The National Assembly for Wales was set up in 1999 following a referendum two years earlier in which the 'yes' vote was a slim 50.3%, a narrow majority of 6,721.
The Government of Wales Act 1998 established the National Assembly as a corporate body - with the executive (the government) and the legislature (the Assembly itself) operating as one. In contrast to the primary law-making powers given to the Scottish Parliament, the Act limited the National Assembly to the making of secondary legislation only when authorised by the UK Parliament. Such powers were broadly equivalent to those previously held by the Secretary of State for Wales.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 brought about change in the way the institution operated.
The Welsh Government (which compromised the First Minister, Welsh Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the Counsel General) became responsible for making and implementing decisions, policies and subordinate legislation.
The Welsh Government's decisions and actions are kept in check by the National Assembly (the body of 60 elected Members) which scrutinises decisions and holds its ministers to account.
The 2006 Act gave the National Assembly powers to make laws for Wales in defined subjects. However, the process was very cumbersome and time consuming and led to little real legislation being made.
On 3 March 2011, the Welsh electorate voted in favour of further powers to the National Assembly by a margin of two to one, with all but one of the 22 local authority areas voting Yes. These powers came into effect following the Assembly election on 5 May 2011.
The National Assembly for Wales can now pass laws on all subjects in the 20 devolved areas without first needing the agreement of the UK Parliament. There will no longer be a need for negotiation between the governments of the UK and Wales over what law-making powers should or should not be devolved to the Assembly.
The 'yes' vote also removed the involvement of Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords in scrutinising proposals to make laws within Wales. Instead, the responsibility rests on the Welsh Government and the Members of the National Assembly to decide how to use the Assembly's law-making powers.
The Welsh Government is responsible for:
• Agriculture, Forestry, Animals, Plants and Rural Development
• Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings
• Economic Development
• Education and Training
• Fire and Rescue Services and Fire Safety
• Health and Health Services
• Highways and Transport
• Local Government
• National Assembly for Wales
• Public Administration
• Social Welfare
• Sport and Recreation
• Town and Country Planning
• Water and Flood Defence
• Welsh Language