Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of a County is an Honorary Officer appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. He or she is the permanent representative of the Crown who remains non-political and is unpaid. They normally serve until retirement at 75 years of age.
The Office of the Lord-Lieutenant dates from the 16th Century and has its origins in the military when the holder became responsible for local military defence and the maintenance of order.
In 1871 regulation of the Forces Act removed the militia from the direct control of the Lord-Lieutenant and this was followed in 1921 by the loss of power to call men of the County to fight in case of need. The traditional links with the military have been preserved in a modern form by liaising with local units of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and their associated Cadet Forces including the association of the Lord-Lieutenant with the Volunteer Reserve Forces. Connections with the military have led to links with other uniformed organisations such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance services and many voluntary bodies such as the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and other national and local youth organisations.
From earliest days the Lord-Lieutenant has always been associated with the work of Magistrates and until the 19th Century he appointed the Clerk of the Peace. Like many of his predecessors, our current Lord-Lieutenant is a magistrate and holds the ancient office of Custos Rotulorum, or Keeper of the Rolls for Suffolk. He is also Chairman of the Suffolk Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace, which recommends the appointment of magistrates in the county. The Lord-Lieutenant also acts as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the appointment of Tax Commissioners.
As Her Majesty's representative the Lord-Leiutenant is responsible for all aspects of visits by members of the Royal Family, and escorting Royal visitors to the county. He also makes presentations of medals and awards on behalf of the Queen to organisations and individuals.
The Lord-Lieutenant advises on honours nominations and represents Her Majesty The Queen at other events, as appropriate. He also accepts suggestions (by early January) for the attendance at Royal Garden Parties of individuals deserving recognition.
He is expected to promote a spirit of co-operation by supporting charitable and voluntary organisations and to take an interest in the commercial, social and spiritual life of the county.
The Lord-Lieutenant is supported by a Vice Lord-Lieutenant and by Deputy Lieutenants the precise number of which is determined by the size of the population. The letters 'DL' are placed after their names. A list of Deputy Lieutenants is available on the site.
The current Vice Lord-Lieutenant is Mr. John Kerr, MBE, JP, DL.