The title 'Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Middlesbrough' is awarded to people 'of distinction' and people who have, in the opinion of the council, 'rendered eminent services to the borough'. HM Services units are awarded 'Freedom of the Borough'.
These award is given to very few people, and is the highest honour the council can give.
There are two Freedom boards in the Council Chamber. The oldest board lists the people who were given Freedom by the County Borough of Middlesbrough. The second board lists those who were given Freedom by Middlesbrough Council.