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.
In February 2019, the Assembly Commission proposed 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.
Following extensive scrutiny by the Assembly, the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill was passed on 27 November 2019. The Bill is expected to become law in January 2020.
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.
The Assembly today is a very different institution to the one established in 1999. Now with primary law-making powers and the ability to vary taxes, the new name will reflect its constitutional status as a national parliament.
Learn more about name change >
Electoral Administration in Wales
The Bill will provide clarity for potential candidates about their eligibility to stand for election, enabling more people to stand without having first to resign their job.
In addition, it will provide for the Electoral Commission to be financed by and accountable to the Assembly for its work in relation to devolved Welsh elections and referendums 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
Before being passed at the final stage of the Assembly’s legislative process, Stage 4, the Bill passed through three other stages. As part of the first stage, the Assembly debated and agreed the general principles of the proposed new law in July 2019. It then passed through two amending stages that shaped its final wording.
Follow the scrutiny of the Bill >
Assembly Reform: Phase 2
The Assembly agreed on 18 September 2019 to establish the Committee on Assembly Electoral Reform.
The Committee’s role is to examine the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform and it will be well-placed to ensure that consideration of the Assembly’s size and electoral arrangements is taken forward in a transparent, cross-party way.
Committee on Assembly Electoral Reform >
Democracy Doesn't Stand Still
Get more information and the background to the Assembly Reform Programme.