Robert Bland, High Sheriff of Shropshire 2014-15

Robert Bland DLI am delighted and grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve as High Sheriff of Shropshire having received the Warrant of Appointment from the Privy Council. I have made my Declaration in the presence of The Honourable Mr Justice Barling at the High Sheriff’s Installation Ceremony held my local parish church, St Peters, Cound, near Shrewsbury on 5 April 2014.

The High Sheriff is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to represent Her in the County of Shropshire in matters relating to law and order.  Since its inception nearly 1000 years ago, the role has changed considerably (link Role of the High Sheriff).

I have lived and worked in Shropshire throughout of my life. Shropshire is not only the largest inland county in England but it is also considerably diverse with a wealth of beautiful countryside as well as many historic towns and villages that makes it quite unique. I have loved being in Shropshire and remain passionate about its wellbeing.

In my year of office, I look forward to being involved with and offering support to the Police, Judges, Magistrates, Coroners, the Prison and Probation Services, the emergency services and all branches of the Armed Forces. As someone with no legal background, I look forward to gaining a better understanding of the operations and priorities of these vitally important institutions and how they work for Shropshire.

The four cornerstones of my year in office will be “young people”, “small business”, “training and education” and all interlinked with “entrepreneurism”. 91% of people working in Shropshire work in small businesses employing less than 10 people whilst 77% of those businesses employ 4 or less. There are just over 14,000 businesses involved in a wide variety of activities in Shropshire. Approximately 112,000 people at work with some 63% in full time employment.

The world of work has changed radically since I left University and will continue to change more so in the years to come. Young people are more likely to be working in or as a small business from an early age. As such, the future prosperity and well being of Shropshire hinges on how much focus these important issues will receive now. I hope to highlight and support the many people and organisations that are actively involved in the County and to raise awareness of the needs of small businesses generally.

Not least, I look forward to supporting the many locally based charities and volunteers who make such difference to people’s lives in the County.

I am greatly looking forward to serving my county and am grateful for the support of my Under Sheriff and Chaplain as well as previous High Sheriffs for their advice and wise counsel.