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Senedd Elections

Information for Candidates

The information on this page is intended to give candidates for election to the Senedd background information on standing for election, and an outline of the support and guidance that will be available to them if elected.

Qualifications to be a Member of the Senedd

To be a Member of the Senedd you must qualify for membership, by meeting requirements such as age and citizenship.

You will also need to ensure that you are not disqualified from being a candidate.

There are a number of reasons why you might be disqualified from standing for election to the Senedd or from being a Member of the Senedd. The full range of disqualifications is complex and includes, for example, holders of certain offices, some people who have been declared bankrupt, and those convicted of certain offences.

Key legislation relating to disqualification includes the Government of Wales Act 2006 (as amended by the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020) and the National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2015. The Welsh Government is due to consult upon and bring forward a amended Order in advance of the May 2021 Senedd elections. This is likely to be in the Autumn of 2020.

The above legislation is not an exhaustive list of the legislation relating to disqualification and the information provided here is for guidance only. It is each candidate's own responsibility to ensure that they are not disqualified from standing for election or becoming a Member of the Senedd.

The Electoral Commission issues guidance on elections for candidates and agents. This includes information on qualification and disqualification from candidacy and membership of the Senedd. This guidance will be issued in advance of the 2021 Senedd Elections. However, if you are in any doubt you should consult all relevant legislation and / or take independent legal advice.

A Member of the Senedd experience

Since the creation of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999, the constitutional make-up of the Welsh law making body has changed dramatically and continues to develop.

During the fifth Assembly, the Seneddwas given the power to legislate about devolved taxes and the Wales Act 2017 fundamentally changes the devolution settlement.

Members of the Senedd have an important and unique role in representing the people of Wales and holding the Welsh Government to account, at a time when democracy in Wales is evolving around them.

The role of Members of the Senedd

Members represent the interests of Wales and its people, make laws for Wales and hold the Welsh Government to account.

Members represent interests of the individuals living within the constituency or region they have been elected to represent. They have regular contact with the public through meetings, telephone calls, correspondence or surgeries.

When the Senedd is in session, Members meet in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to discuss issues of importance to Wales and its people. They meet together in Plenary twice a week, where Members ask questions of Welsh Government Ministers, debate issues such as Government policies and committee reports and examine Welsh laws. Opposition parties can have debates on issues of their choice, and debates are allocated according to the relative size of the parties in the Senedd.

Members also meet in committees, which have been set up by the Senedd to examine how the Welsh Government does its job, to consider proposed laws, and to investigate issues that matter to people in Wales.

Through committees, the Senedd is able to carry out more detailed scrutiny and Members are able to specialise in particular subjects.

Oath or affirmation of allegiance

Members of the Senedd are required to take an oath of allegiance or make a corresponding affirmation soon after their election. The work that they can do as a Member is restricted until the oath has been taken or the affirmation made.

Support for Members

Constituency and regional Members receive the same support. More information about the roles and responsibilities of constituency and regional Members is detailed in Standing Orders, which are the rules governing the procedures of the Senedd.

Commission support

The Senedd Commission is the corporate body responsible for ensuring that property, staff and services are provided to the Senedd. The Commission consists of the Presiding Officer and four Members from different political groups.

Staff of the Commission provide various types of support, including non-partisan advice, guidance and practical support to Members.

Commission services include:

• Support for Senedd Business, including Plenary and Committees;

• A Research Service which provides briefings and analysis;

• Legal Services;

• Communications, including Outreach and Education teams;

• Translation and Interpretation;

• ICT; and

• Member services such as continuous professional development; financial support and guidance to Members as employers.

Salaries and allowances

The Independant Remuneration Board of the Senedd is the statutory body responsible for setting the pay, pensions and allowances of Members and their staff. The Board is independent of the Senedd and its Members.

Member Support Staff

Members can employ staff to help with their duties as a Member of the Senedd in line with the Remuneration Board's Determination. Advice and support on recruiting staff is available to Members via the staff of the Senedd Commission.

Office accommodation

The Senedd's estate consists of three buildings in Cardiff Bay (the Senedd, Ty Hywel and the Pierhead), and an office in Colwyn Bay.

Members will be provided with office accommodation in Ty Hywel, the building adjacent to the Senedd. They will also receive a provision for constituency/regional office costs. Members generally choose offices that that are readily accessible to their constituents and have ease of access for staff and constituents.

Security

Security is a priority of the Senedd. Members and their staff are issued with a security pass following the oath, and these should be displayed at all times when on the Senedd estate. The Senedd has a designated Police Unit based in Ty Hywel, which, in conjunction with the Security Team, is tasked with protecting the Senedd estate and ensuring that business is not interrupted.

Official languages

Welsh and English are the official languages of the Senedd, and the Senedd aims to be a truly bilingual institution. The Official Languages Scheme sets out what the Senedd currently delivers bilingually, as well as setting out the services it aims to deliver. The Scheme was formally adopted by the Assembly in July 2013 and is based on the National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012.

Equality

The Senedd Commission is committed to promoting equality of opportunity both as an employer and service provider. The Senedd Commission's Diversity and Inclusion Strategy details how the Senedd Commission will promote equality, value diversity and identify and remove potential barriers to equality for our staff, Members, their staff and members of the public. A new Equality Plan will be developed for the Fifth Assembly.

Mebers of the Senedd, as service providers and employers, are subject to duties under the Equality Act 2010.  Advice for Members carrying out those duties can be found in factsheets available on the Members' intranet or provided by the Commission's Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Other services and further information

The Senedd Commission will signpost Members of the Senedd to other services and facilities such as support for disabled Members, childcare, medical treatment for those staying away from their main home, catering, mail services and staff support networks. 

Further information and support will be provided to Members on all aspects of their role as a Member of the Senedd once they have taken the oath or made the affirmation.

For more informations contact memberlearning@Senedd.wales.

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