support with a PSA, please get in touch by contacting us at, or completing our contact form here.