The Senedd Commission is leading reforms to help create a democracy fit for the future.
Senedd Reform Programme
Today's Senedd is very different to the Assembly established in 1999. Then, it had no primary law-making powers and was not formally separated from the Welsh Government. Now, it raises taxes, makes laws and holds the Welsh Government to account in some of the areas which have the greatest impact on people's lives.
After 20 years of representing and delivering for Wales, the Senedd has developed into a fully-fledged parliament.
Phase One: The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020
After extensive discussion, consultation and debate Members voted for a new law to:
- - lower the voting age for Senedd elections to 16;
- - change the name of the Assembly to Senedd Cymru or Welsh Parliament;
- - name elected representatives "Member of the Senedd" (MS) or "Aelod o'r Senedd (AS)."
- - change the law relating to disqualification from being a Member;
- - enable qualifying foreign citizens to be able to vote in Senedd elections.
- - allows for the Electoral Commission to be accountable to and financed by the Senedd for devolved elections.
Votes at 16
The Senedd and Elections Act lowered the voting age to 16 for Senedd elections from 2021, giving them a voice on decisions that will define their future.
Learn more about votes at 16 >
Changing the Name of the Assembly to the Senedd
The Senedd and Elections Act changed the name of the Assembly to Senedd Cymru or Welsh Parliament, commonly known as the Senedd.
Our parliament today is a very different institution to the one established as the Assembly in 1999. Now with full law-making powers and the ability to vary taxes, the new name reflects the Senedd's constitutional status as a national parliament that takes decisions that impact the lives of all of us in Wales.
The Act was passed following a public consultation which showed that 61% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the Assembly should change its name.
Electoral Administration in Wales
The Act provides 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 provides for the Electoral Commission to be financed by and accountable to the Senedd for its work in relation to devolved Welsh elections and referendums and make other changes to the Senedd'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 reform. These changes will help create a Welsh democracy fit for the future by 2021."
- Elin Jones MS. Llywydd, The National Assembly for Wales
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How did the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 become law?
The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 became law on 15 January 2021.
As with all legislation, the Act was subject to the full legislative scrutiny processes.
The Act required a "super-majority" at its final legislative stage; at least 40 Members needed to vote in favour.
Learn more about the scrutiny of the Act
Discussions are ongoing about the number of Members of the Senedd Wales needs, how they are elected and how to ensure the Senedd fully reflects the communities and people it serves.
In July 2019 Members agreed that an increase in the number of elected Members is needed and that further cross-party work should be undertaken to take this forward. However, there is not yet consensus on the voting system that should be used to elect that larger institution, or on measures which could encourage the election of a more diverse legislature.
A committee has been established to examine the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform. The Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform is well-placed to ensure that consideration of the Senedd’s size and electoral arrangements is taken forward in a transparent, cross-party way and will report on its findings in due course.
Democracy Doesn't Stand Still
Get more information and the background to the Senedd Reform Programme.