The role of an AM

The Welsh Assembly was set up after a referendum of the Welsh people in 1997.

The first Assembly was elected in May 1999 and elections have been held at four year intervals since. The next election is due to be held in 2016.

Sixty Assembly Members (AMs) sit in the chamber and each of the four main political parties in Wales is represented. Forty of these members are elected using the first past the post method using the same constituency boundaries as MPs elected to Westminster. The remaining twenty AMs are elected on a proportional representation basis to represent one of five regions in Wales .

The Welsh Government is made up of the First Minister and his Cabinet. It is the responsibility of those Assembly Members not part of the government to hold them to account and scrutinise their decisions either through debate on the floor of the Chamber or through Scrutiny committees.

Since the referendum on further powers in March 2011 the Welsh Assembly has increased responsibility for law making powers which affect the day to day life of people in Wales.

There are twenty areas of responsibility that the Assembly can pass laws on and these are listed below.

Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
Ancient monuments and historical buildings
Culture
Economic development
Education and training
Environment
Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
Food
Health and health services
Highways and transport
Housing
Local government
National Assembly for Wales
Public administration
Social welfare
Sport and recreation
Tourism
Town and country planning
Water and flood defences
Welsh language