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Government of Wales Act 2006

Exercise of Functions

216.Under the Act, Ministers will exercise functions in their own right, rather than as delegates of the Assembly, and statutory functions will in future be expressed to be exercisable by the “Welsh Ministers”, rather than conferred on the Assembly and then delegated. Any function conferred on the “Welsh Ministers” will be exercisable by the First Minister or any of the other Welsh Ministers individually (but not generally by the Counsel General, who will not have “portfolio” responsibilities); they will be assisted in the discharge of their responsibilities by the Deputy Ministers. Paragraphs 30-42 of Schedule 11 make detailed provision transferring the Assembly’s existing (executive) set of functions, together with the associated property, rights and liabilities, to the Welsh Ministers, although Orders in Council may make alternative provision, for example transferring specific functions to the First Minister, the Counsel General, or the Assembly Commission, or leaving the function (particularly if it is of a predominantly legislative character) with the Assembly. Once the new arrangements are in place following the May 2007 elections, Welsh Ministers may acquire further powers:


by specific provision in future Acts of Parliament;


by Transfer of Functions Orders (section 58 and Schedule 3 to the Act effectively re-enact s.22 and Schedule 3 of the 1998 Act, under which Transfer of Functions Orders have been made hitherto, and section 88 and Schedule 4 transfer the associated property, rights and liabilities attached to any such transferred function);


by designation under s.2 of the European Communities Act 1972, in order to implement requirements of European law; or


by specific provision in future Assembly Measures.

217.Sections 60-65, 69, 70-71 and 83 and 84 provide additional or supplementary powers enabling the Welsh Ministers to discharge their functions effectively. Most of these provisions derive from similar provisions in the 1998 Act, with the exception of section 60. Section 60 empowers the Welsh Ministers to do anything which they consider is likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of Wales. This does not reflect any specific provision of the 1998 Act although local authorities have similar powers under section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000 as does the Greater London Authority (in a slightly different form) under section 30 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

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