Building Bridges

In September 2015, the Lord-Lieutenant published his strategic framework for the Lieutenancy for his tenure from 2015-2026: Building bridges for a fairer London (download). This framework articulates the Lieutenancy’s mission and suggests ways it will use its influence to make Londoners’ lives better by helping to increase their sense of belonging.

Our Mission

We support the Monarch and the Royal Family in Greater London, and in addition, we will be a bridge-builder, connecting individuals, organisations and social networks, to enhance Londoners’ sense of belonging and thus increase social inclusion within capital.

Our Values

Duty – We serve the Monarch, the Nation and Greater London unselfishly; and
Respect – We are inclusive and accessible to all.

The Greater London Lieutenancy Strategic Framework

The Greater London Lieutenancy Strategic Framework: Building bridges for a fairer London can be found here:

Why does the Lieutenancy need a Strategy?

In May 2015 Her Majesty appointed Mr Kenneth Olisa OBE to be her personal representative in Greater London with the principal responsibility to uphold the dignity of the Crown. Ken was explicitly appointed with the expectation that he would work proactively to increase the Lieutenancy’s relevance and to help those who don’t feel they belong either to London or the UK to become included. Achieving these objectives sustainably over the Lord-Lieutenant’s tenure requires everyone involved – the Lieutenancy, its stakeholders and the wider public to be able to understand the Lord-Lieutenant’s objectives and modus operandi. The strategy is a coherent and practical communication of why and how the Lord-Lieutenant intends to discharge his responsibilities during his tenure.

What does "uphold the dignity of the Crown" mean?

The official website of the British Monarchy lists the following elements of The Queen’s role:

  • Perform the ceremonial and official duties of Head of State, including representing Britain to the rest of the world;
  • Provide a focus for national identity and unity;
  • Provide stability and continuity in times of change;
  • Recognise achievement and excellence;
  • Encourage public and voluntary service.

Upholding the dignity of the Crown requires Her Majesty’s representative in Greater London to make his best endeavours, positively to support The Queen in the discharge of those duties. “Building bridges for a fairer London” describes the framework within which he will do this.

What is the central aim of the Strategy?

The key aim of the Strategy is to continue to support the Monarch and the Royal Family in Greater London and to follow their lead in increasing all Londoners’ sense of belonging, thus increasing social inclusion.

What do you mean by “social inclusion”?

Most people in London enjoy contented lives, but sadly this is not universal.  Some Londoners, for a variety of reasons do not feel that they belong.  Social inclusion is synonymous with national unity – the second element of The Queen’s role.  Simply put, social inclusion is about getting those who feel excluded from the mainstream to feel included regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion, belief and sexual orientation.

What are examples of socially excluded people?

Over the years, the Lord-Lieutenant has served in the leadership of a wide range of organisations dealing with the excluded.  These have included the homeless, the mentally ill, social housing tenants and the unemployed.  In addition to these groups of which the Lord-Lieutenant has personal experience, other examples range from the lonely pensioner to the radicalised youth.

Shouldn’t the Lieutenancy be above politics?

Yes.  And it is and always will be.  The Lord-Lieutenant is proudly apolitical – a pre-requisite for his appointment and as evidenced by his work on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority which established a more transparent expenses system in the face of much political opposition.  However, concern for national identity and unity are not political objectives, nor are they the Lord-Lieutenant’s – they are the Monarch’s.

But doesn’t ‘social inclusion’ sound like something taken from a sociology text box?

The term may well be used by many people in many contexts.  However that is irrelevant to its use in Building bridges where it means what it says – helping to enhance the levels of belonging amongst Londoners.

How will you build bridges?

We will use our influence to encourage, advocate, honour and convene individuals and groups that share our ambition to increase social inclusion in London.  We will do this locally at Borough-level through our 32 Representative Deputy Lieutenants and across London through our three Councils on Occupation, Heritage and Faith.

Why the focus on Heritage, Occupation, and Faith?

To be effective, the Lieutenancy needs to be able to concentrate its influence on areas where it can make the maximum impact on social inclusion.  These three dimensions play to our strengths and provide a way of amplifying our effectiveness.

Heritage: Irrespective of an individual’s personal history, all Londoners should have an understanding of and take pride in, our shared national heritage. That heritage holds cultural diversity, tolerance and mutuality at its core and cements London’s special place in the world.

Occupation: Being gainfully employed, whether working, training, studying or volunteering, enhances social inclusion through building self-esteem and the confidence to interact with others.

Faith: Spirituality can play a positive role in building self-esteem and confidence; and, by definition, being a member of an organised religion increases one’s sense of belonging.

Aren’t there plenty of other agencies and charities who do this work already?

Yes, there are many organisations, both governmental and charitable that already do much to improve social inclusion.  The Lieutenancy has no ambition to duplicate the work done by these bodies.  However, the Lieutenancy will take its lead from the Royal Family who, by their many patronages add energy, standing and caché to the work of charities, military bodies and other organisations. By adding value to the work of the many existing bodies, the Lord-Lieutenant is able to help them to increase their effectiveness.

Is the Strategy saying anything new? Isn’t the Lieutenancy already doing the things called for in the document?

Much of what the Strategy calls for is, indeed, already being done in the Greater London Lieutenancy.

However, it is not being done everywhere or consistently or with full participation. And even where it is being done well, it is often a well-kept secret with knowledge of the work of many of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Deputies poorly publicised if at all.

Moreover, a survey of DLs in mid-2015 highlighted that many felt underused and, for the newer members of the Greater London Lieutenancy, many felt under briefed and uncertain of their role and opportunity to add value.

Recording the objectives and modus operandi allows those who have given so much to share their experiences with colleague Deputies in order to either extend or improve the quality of the others’ work. Abandoning the bardic tradition of passing on guidance by word of mouth enables new and under-utilised DLs to find their niche and to contribute to the Lieutenancy’s work.

Isn’t the pan-London nature of the focus on Heritage, Occupation and Faith going to diminish the importance of the Representative Deputy Lieutenants?

No. Two of a Lord-Lieutenant’s explicit obligations are to liaise with the military and to provide support to civic and charitable institutions in their area. The size and constitutional structure of London creates unique pressures on the discharge of these critical responsibilities. In 1951, the then Lord-Lieutenant, Viscount Alanbrooke, created the non-statutory title and office of Representative Deputy Lieutenant. Each Representative Deputy Lieutenant is the Lord-Lieutenant’s representative in one of the capital’s 32 boroughs and, as such, plays a crucial role in building and maintaining links with Londoners ‘on the ground’.

However many activities in London aren’t contained within Borough boundaries. Even military and civic structures span the local government geography; for example the GoC London and the GLA are pan-London as are many charities. In addition, many tasks which are best carried out at Borough level would benefit from a coordinated approach and extra resources – the recognition of excellence and service via the Honours system being a case in point.

Isn’t being a Deputy Lieutenant principally an honour?

Being appointed a DL by the Lord-Lieutenant is indeed an honour and the Lieutenancy currently has 90 distinguished Deputy Lieutenants whose notable service to their communities or specific fields led to their appointment.  However, with every honour comes an obligation to continue to serve and all Deputy Lieutenants are expected to contribute to the work of the Lieutenancy.  That being said, the Lord-Lieutenant acknowledges that his Deputy Lieutenants are volunteers with many other interests and, in recognition of the increased work required to implement the Strategy, he intends to recruit more Deputy Lieutenants.

What is the biggest challenge in delivering the Strategy?

Our ability to influence Londoners’ sense of belonging is directly proportional to the degree to which our role is understood and respected amongst key stakeholders and the general public.  We know that the majority of London’s 8.6 million people know very little (if anything at all) about the Lieutenancy; raising our profile so that the people we serve understand and value our work is a key priority of the Strategy.

How will we know if we are succeeding?

We will review progress against the Strategy annually and intend to make the results public, again via our website.

What are the Lieutenancy priorities going forward?

  • Build on the firm foundations of the past;
  • Support the Borough work of the Representative DLs;
  • Establish pan-London Councils to influence social inclusion along the three dimensions:
    • Heritage
    • Occupation
    • Faith
  • Increase the focus on Queen’s Awards;
  • Raise the profile of the Lieutenancy;
  • Ensure that operations are fit for purpose;
  • Measure progress.