|Act of Parliament|
|Long title||An Act to make provision about the government of Wales.|
|Citation||2006 c. 32|
|Royal assent||25 July 2006|
|Amended by||National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012, Wales Act 2014, Wales Act 2017|
|History of passage through Parliament|
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Revised text of statute as amended|
The Government of Wales Act 2006 (c 32) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed the then-National Assembly for Wales (now the Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament) and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act creates a system of government with a separate executive drawn from and accountable to the legislature.
The Act has the following provisions:
- creates an executive body—the Welsh Assembly Government (known since May 2011 as the Welsh Government)—that is separate from the legislative body, that is, the National Assembly for Wales. The Welsh Government is therefore altered from being a committee of the National Assembly to being a distinct body
- forbids candidates both contesting constituencies and being on a regional list
- provides a mechanism for Orders in Council to delegate power from Parliament to the Assembly, which will give the Assembly powers to make "Measures" (Welsh Laws). Schedule 5 of the Act describes the fields in which the assembly has Measure making powers.
- provides for a referendum for further legislature competencies, to be known as "Acts of the Assembly"
- creates a Welsh Seal and a Keeper of the Welsh Seal (the First Minister)
- creates a Welsh Consolidated Fund
- creates the post of Counsel General as a member of the Welsh Government and its chief legal adviser.
- assigns to the Queen new functions of formally appointing Welsh ministers and granting royal assent to Acts of the Assembly.
The bill received Royal assent on 25 July 2006.
Schedule 5 of the Act
Schedule 5 of the Act describes the 20 "Fields" and "Matters" in which the National Assembly for Wales has Legislative competence i.e. the ability to pass Assembly Measures (or, since 2011, Acts). A Field is a broad subject area, such as education and training, the environment, health and health services, highways and transport, or housing. A Matter is a specific defined policy area within a Field.
The Assembly can gain further legislative competence by the amendment of Schedule 5. There are two ways in which this can happen: either as a result of clauses included in legislation passed by an Act of Parliament at Westminster, or by Legislative Competency Orders (LCOs) granted by Parliament in response to a request from the National Assembly itself (LCOs may be proposed by the Welsh Government, or by individual members, or by Assembly Committees, but must be approved by the National Assembly before they can go forward). The result of either method is to amend any of the 20 Fields by inserting specific Matters. The Assembly then has competence to pass legislation on those Matters.
Schedule 5 is regularly updated as result of these two processes. An up-to-date version of the Schedule (which also indicates where amendments are proposed) is available on the National Assembly's website.
Fields of Schedule 5
- Field 1: agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
- Field 2: ancient monuments and historic buildings
- Field 3: culture
- Field 4: economic development
- Field 5: education and training
- Field 6: environment
- Field 7: fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
- Field 8: food
- Field 9: health and health services
- Field 10: highways and transport
- Field 11: housing
- Field 12: local government
- Field 13: National Assembly for Wales
- Field 14: public administration
- Field 15: social welfare
- Field 16: sport and recreation
- Field 17: tourism
- Field 18: town and country planning
- Field 19: water and flood defence
- Field 20: Welsh language
- Government of Wales Act 2006 website[permanent dead link]
- Assembly Powers Tracking Notes
- WAGs tracking notes