Adrian Voce OBE


Policy for Play is managed and edited by Adrian Voce OBE,  a writer, consultant and campaigner specialising in policy, planning and funding for children’s play.

He is an external member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood and on the core group of the European Network of Child-Friendly Cities. He is an experienced public speaker, recently giving presentations and workshops at conferences in Denmark, Zagreb, Moscow and London. Consultancy clients have included local and national play organisations, local authorities and commercial companies.

Adrian was the main government advisor on the Play Strategy (2008). As chair, then director of the Children’s Play Council and founding director of Play England, he played the key role in securing almost £350m of public funding for children’s play; an investment that saw an increase of almost 8 per cent over just one year in the level of satisfaction with local play provision expressed by children in England. He led the support for councils to build 3000 new play areas and 30 staffed adventure playgrounds; improving provision in the process through the production of groundbreaking new guidance in planning, design and risk management in children’s play.

Previously, after a long career as a playworker, Adrian was the first director of London Play (1998-2004), securing policy commitments for children’s play from the London Mayor and drafting the Mayor’s guidance on play strategies for the London Boroughs. Under his leadership, London Play built a number of successful independent play associations and developed the gold standard for quality assurance in staffed play provision in England: Quality in Play.

Adrian has produced a number of other influential publications and appeared often in the national media speaking and writing about play policy. His new book, Policy for Play, was published in October 2015 by Policy Press.

Adrian was awarded an OBE for services to children in 2011.

When he is not working, Adrian can often be found enjoying London’s parks and playgrounds with his two young sons, Eran and Theo, who have kindly agreed for their images to grace this site.

5 Responses to “Adrian Voce OBE”

  1. Mick Conway 26 November 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Hi Adrian – a test to see if I have managed to follow the blog and get notifications of new posts. Let me know if you get this. Third iteration of following you around the play world!


  2. Donne Buck 9 February 2016 at 11:34 pm #

    Despite nearly 80 years of proof that adventure playgrounds should form the apex of all local play provision if children are to gain most from their play, provision is reducing rather than expanding and current trends are all downhill. It is the presence of skilled staff, above all, that makes them different from all other forms of playground, yet it is become more and more difficult to provide them as the government makes it more and more costly to do so. The introduction of higher and higher minimum salaries and compulsory offers of pensions, will wipe many adventure playgrounds out of existence, especially those run by the voluntary sector. Here in Peterborough, where there was once a chain of voluntary and local authority adventure playgrounds across the city, all but one have been closed and the future for that one looks grim. This situation is true across the whole of Britain. Those of us with a life-long voluntary and professional commitment to children’s play locally, nationally and internationally are having to see the evidence of that 80 years assigned to history. We all need to consider how we can build on what Lady Allen of Hurtwood and all of us who followed her and stage a renaissance of children’s play provision as she did in the postwar years when there were only bombed sites for children to play on and no public funds to support adventure playgrounds. I hope that Adrian Voce’s work will spark something of this kind.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. How child-friendly is Moscow? | Rethinking Childhood - 11 December 2012

    […] Adrian Voce, who succeeded me as director at Play England, also spoke at the session. Introducing his take on the rise and fall of government interest in play, he shared a quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic exploration of human spirituality, The Brothers Karamazov, that beautifully captures the power and value of a good childhood: “People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education.” […]


  2. Lady Allen – the godmother of play – speaks | Rethinking Childhood - 24 June 2013

    […] in the late 1960s or early 70s. Thanks to London Play for uploading this video to Youtube, and to Adrian Voce and Marc Armitage for bringing it to my attention via […]


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