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​ National Assembly for Wales: GlossaryTop

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 
 
 

A

Act of the Assembly: The National Assembly for Wales currently has the power to make laws in any of its 20 areas of responsibility. These areas of responsibility are known as subjects. Proposals for new laws (called Bills) are presented to the Assembly. If the Assembly approves the proposals then the Bill is ready to become an Act. A Bill can only become an Act of the Assembly once it has been approved by the monarch, a process called Royal Assent. Acts are often referred to as primary legislation.

Act of Parliament: An Act of Parliament is a law made by the UK Parliament. Proposals for new laws (called Bills) are debated by both the House of Lords and House of Commons. If both Houses of Parliament vote for the proposals then the Bill is ready to become an Act. A Bill can only become an Act of Parliament once it has been approved by the monarch, a process called Royal Assent.

Additional Member System: This is the hybrid voting system used to elect Assembly members. It combines elements of First Past the Post the 40 constituencies, and proportional representation, where voters select from a list of candidates for each party in five regions, returning a further 20 Assembly Members. This helps to overcome the disproportionally often associated with First Past the Post elections.

All-Party groups: See Cross-Party groups

Allowances: See Expenses

Annual Budget Motion: This represents the final stage of the budget process in Wales, and is the means by which the National Assembly for Wales grants authorisation for the Welsh Ministers to spend resources, retain income and draw cash from the Welsh Consolidated Fund. The Annual Budget Motion also provides funding for the Assembly itself, the Auditor General for Wales and the Public Service Ombudsman.

Amendments (to a Bill): Suggested changes to the text of a Bill which are proposed by Assembly Members (including those who are also Welsh Ministers). Amendments can be suggested at Stage Two, Stage Three and the Report Stage of the Assembly’s legislative process, and Assembly Members can vote on whether they should be agreed or not.

Amendments (to Motions): Suggested changes to the text of a motion debated in Plenary. Except when Standing Orders provide otherwise, Assembly Members can propose amendments to any motion.

Assembly: see National Assembly for Wales

Assembly Business: The collective term used to describe the work carried out by Assembly Members through Plenary and committee meetings.

Assembly Commission: The corporate body for the National Assembly for Wales is known as the Assembly Commission, and has responsibility for the provision of property, staff and services to support Assembly Members. The Commission is headed by five Commissioners: the Llywydd (Presiding Officer) and four other Assembly Members nominated by the main political parties.

Assembly Members: The Assembly is made up of 60 elected Assembly Members. 40 are chosen to represent individual constituencies and 20 are chosen to represent the five regions of Wales. Also referred to as AMs or Members.

Assembly Election: Assembly elections are usually held every five years. Everybody in Wales who is aged 18 or over is able to vote for the people they would like to be represented by. Everyone who votes will have two ballot papers. One is for their Constituency Assembly Member; the person that represents their local area in the Assembly. The other ballot paper is used to vote for Regional Assembly Members, but rather than voting for individual members, they vote for one of the political parties.

Assembly Proceedings: Any proceedings of the Assembly, including Plenary and committee meetings.

Assembly Questions: Assembly Members may ask Assembly Questions to the First Minister, Welsh Ministers, Counsel General or Assembly Commission about any matters which fall within their areas of responsibility. There are four types of Assembly Questions: Oral Questions, Written Questions, Emergency Questions and Topical Questions.

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Ballots for Member proposed legislation: From time to time the Presiding Officer holds a ballot to determine the name of an Assembly Member who may seek agreement to introduce a Member Bill. The ballot must include the names of all Members who have applied to be included and who have tabled the required pre-ballot information. Members who are also Cabinet Secretaries or Welsh Ministers may not enter the ballot. The ballots are conducted by the Table Office, and the result of the ballot is published on the Assembly website and announced by the Presiding Officer in Plenary.

Barnett Formula: A formula used to adjust the amounts of public expenditure on comparable services by departments of the UK Government to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Bill: A Bill is a proposed law. If the Assembly approves the proposals then the Bill is ready to become an Act. A Bill can only become an Act of the Assembly once it has been approved by the monarch, a process called Royal Assent. Acts are often referred to as primary legislation.

Block grant: The block grant is the sum of money voted by the UK Parliament to be allocated to the Secretary of State for the relevant devolved administration. It constitutes the assigned budget within the departmental expenditure limit, and is calculated from the existing baseline using the Barnett formula.

Budget process: The annual budget cycle for the Welsh Government can be broken down into distinct stages: Draft Budget, Annual Budget Motion and Supplementary Budget Motion.

Business Committee: The Business Committee is responsible for the organisation of Assembly Business. It’s role is to facilitate the effective organisation of Assembly proceedings.

By-election: A by-election occurs when an Assembly seat becomes vacant during a current Assembly (ie between Assembly elections) because a constituency Member dies, resigns or becomes ineligible to sit for some other reason. In the event that a regional Assembly Member is unable to sit for some reason, they are replaced by the next person on their list.

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Cabinet: The Cabinet of the Welsh Government is made up of the First Minister, Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers and the Counsel General to the Welsh Government.

Chair: All National Assembly for Wales committees have a Chair, who has been elected by the Assembly and who usually sits at the head of the table during the Committee’s meetings. The Chair’s main role is to ensure that there is a fair balance of opportunities for committee members to ask questions and for witnesses to respond. In effect, the Chair has similar responsibilities in committee meetings to the Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officer when chairing Plenary meetings.

Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly: The Clerk of the Assembly is also the Assembly Commission’s Chief Executive and is the person answerable for the effectiveness of the service which staff provide to the Commission and to the Assembly. The Clerk is also the Principal Accounting Officer for the Commission. The accounting officer has responsibility for ensuring that tax-payers’ money is spent in accordance with the law and with rules designed to ensure that it is spent appropriately and transparently.

Clerk of the Assembly: See Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

Coalition: An arrangement whereby more than one political party agrees to form a government, usually occurring where no party wins more than half the seats.

Code of Conduct: The Code of Conduct for Assembly Members aims to provide guidance for all Members of the National Assembly on the standards of conduct expected of them in the discharge of their Assembly and public duties.

Committee: Committees are small groups of Assembly Members who collectively represent the balance of the political parties in the Assembly. One of the committee's members, will have been elected by the Assembly as the committee's Chair. Committees scrutinise proposed legislation (Bills) and Welsh Government policies and make recommendations for improvements. Assembly Members who are also Cabinet Secretaries or Welsh Ministers cannot become members of committees.

Committee Chair: See Chair

Committee of the Regions: A political assembly based in Brussels comprised of representatives from local and regional authorities across the European Union that is consulted on European Union policy development and legislation relevant to the local and regional level. Wales has four representatives within the UK delegation of 48 (24 full and 24 alternate Members): two from the Assembly and two from the Welsh Local Government Association.

Committee of the whole Assembly: This is when amendments to a Bill are considered at Stage 2 proceedings by all Assembly Members, rather than just by those elected to a particular committee.

Commission: See Assembly Commission

Consent Motions: See Legislative Consent Motions

Consultation: Public consultation means asking members of the public for their views on a particular issue. This can be done by asking people to write to the Assembly setting out what they think about a particular issue. This is called a "Call for evidence". Anyone can respond to a call for evidence, in writing, through videos or in an audio form (giving written and digital information to a committee).

Constituency: Wales is divided into 40 electoral areas, known as constituencies, which each elect an Assembly Member (AM) to the National Assembly for Wales under the ‘first past the post’ system.

Constituency Assembly Members: The Assembly is made up of 60 elected Assembly Members. 40 are chosen to represent individual constituencies and 20 are chosen to represent the five regions of Wales.

Counsel General: The Chief Legal Adviser to the Welsh Government. The Counsel General is not a Welsh Minister, but is a member of the Welsh Government. The Counsel General does not have to be an Assembly Member.

Cross-Party Groups: Cross-Party Groups may be set up by Assembly Members in respect of any subject area relevant to the Assembly. A group must include Members from three political party groups represented within the Assembly.

Cwrt: This is a space where Assembly Members meet before and after debates, close to the committee rooms in the Senedd. Two double doors lead through the curved wall of the drum of the Siambr and into the Siambr itself.

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Debate: A discussion between Assembly Members. Debates take place in the Siambr and can be followed by a vote.

Deposited papers: Deposited papers include any paper required to be placed in the Assembly Library by a Minister, the Presiding Officer or any other Member, which is not laid before the Assembly in any other way. Deposited papers generally take the form of letters or other communications conveying information from a Minister to another Assembly Member that cannot be expressed fully during a Plenary session. They can include copies of correspondence with outside bodies, maps or statistical information.

Devolution: Devolution is the transfer or delegation of power to a more local level. It is typically used to refer to the transfer of power from the UK's central government to the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive. In Wales, powers have been devolved from UK Ministers to Welsh Ministers and law making powers from the UK Parliament to the National Assembly for Wales

Democracy: Democracy means that everyone in a country should have a say in who makes decisions and what happens in that country. In a democratic country, elections will be held where the people are able to decide who should represent them.

Dissolution: Dissolution is the official term for the end of an Assembly.

Documents Laid: See Laid Documents

Draft Budget Motion: This is the first stage of the budget process in Wales and allows Assembly Members and committees to scrutinise the Welsh Government’s spending plans prior to the Annual Budget Motion.

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E-democracy: E-democracy is the effective use of new digital channels (such as Twitter or Facebook) and traditional communications techniques (such as Press Releases) to ensure the National Assembly engages effectively with the people of Wales and allows them to converse quickly and easily with the Assembly.

Electoral Roll: This is the list of people who are registered to vote. You need to have your name on the electoral roll before you can vote in any election. In Wales, to be able to vote you have to be aged 18 or over on the day the election is held. You also have to be a British citizen, or have parents who are British citizens.

Emergency Question: Assembly Members may make a request at any time to ask an Emergency Question to a member of the Welsh Government or Assembly Commission during Plenary meetings. However, Emergency Questions are only allowed if the Presiding Officer (or the Deputy Presiding Officer if a question relates to the Assembly Commission) is satisfied that the question is of urgent national significance.

Exceptions: Policy areas listed in the 21 subjects in Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 in which the Assembly cannot legislate.

Executive: A term used to describe Government and distinguish it from the legislature, or parliament. In Wales the executive is the Welsh Government, and the legislature is the National Assembly for Wales. The executive formulates policy and implements legislation.

Expenses: Members are entitled to funds to employ staff and run offices in their constituencies so that they can deal with issues and cases raised by the people they represent. These are known as expenses. They are also entitled to be reimbursed for any expenses incurred when it has been necessary to stay away from their main home overnight when carrying out official Assembly duties.

Explanatory Memorandum: Each Bill presented to the Assembly must also be accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum that sets out its policy objectives, details of any consultation already undertaken, estimates of the costs of implementing the Bill and any other relevant information.

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F

Fields: Devolved policy areas within which the National Assembly for Wales has the power to make laws. For further information see: Subjects.

First Minister: An Assembly Member appointed by the Monarch, following nomination by the Assembly. The First Minister is the head of the Welsh Government, who then appoints the other Welsh Ministers.

First Past the Post: An electoral system where the person with the highest number of votes wins. In Assembly elections, 40 Members are elected to represent constituencies using this system.

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General Election: A General Election is held at least once every five years. This is when everyone in the UK who is over the age of 18 and has registered to vote has the opportunity to choose Members of Parliament (MPs) who will represent them in the UK Parliament.

Government of Wales Act 2006: This Act, passed by the UK Parliament in 2006, gave the Assembly powers to make laws in Wales, and made changes to the way that Assembly Members are elected. The Act also separated the Welsh Government from the National Assembly for Wales.

Green Paper: Green Papers are consultation documents produced by the UK Government and Welsh Government.

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I

Inquiry: Piece of scrutiny work undertaken by an Assembly Committee on a particular policy area or topic. A committee will normally produce a report of its inquiry, including recommendations to the Welsh Government.

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Laid documents: Laying is the formal procedure by which documents are presented to the Assembly. These include most documents relevant to Assembly Business such as Assembly committee reports, Welsh Government papers, or documents from external organisations which are required to report to the Assembly. Laying or ‘tabling’ is the formal procedure by which documents are presented to the Assembly’s Table Office for consideration. All Laid Documents are published by the Table Office and are available to view on the Assembly website.

Laws: These are rules which are decided by a government, they tell people what can and cannot be done in a country. The laws made by the National Assembly are called Acts.

Legislation: General term for new laws and the process of making them.

Legislative Competence: The term used to describe the scope of the Assembly’s power to legislate. Following the ‘yes’ vote in the referendum in March 2011, the Assembly’s legislative competence to pass Acts is set out in Sections 108 and 109 and the 20 Subjects included in Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Legislative Competence Order (LCO): An Order in Council which, if approved by the Assembly and both Houses of the UK Parliament, changes the Legislative Competence of the Assembly.

Legislative Consent Motions (LCM): The consent of the Assembly is sought in certain instances where UK Government Ministers want to pass laws in areas which have been devolved to Wales. Such consent is given by the Assembly through Consent Motions.

Legislature: A law-making body where new laws are debated and agreed, often referred to as a parliament. It scrutinises the government’s decisions and holds the government to account. In Wales, the legislature is the National Assembly for Wales. The government is known as the executive.

Llywydd: The Llywydd (Presiding Officer) is elected by all Assembly Members and serves the Assembly impartially. The Llywydd's main role is to chair Plenary, maintain order and ensure that Standing Orders are followed. The current Presiding Officer is Elin Jones AM.

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Manifesto: This is a list of promises made by a political party, usually before an election. The manifesto suggests the things that a party will do if they are elected.

Measures: During the Third Assembly (May 2007 – March 2011) the laws made by the National Assembly for Wales were called Measures.

Members: See Assembly Members

Minutes of proceedings: See Record of Proceedings

Motion: A proposal made for the purpose of obtaining a decision from the Assembly.

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N

National Assembly for Wales (the Assembly): The National Assembly for Wales is made up of 60 Assembly Members from across Wales. They are elected by the people of Wales to represent them and their communities, make laws for Wales, agree Welsh taxes and to ensure the Welsh Government is doing its job properly.

National Assembly for Wales Commission: See Assembly Commission

Neuadd: The large space which houses the reception area in the Senedd is called the Neuadd.

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O

Opposition: This term refers to the Members who are not part of the party (or parties) who form the Government. The Opposition will scrutinise the Government.

Orders: See Legislative Competence Orders

Oral Questions: Oral Questions are tabled each week for oral answer in Plenary by the First Minister; and every four weeks for oral answer by each of the Welsh Ministers, the Counsel General and the Assembly Commission.

Oriel: The area at the top of the stairs which surrounds the large funnel at the centre of the Senedd is called the Oriel.

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Parliament: A group of elected politicians who debate and make laws.

Parliamentary Supremacy: This is the doctrine in UK constitutional law that the Parliament of the United Kingdom is the sovereign law-making body. This means it is supreme to all other governmental institutions and may amend or repeal any legislation passed by previous parliaments with a majority.

Participation: Taking part in the democratic process. People can participate by voting, by standing for election, by joining a political party, submitting a petition, or by taking part in a local or national campaign. You can also participate in a Committee Inquiry by responding to a Consultation.

Parties: These are groups of people who have similar views. Most politicians belong to a political party, although it is possible to be elected as an independent candidate.

Pierhead: An iconic red-brick, Grade One listed building, the Pierhead was once the focal point of commerce in Wales. The Pierhead is now a unique visitor, events and conference venue for the people of Wales.

Petition: A process through which members of the public can bring specific issues to the attention of the Assembly. Petitions can be submitted by individuals or organisations on any topic within the Assembly’s legislative competence. All admissible petitions that collect the support of at least 50 individuals are considered by the Petitions Committee.

Plenary: This is the term used to describe the full meeting of all 60 Assembly Members in the Siambr (the main chamber of the Senedd) to conduct business. Plenary meetings currently take place on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons during Term Time.

Policies: These are the plans of a political party, usually set out in their manifesto. They say what that party would hope to do if they won the election.

Pre-legislative scrutiny: Consideration of draft legislation by a Parliamentary or Assembly committee before the formal legislative process starts.

Presiding Officer: The Presiding Officer (Llywydd) is elected by all Assembly Members and serves the Assembly impartially. The Presiding Officer’s main role is to chair Plenary, maintain order and ensure that Standing Orders are followed. The current Presiding Officer is Elin Jones AM.

Primary Legislation: This refers to the laws passed by the UK Parliament in Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Assembly for Wales.

Principal Accounting Officer: See Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

Privy Council: A meeting of the Queen and her Privy Counsellors who are members of the government. Assembly Bills will be approved at Privy Council.

Proportional Representation: Proportional representation is an electoral system in which the distribution of seats corresponds closely with the proportion of the total votes cast for each party. The 20 Regional Assembly Members are elected through Proportional Representation using the Additional Member System.

Public gallery: Above the Siambr in the Senedd building is a public gallery, and members of the public are welcome to sit in the gallery and view Plenary. There are normally 120 seats available, with 12 wheelchair spaces, and these can be booked up to three weeks in advance. Each Assembly committee room also has a public gallery with normally 30 seats and four wheelchair spaces, again these can be booked up to three weeks in advance of a meeting. When a committee meets in Private you may not be able to sit in the Public gallery for some or all of the meeting.

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Questions: Assembly Members may ask Assembly Questions to the First Minister, Welsh Ministers, Counsel General or Assembly Commission about any matters which fall within their areas of responsibility. There are four types of Assembly Questions; Oral Questions, Written Questions, Emergency Questions and Topical Questions. See below for details.

Questions (Emergency): Assembly Members may make a request at any time to ask an Emergency Question to a member of the Welsh Government or Assembly Commission during Plenary meetings. However, Emergency Questions are only allowed if the Presiding Officer (or the Deputy Presiding Officer if a question relates to the Assembly Commission) is satisfied that the question is of urgent national significance.

Questions (Oral): Oral Questions are tabled each week for oral answer in Plenary by the First Minister; and every four weeks for oral answer by each of the Welsh Ministers, the Counsel General and the Assembly Commission.

Questions (Topical): 20 minutes are made available for Members to ask Topical Questions to the First Minister, Welsh Ministers or Counsel General after Oral Assembly Questions on Wednesday each week that the Assembly sits in Plenary. Topical Questions must relate to a matter of national, regional or local significance where an expedited Ministerial response is desirable.

Questions (Written): Written Questions are tabled for a Welsh Minister or the Counsel General, on matters relating to his or her responsibilities, and the Commission on matters relating to the Commission’s responsibilities. Answers are sent in written form to the Assembly Member and published on the Record of Proceedings page of the Assembly website.

Quorum: The minimum number of Assembly Members that must be present for a committee meeting to go ahead.

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R

Recess: periods during which the Assembly does not formally sit. During this time Members can undertake work in their constituencies.

Record of Proceedings (Y Cofnod): The official record of Plenary meetings which includes all statements, speeches and interventions made by Assembly Members and the details of any votes taken. The Record of Proceedings is published by the Assembly’s Translation and Reporting Service within 24 hours of the end of the meeting.

A record is also taken of committee meetings, a draft version of which is usually published within a week of each meeting. These transcripts are available from the individual committees’ webpages or by Searching the Record.

Referendum: The process by which a question is referred to the electorate, who vote on it in a similar way to an election. The National Assembly for Wales was set up following a ‘yes’ vote in a referendum held in September 1997. In March 2011, a referendum was held on the legislative powers of the National Assembly for Wales. The people of Wales voted in favour of giving the Assembly further powers for making laws in Wales, with 63.5% of those voting were in favour of the change.

Regions: For the purposes of the Assembly elections, Wales is divided into five regions: South Wales East; South Wales Central; South Wales West; Mid and West Wales; North Wales. Each region elects four Assembly Members using a system of proportional representation, called the Additional Member System.

Regional Assembly Members: See Regions

Register of Members’ Interests: The Assembly maintains and publishes a Register of Members’ Financial and Other Interests and a Record of the Employment of Family Members.

Research Service: A service within the Assembly which provides expert and impartial research and information to support Assembly Members and committees in fulfilling the scrutiny, legislative and representative functions of the Assembly.

Reserved Matters: These are the policy areas which have not been devolved. This means the National Assembly for Wales does not currently have the power to make laws in these subject areas, so these laws are made in Westminster instead. Some of these subjects include the military, defence, and employment law.

Royal Assent: A Bill can only become an Act once it has been approved by the monarch. This is called Royal Assent and is the final stage in the legislative process. All Bills (both from the Assembly and the UK parliament) must receive Royal Assent in order to become law.

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Scrutinise: When the National Assembly for Wales examines the work of the Welsh Government, this process is called ‘scrutiny’. This means holding the Welsh Government to account for its decisions and its actions. This job is done by the committees of the National Assembly.

Secretary of State for Wales: The Secretary of State for Wales is a member of the UK Government and currently has a seat in Cabinet. His or her role is defined as acting to ensure that the interests of Wales are fully taken into account by the UK Government when making decisions that will have effect in Wales; to represent the UK Government in Wales and to be responsible for ensuring the passage of Wales-only legislation through Parliament. The Secretary of State is not a Member of the Assembly.

Senedd: The public building in Cardiff Bay where the business of the National Assembly for Wales is conducted. The people of Wales have free access to the Senedd and the public gallery, where they can observe the Assembly Members in action.

Siambr: This is the debating chamber in the Senedd building where Plenary Meetings of the National Assembly for Wales are held. There is a public gallery above the Siambr, where members of the public can arrange to watch the meetings as they happen.

Siambr Hywel: The former Assembly debating chamber, Siambr Hywel is a unique events space in Ty Hywel. It is named after Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good) who made the first laws for Wales in the tenth century. When the Senedd opened its doors in 2006, Siambr Hywel was renovated and re-opened as a dedicated youth debating chamber and interactive learning centre. Siambr Hywel is the first of its kind in Europe and, since its launch in 2009, it has been a popular venue for teaching, conferences and lectures.

Short Debate: A Short Debate on a topic proposed by an Assembly Member (excluding Members who are also Cabinet Secretaries or Welsh Ministers) is held each week that the Assembly meets in Plenary. They are usually held during the final 30 minutes of the Assembly’s Wednesday Plenary meeting.

Standards Commissioner: The Assembly’s Standards Commissioner (whose full title is the National Assembly for Wales Commissioner for Standards) is an independent person appointed by the Assembly to provide advice and assistance relating to the conduct of Assembly Members. The Standards Commissioner is an independent investigator of any complaints against Assembly Members that they have breached the Assembly’s codes, protocols or resolutions. The current Standards Commissioner is Sir Roderick Evans.

Standing Orders: These are the written rules which govern Assembly proceedings. They outline the way Members should behave, how Bills are processed and debates organised.

Statements of Opinion: Statements of Opinion allow Members to draw attention to matters of concern or areas of achievement on any subject affecting Wales. They can be tabled by any Assembly Member, except those which are also a Cabinet Secretary or Welsh Minister. Statements of Opinion may be supported, opposed or subject to comment in writing by other Assembly Members and are published on the Assembly website by the Table Office.

Subjects: The National Assembly can make laws for Wales. Assembly laws are called Acts. The Assembly currently has the power to create Acts in the 21 subjects, sometimes known as fields, listed below:

  • 01 Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development
  • 02 Ancient monuments and historical buildings
  • 03 Culture
  • 04 Economic development
  • 05 Education and training
  • 06 Environment
  • 07 Fire and rescue services and safety promotion
  • 08 Food
  • 09 Health and health services
  • 10 Highways and transport
  • 11 Housing
  • 12 Local government
  • 13 National Assembly for Wales
  • 14 Public services
  • 15 Social welfare
  • 16 Sport and recreation
  • 17 Tourism
  • 18 Devolved taxes
  • 19 Town and country planning
  • 20 Water and flood defences
  • 21 Welsh Language

Subordinate Legislation: Subordinate Legislation is also referred to as secondary legislation, delegated legislation or statutory instruments. It includes orders, regulations, rules and schemes, and can include statutory guidance and local orders.

Supplementary Budget Motion: A supplementary budget motion can be moved by a Welsh Minister at any time before, during or after the financial year to which it applies (ie. any time after the Annual Budget Motion has been passed). The purpose of the supplementary budget is to request authorisation for in-year changes to the Annual Budget Motion.

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Table Office: The Table Office is responsible for providing impartial advice to Assembly Members on both the procedures for, and the acceptability of, Assembly Business. This includes all aspects of Assembly Business taken in Plenary meetings, but also Assembly questions, statements of opinion, cross-party groups, documents laid and most other Assembly Business.

Temporary Chair: Each committee has the power to appoint a temporary chair in the absence of its chair.

Terms of reference: The framework of an inquiry which may be agreed by a committee before the inquiry begins.

The Record: See Record of Proceedings.

Topical Questions: 20 minutes are made available for Members to ask Topical Questions to the First Minister, Welsh Ministers or Counsel General after Oral Assembly Questions on Wednesday each week that the Assembly sits in Plenary. Topical Questions must relate to a matter of national, regional or local significance where an expedited Ministerial response is desirable.

Tŷ Hywel: The main office building housing Assembly staff, meeting rooms, Committee Rooms 4&5 and Siambr Hywel, the former Assembly debating chamber which is now used as part of our education suite.

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Urgent Questions: Urgent Questions were discontinued in May 2017. See: Emergency Questions and Topical Questions.

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Vote: A vote in Plenary is generally taken using an electronic voting system. Members may also vote in Plenary or Committees by a simple show of hands or a formal role call if required.

W

Welsh Consolidated Fund: Public money allocated to Wales by the UK Government is paid into this fund, via the Secretary of State for Wales, and also funds received from other sources.

Welsh Government: The body with executive, governmental responsibilities established under the Government of Wales Act 2006 to develop policies and take decisions. The Welsh Government consists of the First Minister; the Cabinet Secretaries; the Welsh Ministers; and the Counsel General.

Welsh Minister: An Assembly Member appointed as Welsh Minister by the First Minister, with the approval of the Monarch, forming part of the Welsh Government. There can be no more than 12 Welsh Ministers (including Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers) in total at any one time, not including the First Minister.

Westminster: The UK Parliament (consisting of the House of Commons and the House of Lords) is based in the Palace of Westminster, London.

White Paper: A paper which sets out a proposed piece of law, and invites consultation responses.

Working day: Refers to any day unless it is:

  • (i) a Saturday or a Sunday;
  • (ii) Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Maundy Thursday or Good Friday;
  • (iii) a day which is a bank holiday in Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971; or
  • (iv) a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.

Written Questions: Written Questions are tabled for a Welsh Minister or the Counsel General, on matters relating to his or her responsibilities, and the Commission on matters relating to the Commission’s responsibilities. Answers are sent in written form to the Assembly Member and published on the Assembly website.

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