The core of the law relating to fire and rescue services is found in the primary legislation (or 'statutes') listed under 'key legislation'. There are powers to make orders, rules and regulations relating to local government under these enactments. Certain matters are left to be prescribed by order or regulations.
The legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales is set out in the Government of Wales Act 2006. Under that Act the National Assembly for Wales has legislative competence to pass laws ('Acts') in relation to the following subjects:
- Fire and rescue services
- Provision of automatic fire suppression systems in newly constructed and newly converted residential premises
- Promotion of fire safety otherwise than by prohibition or regulation
Devolution of executive power
The Government of Wales Act 1998 provided for the transfer of functions from UK government ministers to the National Assembly for Wales. Under the Government of Wales Act 2006, those functions were transferred from the National Assembly for Wales to the Welsh Ministers. The Welsh Ministers now exercise the majority of the executive and subordinate legislative powers in relation to local government, whether those powers are conferred by an Act of the Assembly or an Act of the UK Parliament.
As the result of the transfer of functions, statutes that were enacted prior to the commencement of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (in May 2007) should be read with care. References to 'the Secretary of State' will in most, but not all, cases now mean 'the Welsh Ministers' in their application in relation to Wales. Where functions were conferred expressly on the National Assembly for Wales in Acts of the UK Parliament between 1999 and 2007, the functions should be read as being exercisable by the Welsh Ministers.
Legislation passed following the enactment of the Government of Wales Act 2006 that confers functions on the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers often refers to those bodies collectively as 'the appropriate national authority'. A function exercisable by the appropriate national authority in relation to Wales is usually exercisable by the Welsh Ministers.