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The Government of Wales Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reforms the National Assembly for Wales and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act creates a system of government with a separate executive drawn from and accountable to the legislature.

The Act has the following provisions:

  • creates an executive body — the Welsh Assembly Government - that is separate from the legislative body, that is, the National Assembly for Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government is therefore altered from being a committee of the National Assembly to being a distinct body
  • forbids candidates both contesting constituencies and being on a regional list
  • provides a mechanism for Orders in Council to delegate power from Parliament to the Assembly, which will the give the Assembly powers to make "Measures" (Welsh Laws). Schedule 5 of the Act describes the fields in which the assembly has Measure making powers.
  • provides for a referendum for further legislature competencies, to be known as "Acts of the Assembly"
  • creates a Welsh Seal and a Keeper of the Welsh Seal (the First Minister)
  • creates a Welsh Consolidated Fund
  • creates the post of Counsel General as a member of the Welsh Assembly Government and its chief legal adviser.
  • assigns to the Queen new functions of formally appointing Welsh ministers and granting Royal Assent to Acts of the Assembly.

The bill received Royal Assent on 25 July 2006.

Contents

Schedule 5 of the Act

Schedule 5 of the Act describes the 20 "Fields" and "Matters" in which the National Assembly for Wales has Legislative competence i.e. the ability to pass Assembly Measures. A 'Field' is a broad subject area, e.g. education and training; environment; health and health services; highways and transport; housing. A 'Matter' is a specific defined policy area within a Field. The assembly can gain further legislative competence by the amendment of Schedule 5.

There are two ways by which this can happen: either as a result of clauses included in legislation passed by an Act of Parliament in Westminster, or by Legislative Competency Orders (LCOs) granted by Parliament in response to a request from the National Assembly itself (LCOs may be proposed by the Welsh Government, or by individual members, or by Assembly Committees; but must be approved by the National Assembly before they can progress). The end result of either method is to amend the 20 "Fields" by inserting specific "Matters" into each "Field". The Assembly then has competence to pass legislation on those Matters.

Schedule 5 is regularly updated as result of these two processes. An up-to-date version (which also indicates where amendments are proposed) is available on the National Assembly's website.[1]

Fields of Schedule 5

  • Field 1: agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
  • Field 2: ancient monuments and historic buildings
  • Field 3: culture
  • Field 4: economic development
  • Field 5: education and training
  • Field 6: environment
  • Field 7: fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
  • Field 8: food
  • Field 9: health and health services
  • Field 10: highways and transport
  • Field 11: housing
  • Field 12: local government
  • Field 13: National Assembly for Wales
  • Field 14: public administration
  • Field 15: social welfare
  • Field 16: sport and recreation
  • Field 17: tourism
  • Field 18: town and country planning
  • Field 19: water and flood defence
  • Field 20: Welsh language

Criticism

The Government of Wales Act 2006 was heavily criticised by Plaid Cymru for not delivering a fully-fledged parliament.

See also

References

External links

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