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Devolved public bodies

These are some of the main public bodies in respect of which Senedd Cymru has legislative competence and the Welsh Ministers have functions. The Government of Wales Act 2006 (GoWA 2006) refers to such bodies as “devolved Welsh Authorities” (section 157A), many of which are listed in Schedule 9A to GoWA 2006. Devolved tribunals also fall into the definition of devolved Welsh Authorities but these are dealt with under a separate heading below. 

Arts Council of Wales 

The Arts Council of Wales promotes and develops the arts in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government provides it with an annual grant to be used to give people in Wales opportunities both to experience and to take part in arts activities.

As well supporting and developing high quality arts activity, other activities of the Arts Council include:

  • distributing Lottery funds for the arts in Wales
  • providing advice about the arts
  • raising the profile of the arts in Wales
  • generating more money for the arts economy
  • developing international opportunities in the arts
  • promoting small scale performances in local communities

Auditor General for Wales 

The Auditor General for Wales is the statutory external auditor of most of the Welsh public sector. This role includes examining how Welsh public bodies manage and spend public money, and how they achieve value in the delivery of public services. More information can be found on the Public audit page.

Children’s Commissioner for Wales 

The principal role of the Children's Commissioner for Wales is to safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children and young people in Wales. The Children’s Commissioner was established under Part V of the Care Standards Act 2000, which was amended by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Act 2001


Estyn is the office of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales. It is a Crown body, established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992. Estyn is independent of Senedd Cymru and Welsh Ministers but receives its funding from the Welsh Government under section 104 of the Government of Wales Act 1998. Estyn inspects quality and standards in education and training providers in Wales.

It inspects:

  • nursery schools and settings that are maintained by, or receive funding from, local authorities;
  • primary schools;
  • secondary schools;
  • special schools;
  • pupil referral units;
  • independent schools;
  • further education;
  • independent specialist colleges;
  • adult community learning;
  • local authority education services for children and young people;
  • teacher education and training;
  • Welsh for adults;
  • work-based learning; and
  • learning in the justice sector.

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales 

The Future Generations Commissioner’s role is to be the guardian of future generations. This means helping public bodies and those who make policy in Wales to think about the long-term impact their decisions have. The Future generations Commissioner for Wales was established by section 17 of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales 

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (often referred to as ‘HEFCW’) exists to develop and sustain internationally excellent higher education in Wales for the benefit of individuals, society and the economy. Its purpose is to use resources from the Welsh Government and others to secure higher education  learning and research of the highest quality, and to make the most of the contribution of higher education to Wales’ culture, society and economy and ensure high quality, accredited teacher training.

Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales  

The role of of Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales is to keep under review all local government areas in Wales, and the electoral arrangements for the principal areas, and to make such proposals to the Welsh Government as seem desirable in the interests of effective and convenient local government.

National Museum Wales 

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales is dedicated to preserving, presenting and promoting the culture of Wales. CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales is responsible for policy and operational work relating to the museum. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales was founded by Royal Charter in 1907 and has 7 sites:

  • National Museum Cardiff
  • St Fagans National History Museum
  • National Slate Museum, Llanberis
  • Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon
  • National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, Carmarthenshire
  • National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon
  • National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (often referred to as ‘NRW’) was created in 2013 to bring together the management of Wales’ natural resources and environment. It took over the work of the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and Forestry Commission Wales. Its purpose is to ensure that the natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, enhanced and used, now and in the future. Its remit includes responsibility for over 40 different regulatory regimes in areas such as industry, waste, marine licensing and water resources.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales 

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales (also known as the Commissioner for Older People in Wales) ensures that the interests of people aged 60 and over in Wales are safeguarded and promoted, and is a source of information, advocacy and support for those older people and their representatives. The Commissioner’s role and statutory powers are set out in the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Act 2006 and The Commissioner for Older People in Wales Regulations 2007.

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales 

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) was set up by the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005 (and continues by virtue of the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019. The PSOW investigates alleged or suspected maladministration and service failure by the bodies which are listed in Schedule 3 to the Act as well as bodies providing social care and palliative care. The listed bodies include the Welsh Government, local authorities, local health boards and Police and Crime Commissioners. 

Qualifications Wales  

Qualifications Wales regulates qualifications, other than degrees, in Wales. It was established in August 2015 through the Qualifications Wales Act 2015

All qualifications offered by a recognised awarding body are regulated – unless they have been exempted from regulation, or because recognition for a qualification or qualification type has subsequently been surrendered by an awarding body. The body categorises regulated qualifications as ‘approved’, ‘designated’ or ‘other regulated’.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales 

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales investigates the historic environment of Wales and seeks to ensure that Wales’ rich archaeological, built and maritime heritage is authoritatively recorded and properly understood. It is responsible for keeping the National Monuments Record of Wales and provides online access to the record through its online database, ‘Coflein’.

Social Care Wales  

Social Care Wales regulates the workforce delivering social services in Wales. It exists to promote high standards of conduct and practice among social care workers and high standards in their training.

Its three core functions are:

  • regulating the social care workforce by setting codes of conduct and practice for employees and employers, and by registering individual practitioners;
  • regulating qualifying and post qualification social work training; and
  • taking forward the workforce development agenda.

Sport Wales

Sport Wales is the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting sport and active lifestyles. It is a Welsh Government Sponsored Body. Its vision is to 'unite a proud sporting nation, where every child is hooked on sport for life and where Wales is a nation of champions'. It is also responsible for distributing National Lottery funds to both elite and grassroots sport in Wales.

The National Library of Wales 

The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth collects and preserves material relating to Wales and the other Celtic nations. It plays an important role in the cultural and educational life of Wales.

The Library was established by Royal Charter in 1907. Its main functions are to collect and preserve the intellectual record of Wales, in many different media as well as a vast collection of printed material published mainly through its status as a legal deposit 'copyright' library, and give access to this information and knowledge to a wide variety of people.

The Wales Audit Office  

The Wales Audit Office (WAO) is a corporate body established by the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013.

The aim of this office is to ensure that the people of Wales know whether public money is being managed wisely and that public bodies in Wales understand how to improve outcomes.

On behalf of the Auditor General the WAO:

  • audits the financial accounts of public bodies
  • reports on how services are being delivered
  • assesses whether value for money is being achieved
  • checks how organisations are planning and delivering improvements

Welsh Language Commissioner 

The office of Welsh Language Commissioner was created by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 to replace the Welsh Language Board. The Commissioner took over some of the duties of the Welsh Language Board, while the remainder of those duties were transferred to the Welsh Ministers.

The Commissioner’s functions include:

  • promoting the use of the Welsh language;
  • facilitating the use of the Welsh language;
  • working towards ensuring that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language by imposing duties on some organizations to comply with standards relating to the Welsh language;
  • conducting inquiries into matters relating to the Commissioner's functions; and
  • investigating interference with the individual’s freedom to use the Welsh language.
Published on
Last updated
12 September 2022