Jane has represented the Vale of Glamorgan constituency since the National Assembly for Wales was established in 1999. She served as a government Minister continually from May 1999 until November 2017, making her the longest serving Labour Government Minister in history.
Jane was re-elected Assembly Member for the Vale of Glamorgan on 5th May 2016, and served as Leader of the House and Chief Whip until she stepped down from the Cabinet in late 2017. Her ministerial roles have included health and social services, children, education and equalities. Between 2010 and 2016 she was Minister for Finance. Jane was named as one of the most influential people in Public Finance in 2015.
Jane was born in Epsom, Surrey, though her grandparents were from North Wales and were Welsh speakers. She spent part of her childhood in Uganda and Kenya. She has lived in Wales all her adult life and is a Welsh learner. Jane was educated at the University of Kent, the London School of Economics and the University of Bristol, and is a Welsh learner. She lives in Barry and is married with two adult children.
Jane has been a key figure in the field of social justice in Wales. Before she was elected as AM, she helped establish several charities and grass roots organisations, campaigned on equalities issues and worked in a range of organisations, as well as serving as a county councillor on the former South Glamorgan County Council.
Jane was founder member and the first National Co-ordinator of Welsh Women’s Aid, one of the four UK umbrella groups responsible for support services for women and children at risk of domestic abuse and homelessness. The creation of an autonomous Welsh organisation led to the development of a range of refuges and preventative initiatives throughout Wales, which in turn helped establish specialist services for young homeless (Llamau), minority ethnic women (BAWSO) and housing and support (Hafan Cymru).
Jane was instrumental in securing funding for one of the first women-only IT training centres in the UK, the Women’s Workshop (funded by the European Social Fund), Cardiff. This was an innovative project, because it provided on-site childcare, unheard of in those days, and targeted women who wanted to return to work, but lacked skills and confidence because they had been economically inactive due to caring responsibilities. Thousands of women and children, many from the Vale of Glamorgan, have benefited from this flagship scheme.
Jane was Director of TPAS Cymru, a tenant participation organisation which ensures that tenants have a voice in the decisions that affect their homes & communities.
In 1992 Jane was appointed Director of the newly formed Chwarae Teg (Fair Play), with responsibility for expanding the role of women in the Welsh economy.
Jane was also Chair of Governors of Kitchener Road Primary School in Riverside, Cardiff, a non-executive director of the Cardiff Community Health Care Trust, a member of the New Deal Task Force, and a Welsh representative on the New Opportunities (UK) Fund.
Jane is patron of Barry Ladies’ Choir, Barry First Responders, BAWSO and of Atal y Fro. She is Trustee of Vale People First, Vale for Africa, the Vale Youth Forum and of Ocean Watersports Barry Community Water Activities
During her working life in the voluntary sector, Jane wrote two books – ‘Opening the Town Hall Door: An Introduction to local government’ (3 editions) and ‘Making Opportunities, a Guide for Women and Employers’ (published by National Council for Voluntary Organisations).
Jane is an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff Metropolitan University. In recognition of her role in furthering procurement practice, Jane has been awarded an honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply and a Fellowship of the Procurement Best Practice Academy. Jane has also been made an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) for her work in public finance.