Under the Sheriffs Act of 1887 it is the responsibility of a serving High Sheriff to nominate a successor for office three years in advance and to make the recommendation to the Privy Council (the Sovereign’s council of advisers on constitutional matters). Before the monarch accepts a nomination, the recommendation must be acceptable to his personal representative in the County, the Lord-Lieutenant.
In Northamptonshire, the High Sheriff and Lord-Lieutenant are assisted with the selection by an apolitical consultative panel. The County’s panel is chaired by a respected individual who is independent of the office and includes other independent members drawn from across the communities of the County. The former High Sheriff also sits on the panel to offer the benefit of his or her experience on the demands of the office. The Under Sheriff acts as clerk and adviser to the panel.
A High Sheriff will be very mindful of nominating an appropriate successor to this ancient office and encourages provision of information about outstanding individuals of unblemished character in the County who may be suitable and qualified for the role. Whilst there are certain legal qualifications (a person nominated to hold the Office must amongst other things have a property interest in the County “sufficient to answer the King and his people”) and disqualifications, an individual’s gender, age, ethnicity, religious belief, disability or sexual orientation are no bar to a suitable person becoming a High Sheriff.
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