Jeane Freeman

Jeane Freeman
Minister for Social Security
Assumed office
18 May 2016
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Preceded by Adam Ingram
Majority 6,006
Personal details
Born Ayr, Ayrshire
Political party Scottish National Party
Other political
Communist Party
Labour Party
Alma mater Glasgow College of Technology

Jeane Tennent Freeman OBE MSP is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician. She has been the Minister for Social Security in Scotland since May 2016,[1] having been elected as the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

Early life

Freeman was born in Ayr, the daughter of an aircraft fitter and a nurse.[2] She was raised in South Ayrshire.[3] Freeman attended the Glasgow College of Technology and studied sociology and politics.[4]

Freeman was a leading member of the Communist Party's student wing and in 1979 she became the first woman to chair the National Union of Students Scotland.[5] In 1983 Freeman was a member of the Communist party's Congress Arrangements Committee which oversaw the running of that years party congress.[6]

Executive roles

In 1987, Freeman established Apex Scotland, a criminal justice employment organisation for which she served as Chief Executive for twelve years. She was appointed as a member of the Parole Board for Scotland in 2006[7] and has also played roles on the Scottish Police Services Authority Board. She was appointed as a Lay Member to the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, commencing November 2011 for a four-year period.[8]

In 2008 she was appointed to board of the National Waiting Times Centre, the special health board that runs the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.[9] In January 2015 she was reappointed as the Chair to the National Waiting Times Centre Board.[10] In March 2016 she stepped down from this role.[11]

Political career

Later Freeman joined the Scottish Labour Party and was a member until the late 1990s.[12] Between 2001 and 2005, Freeman served as a senior political adviser to First Minister Jack McConnell.[13] In this role, she worked on the Scottish Budget, the government's legislative programme, relations with the UK government, and in the Finance, Health and Justice portfolios.[8] She left the position voluntarily, though there were reports of a row between Freeman and John Elvidge, which were dismissed by the Scottish Executive.[14] Months after she left, the Scottish Executive hired her consultancy firm, Freeman Associates, in a consultancy capacity, generating accusations of cronyism.[15]

Freeman was active in the campaign for Scottish independence since the announcement of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.[13] In May 2012 it was announced that she was a part of Yes Scotland. She is a founding member of Women for Independence[16][17] and spoke at a meeting of the Labour for Independence group.[17][18] During the referendum campaign she made appearances on television programmes as a commentator.[19]

In November 2014, when the SNP voted in favour of allowing non-members to stand as their candidates in the general elections, Nicola Sturgeon named Freeman as an example of the sort of person that might be chosen by a constituency branch.[20] In August 2015, Freeman was selected to be the SNP candidate for the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency in the 2016 Scottish elections.[3]

In April 2016, former Labour politician Brian Wilson covered the topic of Freedom of information (FOI) requests in his column in The Scotsman, observing that her company Freeman Associates had recently been the subject of a request to the Scottish Government.[21] The Ministers had responded to the applicant that the cost of replying to this specific request would exceed £600 and they were therefore not obliged to comply.[22] Following a review, the applicant remained dissatisfied and applied to the Information Commissioner for a decision.[22]

Awards and honours

In the 1996 Birthday Honours, she was awarded an OBE for her services to the rehabilitation of offenders.[23]


  1. "First Minister completes ministerial team". Scottish Government. 18 May 2016. Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  2. "Guinness is good for you". The Herald. 24 February 1993. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  3. 1 2 "SNP select candidates for Ayrshire seats". Carrick Gazette. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  4. "Ms Freeman aims to break male hold on top NUS post". Glasgow Herald. 24 March 1979. p. 5. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  5. Linklater, John (14 June 1979). "Jeane, advocate of reason for the students". Glasgow Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  6. ITN Archive
  7. "Appointment to NHS Board" (Press release). Scottish Government. 16 January 2008. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013.
  8. 1 2 "Freeman to join Judicial Appointments Board". The Journal. Law Society of Scotland. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  9. "On the rounds". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  10. "Chair re-appointed to National Waiting Times Centre Board" (Press release). National Waiting Times Centre Board (NWTC). 12 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  11. "End of an era as Chair steps down from the Golden Jubilee Foundation" (Press release). National Waiting Times Centre Board (NWTC). 23 March 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  12. Barnes, Eddie (27 May 2012). "Scottish independence: Labour voters 'will deliver independence'". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  13. 1 2 Gordon, Tom (27 May 2012). "McConnell's chief of staff among first 100 to sign up for independence". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  14. "Row denied as McConnell's senior aide resigns". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 11 May 2005. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  15. "Row after minister hires ex-aide to McConnell". The Herald. Newsquest. 18 January 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  16. Brooks, Libby (2 May 2014). "Scottish independence debate: women hold the key far from Westminster". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  17. 1 2 "Campaign to drive women to vote for independence backed by former Jack McConnell aide". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  18. Jeane Freeman on the inequality of the Union. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  19. Campbell, Karen (20 April 2015). "Why do women in Scotland vote? Because the referendum taught us that politics is about power". The Independent. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  20. "SNP to allow non-members to stand". BBC News. 14 November 2014.
  21. Wilson, Brian (2 April 2016). "How the SNP keeps information at a premium". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  22. 1 2 "Decision Notice: Decision 061/2016: Mr Tommy Kane and the Scottish Ministers: Meetings with Freeman Associates Limited: Reference No: 201502226 Decision Date: 9 March 2016" (PDF). Scottish Information Commissioner. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  23. "The Queen's birthday honours". The Independent. 15 June 1996. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
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