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The roles and responsibilities of Members of the Senedd

What is a Member?

The Senedd is made up of 60 Members. Elections are held - usually in May - every five years. 40 Members are elected to represent their constituency while a further 20 represent their region (there are 5 regions).

What does a Member do?

They carry out the Senedd’s democratic work, represent the interests of Wales and its people, make and pass laws and hold the Welsh Government to account.

Members meet twice weekly (called Plenary) to discuss issues of importance to Wales and its people. Members question Welsh Government Ministers, debate issues and examine Welsh laws. Opposition parties can have debates on issues of their choice, usually on a Wednesday, and are allocated on the relative size of their party.

Members also meet in committees that focus on one area, such as health or the economy. Committees examine laws, scrutinise policy, run the Senedd’s business among other tasks. Committees allow Members to pool resources and specialise in particular fields. Membership of a committee roughly matches the overall representation of current elected parties.

The Senedd decides which Members should be on a committee. Other Members are usually allowed to attend committee meetings, but they are not able to vote. Committees can choose to meet in private when necessary, but most committees meet in public. Anyone can watch these meetings from the public galleries in the Senedd building, or on Senedd.tv.

Scrutinising the work of the Welsh Government

The Welsh Government is made up of up to 12 Ministers plus the First Minister. The Government is usually formed from the largest political party, but sometimes is made up from a mix of parties or independents.

One of the most important roles for a Member is to examine what the Welsh Government does. This involves debating policies, asking detailed questions and holding inquiries into specific issues.

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