Balancing Benefits with Risk

3 Sep



Today the HSE Has published a high level statement developed jointly with the Play Safety Forum promoting a more balanced approach to assessing risks in play: Children’s play and leisure: promoting a balanced approach


Essentially, whilst not relieving anybody of their responsibility for sensible care, the statement endorses the approach of balancing the benefits of an activity against the risks inherent in that activity (Risk Benefit Assessment or RBA). This is the approach advocated by the play safety forum (PSF) for the past four years.


Personally I do believe that this is a landmark publication. As I said in my comment on Tim Gill’s Rethinking Childhood blog It’s health and safety gone sane! My passion has always been working on the edge of convention. This is where invention and originality thrive. This is where we develop and create the future, but this is also where existing norms cannot be applied. Norms by their very nature are based on the known and experienced and of course this does not just apply to Play but to all creative activities such as Art, Sport and, for that matter, Science.


The reason that RBA is so important is that it creates a process that allows us to overcome those barriers that naturally inhibit change, be they prejudice, legal or commercial. Few people embrace change and uncertainty, but with such barriers in place society and in our case play cannot develop. So for me RBA is the route to the future. The optimist in me believes a better, more creative and exciting future. What more could one ask?


4 Responses to “Balancing Benefits with Risk”

  1. Tim Gill September 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Thanks for linking to my blog post Robin. I couldn’t agree more with your point about the value of RBA in helping to free ourselves – and our children – from excessive constraints that discourage creativity, flexibility and (of course) resilience.

  2. Harry Marsh September 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Excellent stuff Robin. Full marks for persistence. Harry Marsh

  3. opalcic September 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I am really excited by this development. I use the managing risk statement everyday in my work and I believe that this actually carries more weight because it comes directly from the H&SE. Thanks to all on the Play Safety Forum for the years of chipping away this has taken. It is a game changer.


  1. Just out on the HSE’s site: Children’s play and leisure: promoting a balanced approach | NW Play Network - September 5, 2012

    […] Also, If you want some background and a great talk through, go to Tim Gills “Re-thinking Childhood” blog & Robin Sutcliffe’s blog  […]

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