What are Members of the Senedd (MSs)?
Members of the Senedd (MSs) are elected to represent and act on the behalf of their constituents, both in the Senedd and in their constituency/region. They have a range of roles, such as debating issues and influencing which laws are passed.
There are a total of 60 Members of the Senedd: 40 MSs represent their constituency whilst the other 20 represent larger electoral regions (South Wales East, South Wales Central, South Wales West, Mid and West Wales, North Wales).
Therefore, everyone in Wales is represented by 5MS: one representing their constituency, and the other four representing their region.
What work do MSs do?
Since the establishment of the Senedd Cymru over 20 years ago, the UK Parliament has devolved power to the Senedd in certain areas. Welsh issues that the Senedd can legislate on include housing, health & social care, education, transport and the environment (learn more here).
MSs make decisions and pass legislation on these devolved matters – either as part of the Welsh Government, or as the opposition scrutinising them. Their decisions are specific to the nation and have an impact at a local level, meaning they can bring about significant change to the day-to-day lives of those living and working in Wales.
MSs have several ways to scrutinise, debate, and influence decisions, in order to make Wales a better place for all:
Accountability: The Welsh Government is made up of the party with the largest number of seats in the Senedd. They will work to implement their policies and ideas. These choices can be greatly influential, so MSs have a duty to hold them to account and examine them – through holding inquiries and debating in the Senedd Chamber.
Budget: MSs can influence how the Welsh Government spends its budget. The money is spent in a variety of areas, such as culture & language, transportation and education.
Committees: MSs can be members of these groups which serve to address a particular issue, they provide a more detailed space to conduct scrutiny. Committee meetings can be held both publicly and privately. The composition usually reflects the current party balance within the Senedd.
Locally: MSs want to hear to the views and thoughts of those who they represent to best understand their interests and issues. As well as attending meetings and events, MSs often hold surgeries in their area, which is an opportunity to discuss issues directly with their constituents.
Electing Members of the Senedd
In the election, eligible voters are given two votes – one to elect your constituency MS, and the other to determine who will represent your larger region.
To vote in the Senedd election, you must be:
- A registered voter
- Over 16 years old on the day of election
- Live in Wales