Political Institutions: Wales

National Assembly for Wales | National Assembly Commission | Welsh Government | Govt of Wales Act 2006 | Wales Office


National Assembly for Wales

The National Assembly for Wales is a representative Assembly consisting of 60 elected Assembly Members (AMs). Forty members are elected in constituencies, using the ‘first-past-the-post’ system. The remaining twenty are elected by proportional representation to represent the five regions of Wales.

National Assembly for Wales

The National Assembly for Wales' Senedd Building in Cardiff Bay | CC Image courtesy of National Assembly for Wales Flickr Feed

The Assembly’s functions, including those of making subordinate legislation, mainly transferred to the Welsh Ministers following the implementation of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

The National Assembly's primary-law making powers were enhanced following a 'Yes' vote in a referendum on 3 March 2011, making it possible for it to legislate in the 20 areas that are devolved.

Government of Wales Act 2006

The Government of Wales Act 2006 came info force following elections to the National Assembly in May 2007. It:

  • legally separated the Welsh Assembly Government from the National Assembly for Wales, giving Welsh Ministers independent executive authority
  • made new provision for the appointment of Welsh Ministers: the First Minister is now nominated by the National Assembly, but appointed by the Queen, who also approves the First Minister's choice of other Ministers
  • enabled the National Assembly for Wales to gain enhanced legislative powers on matters approved by the Westminster Parliament. It also allowed for full legislative powers to be granted in the future if a referendum were to approve this, full legislative powers were granted after the successfull 'Yes' vote held on 3rd March 2011
  • changed the system for candidacy in National Assembly elections: from May 2007, each candidate was required to choose to stand either as a constituency representative or on a regional list.
  • The text of the Government of Wales Act 2006 is available here.


    National Assembly Commission

    The Commission is the corporate body for the National Assembly for Wales. Further details about the Assembly Commission can be found via this link.


    Welsh Government

    The Welsh Government is the devolved executive of Wales. It comprises the First Minister, the Welsh Ministers, the Counsel General and Deputy Ministers. The Cabinet, made up of the First Minister, seven additional Welsh Ministers and the Counsel General give strategic direction to the Welsh Government. The role of the executive is to make decisions, develop and implement policy and exercise executive functions. The Welsh Government is subject to democratic scrutiny by the National Assembly for Wales.

    The Welsh Government is currently a Labour government.

    More information about the Welsh Government is available via this link to its website

    Welsh Government Llandudno Junction

    Welsh Government, Llandudno Junction | CC Image courtesy of Welsh Government Flickr Feed


    The Wales Office

    The Wales Office is a UK Government Department. Administratively it is located within the UK Ministry of Justice. The Wales Office undertakes certain reserved functions for Wales that have not been transferred to the National Assembly for Wales or the Welsh Ministers; it also secures funds for Wales as part of the annual budgetary settlement and is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of UK legislation relating to Wales through the UK Parliament.

    Wales Office

    The Wales Office, Gwydyr House, London | CC Image courtesy of Welsh Government Flickr Feed

    The Wales Office website is available via this link.