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Government of Wales Act 2006

The Government of Wales Act 2006 (GoWA 2006) changed the role of the (then) National Assembly of Wales, so that it became a fully-fledged legislature.

GoWA 2006 also set up the Welsh Assembly Government (now known as the Welsh Government) as the devolved executive for Wales.

The executive functions of the National Assembly were transferred to the Welsh Ministers, who are the main part of the Welsh Government and hold most of its functions. GoWA 2006 also gave the Welsh Government important general powers, such as a power to do things to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of Wales, and a power to support culture, including the Welsh language.

GoWA 2006 also allows more powers in respect of Wales to be transferred from the UK Government to the Welsh Government.

More information about the Welsh Government can be found on this site on the Welsh Government page, while more information about Senedd Cymru (as the National Assembly is now known) can be found on the Senedd Cymru page on this website.

GoWA 2006 originally gave the National Assembly the power to pass Assembly Measures in respect of certain matters. Assembly Measures have the status of primary legislation, like Acts of Parliament.

Schedule 5 to GoWA 2006 set out the matters in respect of which the (then) National Assembly could pass Measures. Although there were a relatively small number of matters in Schedule 5 when GoWA 2006 was passed, more were added by later UK legislation.

Twenty two Assembly Measures were passed between 2007 and 2011, including the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 and the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011. Assembly Measures retained their legal effect and status after the Assembly gained the power to pass Assembly Acts.

GoWA 2006 also gave the National Assembly the power to pass Acts, but only after there had been a “Yes” vote by the people of Wales in a referendum on the matter. This referendum took place in 2011. Such Acts also have the status of primary legislation but can relate to a wider range of devolved areas than Assembly Measures could.

Under the initial conferred powers model, the devolved subjects were set out in Schedule 7 to GoWA 2006. Parts of GoWA 2006 were repealed by the Wales Act 2017 which replaced the conferred powers model with the reserved powers model, but the Senedd’s power to make Acts of the Senedd continues. 

GoWA 2006 also contains provisions about the finances of the Senedd and the Welsh Government.

Published on
Last updated
18 August 2021