Assembly Reform Programme
Wales has changed significantly since we voted to establish the National Assembly in 1997. After 20 years representing the people of Wales, the Assembly Commission believes the time is right to transform our Assembly for new challenges and help create a Welsh democracy fit for the future.
It is approaching this reform in two phases.
In the first phase, the Assembly Commission is proposing a new law, called the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill to lower the voting age, change the name of the Assembly and make other important changes.
The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill was introduced on 12th February 2019. The Assembly debated and agreed the general principles of the Bill on the 10 July 2019.
Votes at 16
The Senedd and Elections Bill will lower the voting age to 16.
The proposed new law will put Wales firmly on the road towards votes at 16 becoming a reality for 2021. Empowering 16 and 17 year olds to vote at Welsh general elections, giving them a voice on decisions that will define their future.
Learn more about votes at 16 >
Changing the Name of the Assembly
The Senedd and Elections Bill will change the name of the Assembly to 'Senedd'.
The name of the Assembly is intended to reflect its constitutional status as a national parliament. Senedd is widely used and recognised in Wales, belonging to an international family of names used to describe national legislatures.
Learn more about name change >
Electoral Administration in Wales
The Bill will provide clarity for potential Senedd candidates about their eligibility to stand for election. Enabling more people to stand without having first to resign their job.
In addition, it will require the Senedd to review arrangements for the accountability and financing of the Electoral Commission for devolved elections, and make other changes to the Assembly's electoral and internal arrangements.Learn more >
"It is intended that Votes at 16 and renaming the Assembly will be the first step in a programme of wider Assembly reform. These changes will help create a Welsh democracy fit for the future by 2021."
- Elin Jones AM. Llywydd, The National Assembly for Wales
Read more >
Scrutiny of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill
The first stage of the scrutiny of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill was led by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, which recommended that the Assembly should agree the Bill’s general principles. The Finance Committee also carried out detailed scrutiny of the costs.
The Assembly debated and agreed the general principles of the Bill on 10 July 2019. The Bill will now be considered line by line by during Stage 2 of the legislative process.
Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee >
Finance Committee >
Assembly Reform: Phase 2
Discussions are ongoing about the number of Assembly Members Wales needs, how they are elected and how to ensure the Assembly fully reflects the communities and people it serves.
As political consensus on these issues is yet to be achieved the Commission has decided it is not possible to legislate on Phase 2 of electoral reform in this Assembly.
However, the Commission’s work to explore issues relating to the size of the Assembly and how Members should be elected will continue assisting the public debate and political parties as they consider their views on these matters.
Democracy Doesn't Stand Still
Get more information and the background to the Assembly Reform Programme.