Voting opens in: 00 00 00 00 Use your voice

What does the Senedd do?

The Senedd building in Cardiff Bay

Back in 1997, we voted to shift decision-making on certain topics from the UK to Wales.

People who were in favour of the change argued that it didn’t make sense for every decision about local services and life in Wales to be made in London.

A lot of decision-making and powers over new laws were kept in London, and we ended up with different powers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Some of these powers have moved around over the last 20 years, but in the main, Wales has responsibility for everything on:

  • education
  • health and social care
  • economic development and transport
  • the environment
  • culture and the Welsh language.

There are key issues that the UK Government and the UK Parliament still make decisions on, and we can’t change here in Wales. These include:

  • foreign affairs and defence
  • police and criminal justice
  • and most policies relating to taxation and benefits.


Powers of the Senedd

There is always a bit of complication in the system, and sometimes disagreements between the governments on who gets to decide. Some powers might also shift over time.

So what does this mean for you? Well, lots of the things young people say they care about are, decided at the Senedd and funded by the Welsh Government.

Things like youth homelessness, exams, schools and colleges, student fees, tackling climate change, mental health services, fairness in local services, tackling poverty and how our communities work together are all decided here in Wales. And your vote can influence how those decisions are made.

The Senedd building in Cardiff Bay

Of course, Wales can’t solve all of these problems with its existing powers. 

To deal with poverty, we also need the right type of tax and benefit system – set in London. Climate change needs changes in Wales in recycling, agriculture and building design, but it also needs to be tackled through green taxes and huge efforts around the world to support developing countries and tackle global emissions.

So, ok, it won’t all be sorted in Cardiff Bay. But it’s a good place to start.

Get registered on

Register to vote by 19 April 2021. If you don’t register in time, you won’t get to vote in the Senedd Elections on  6 May, and you won’t get to have your say in your future and the future of Wales.

Head over to the website to register your vote today. It only takes 5 minutes!

“There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. It all matters.” Barack Obama

More advice

View all
Voting opens in: 00 00 00 00 Use your voice