- Welsh Assembly Government
The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) ( _cy. Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, "LlCC") was firstly an executive body of the
National Assembly for Wales, consisting of the First Minister and his Cabinetfrom 1999 to 2007.
In May 2007, separation between the legislature (National Assembly for Wales) and the executive (Welsh Assembly Government) took effect under the
Government of Wales Act 2006. The National Assembly’s functions, including those of making subordinate legislation, in the main, transferred to the Welsh Ministers upon separation and should help to clarify the respective roles of the legislature and the executive. The result mirrors much more closely the relationship between the UK Governmentand Westminster and that between the Scottish Governmentand the Scottish Parliament. Rt Hon Rhodri MorganAM was nominated as First Minister by the Assembly during a plenary meeting on 25 May2007 and appointed by HM Queen Elizabeth IIlater that day.
1999 to 2007 (Executive Body of the National Assembly)
The Welsh Assembly Government had no independent executive powers in law (unlike, for instance, the Scottish Ministers and Ministers in the UK government). The Assembly was established as a body corporate by the
Government of Wales Act 1998and the executive, as a committeeof the Assembly, only had those powers that the Assembly as a whole voted to vest in ministers.
Government of Wales Act 2006formally separated the Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government giving Welsh Ministers independent executive authority, enacted after the May 2007 elections.
Under the arrangements in the 1998 Act, executive functions were conferred on the National Assembly for Wales, and then separately delegated to the First Minister and to other Cabinet Ministers and staff as appropriate. Following separation, the Welsh Ministers exercise functions in their own right. Further transfers of executive functions from the UK Government can be made directly to the Welsh Ministers (with their consent) by an Order in Council approved by Parliament.
Post-National Assembly for Wales Election, 2007
The new arrangements provided for in the
Government of Wales Act 2006create a formal legal separation between the National Assembly for Wales, the legislature comprising the 60 Assembly members, and the Welsh Assembly Government, the executive, comprising the First Minister, Welsh Ministers, Deputy Welsh Ministers and the Counsel General. This separation between legislature and executive took effect on the appointment of the First Minister by Her Majesty the Queen following the Assembly election on 3 May 2007.
Separation should help to clarify the respective roles of the legislature and the executive. The role of the executive will be to make decisions; develop and implement policy; exercise executive functions and make statutory instruments. The 60 Assembly members in the National Assembly will scrutinise the Assembly Government’s decisions and policies; hold Ministers to account; approve budgets for the Welsh Assembly Government’s programmes; and have the power to enact Assembly Measures on certain matters. Assembly Measures can go further than the subordinate legislation which the Assembly currently has the power to make.
Transfer of Functions
The Assembly’s functions, including those of making subordinate legislation, in the main, transferred to the Welsh Ministers upon separation. A third body was also established under the 2006 Act from
May 2007, called the National Assembly for Wales Commission. It is responsible for employing the staff supporting the new National Assembly for Wales and for holding property, entering into contracts and providing support services on its behalf.
The 2006 Act makes new provision for the appointment of Welsh Ministers. The
First Ministerwill be nominated by the Assembly and then appointed by Her Majesty the Queen. The First Minister will subsequently appoint the Welsh Ministersand the Deputy Welsh Ministers, with the approval of Her Majesty. The Act creates a new post of Counsel General for Wales, who will be the principal source of legal advice to the Welsh Assembly Government. The Counsel General will be appointed by the Queen, on the nomination of the First Minister, whose recommendation will need to be agreed by the National Assembly. The Counsel General may be, but does not have to be, an Assembly Member. The Act permits a maximum of 12 Welsh Ministers, which includes Deputy Welsh Ministers, but excludes the First Minister and the Counsel General. Accordingly, the maximum size of the Welsh Assembly Government is 14.
Department of the First Minister
The official office of the First Minister is in
Crickhowell Houseand the Seneddin Cardiff Bay, however, an office is also kept at the Welsh Assembly Government building in Cathays Parkwhere the majority of the civil servants are based in Cardiff.
Permanent Secretaryheads up the Civil Serviceof the Welsh Assembly Government and chairs the Management Board Directors, which are appointed at the discretion of the Permanent Secretary. The Management Board is not wholly dependent on functional responsibilities; it is designed to provide balanced advice and support to the Permanent Secretary, and collective leadership to the organisation as a whole.
Jon ShortridgeKCB (May 1999 to April 2008)
Gillian MorganDBE (from May 2008)
Current Assembly Government
The current structure of the ministerial team proposed by the
Welsh Labour Partyand Plaid Cymruafter coalition agreement ( One Wales).
*Assembly Government Sponsored Bodies
List of Wales-related topics
* [http://new.wales.gov.uk/?lang=en= Website of the Welsh Assembly Government]
* [http://new.wales.gov.uk/about/cabinet/cabinetm/?lang=en Welsh Assembly Government Ministers]
* [http://www.wales.gov.uk/governmentofwales Government of Wales Act 2006 website]
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