Becoming a Member of the Senedd

Published 04/12/2020   |   Last Updated 21/12/2020   |   Reading Time minutes

Information for Candidates

This page provides candidates for election to the Senedd with background information on standing for election, and outlines of the support and guidance that will be available to them if elected.

This page is only intended to be a summary of information on standing for election. For more detailed and definitive guidance, please visit the Electoral Commission website.

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.

To be a candidate in a Senedd election or to be a Member of the Senedd, you must also ensure that you are not disqualified. 

There are a number of reasons why you might be disqualified from being a candidate 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.

Different rules apply in relation to whether you can be: 

  1. a candidate in a Senedd election; or 
  2. 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. 

However, if you are in any doubt you must consult all relevant legislation and / or take independent legal advice. 

Key legislation relating to disqualification includes:

  • Government of Wales Act 2006 (as amended by the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020)
  • Senedd Cymru (Disqualification) Order 2020.

This 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 role of of Members of the Senedd

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.

Members represent interests of the individuals living within the constituency or region they have been elected to represent; they make laws for Wales, agree taxes and hold the Welsh Government to account. Members have regular contact with the public through meetings, telephone calls, correspondence and surgeries.

Members meet in the Senedd building 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 hold debates on issues of their choice,and individual members can pursue issues that are important to them and the people who elect them.

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

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 Llwydd -(Presiding Officer) and four Members from different political groups.

Commission staff 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;
  • The Senedd 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 Independent 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

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

Office accommodation

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

Members of the Senedd are provided with office accommodation in Tŷ Hywel. 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.

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 language services it aims to deliver. The Scheme was formally adopted by the Senedd 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. 

Members 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 information contact memberlearning@Senedd.wales.