What does the National Assembly for Wales do?

The National Assembly for Wales represents the people of Wales.

It has the power to make decisions in the following areas:

  • agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and rural development
  • ancient monuments and historic buildings
  • culture
  • economic development
  • education and training
  • the environment
  • fire and rescue services
  • health and health services
  • highways and transport
  • housing
  • industry
  • local government
  • public administration
  • social welfare
  • sport and recreation
  • tourism
  • town and country planning
  • water and flood defence
  • the Welsh language

As a result of the Government of Wales Act 2006, the National Assembly for Wales can now make laws in these areas, known as Assembly Bills. These laws are unique to Wales and will reflect the specific needs and concerns of people in Wales.

The UK Government retains control of certain public services and areas of legislation, such as responsibilities for the police service, social security and employment.

Find out more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales

How is it made up?

There are 60 elected Assembly Members (AMs) and you are represented by five of them. One AM represents your Assembly constituency and the other four all represent your region.

The Welsh Government is formed from the party or parties holding the most seats in the Assembly and is led by the First Minister.

The Government is made up of a further nine Ministers who each have responsibility for a specific area. There are also four Deputy Ministers.

Ministers are answerable to the Assembly and have to answer questions from other AMs about their policies and activities.

How is it elected?

When you vote in a National Assembly for Wales election you have two votes – one to elect your constituency member and one to elect your regional member.

In the constituency ballot, you choose the candidate you want to represent you directly.

In the regional ballot, you choose from a list of party or independent candidates to represent your region.

When is it elected?

Elections for the National Assembly for Wales take place every five years.

Who is eligible to vote?

To vote in a National Assembly for Wales election you must be registered to vote, 18 years of age or over on polling day and also be one of the following:

  • a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the European Union
  • resident in Wales
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

Find out more about who is eligible to vote

Last updated: 1 November 2019
Next review: 11 September 2020