What does the Lieutenancy do?
The post of Lord-Lieutenant of a county is an honorary appointment, whose origin dates back to Henry VIII. Lord-Lieutenants are the monarch's representatives in their lieutenancy. It is their prime duty to uphold the dignity of the Crown, and in so doing they seek to promote a spirit of co-operation and good atmosphere by the time they give to voluntary and benevolent organisations and by the interest they take in the business and social life of their counties.
Banner flown by Lord-Lieutenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The responsibilities of Lord-Lieutenants include:
- Arranging visits of members of the Royal family and escorting royal visitors;
- Presenting medals and awards on behalf of the Sovereign, and advising on Honours nominations;
- Participating in civic, voluntary and social activities within the lieutenancy;
- Acting as liaison with local units of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and their associated cadet forces;
As the sovereign's representative in his or her county, the Lord-Lieutenant remains non-political and does not hold office in any political party. They are appointed for life, although the customary age of retirement is 75. This is an unpaid post.
The Lord-Lieutenant is supported by a Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants that he appoints. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant assumes responsibility if the Lord-Lieutenant is abroad, ill or otherwise incapacitated. The number of Deputy Lieutenants is calculated on the basis of the population. At present there are 58 DLs in the West Midlands and they undertake numerous tasks as requested by the Lord-Lieutenant.
Deputy Lieutenants also retire at 75 although they still retain their DL post nominals.