Assembly reform programme
The Assembly now passes laws and agrees taxes, as well as holding the Government to account and providing a focal point for democratic discussions on issues that are important to the people of Wales.
Today's Assembly is a very different institution to the one established in 1999.
Then, it had no primary law-making powers and was not formally separated from the Welsh Government; now, it has responsibility for making laws and holding the Welsh Government to account in some of the areas which have the greatest impact on people's lives.
The National Assembly now operates on the basis of a new reserved powers model under
the Wales Act 2017, with responsibilities for the first Welsh taxes in 800 years, including income tax-varying powers.
The Wales Act 2017 also gives the Assembly the power to make decisions in relation to the institution’s size, name and how Members are elected.
In February 2018 the Assembly voted in favour of the Commission’s decision to consult on the recommendations of the
Expert Panel’s report on Assembly Electoral Reform, “A Parliament that Works for Wales”.
The Panel considered the Assembly’s capacity to deliver for the people of Wales, and concluded that with only 60 Members the Assembly is too small to carry out its functions effectively. The Panel also considered how Members should be elected, and what the minimum voting age should be for Assembly elections.
In addition to the recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform, the
consultation also included other potential changes to who can vote in Assembly elections and who can be an Assembly Member, as well as changes to the law relating to electoral administration and the Assembly’s internal arrangements.
The consultation ran from 12 February to 6 April 2018.
Responses are being analysed and a report on the consultation will be published in due course.
The Name of the National Assembly
In July 2016, Assembly Members agreed unanimously that the name of the Assembly should reflect its constitutional status as a national parliament.
The Assembly Commission consulted the public between 8 December 2016 and 3 March 2017.
consultation showed that 61 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the Assembly should change its name.
The name that respondents felt best described the institution's role and responsibility was: Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru.
"We have agreed that we should, before the end of this Assembly, legislate to change the name of the institution to Welsh Parliament / Senedd Cymru. Members would be known as Welsh Parliament Members (WPM) / Aelodau o Senedd Cymru (ASC)."
Read the full statement (PDF, 191KB) from the Llywydd Elin Jones AC/AM
The change will be taken forward as part of the wider programme of Assembly reform.
The Next Steps
The Commission intends to publish legislation in 2018 to give effect to a change in the Assembly’s name and other potential reforms.
The Commission will take a decision on the scope of the legislation later this year. Its decision will be informed by the responses to the Assembly Reform consultation.
A report on the consultation will be published in due course.
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The Llywydd established an Expert Panel to provide robust, politically impartial advice on the future capacity of the Assembly. It reported in December 2017.
Find out more about the Panel