I write to introduce myself as the new County Commissioner for Suffolk Scouts – I will be taking up the role at the beginning of next month (formally on Saturday 2 April).

As you may know, I have no background in scouting and so for the past few months I have been working through an intensive programme of induction/reconnaissance – that has included plenty of formal training (I have completed Getting Started and a number of other modules including First Aid); a 48 hour acquaint to Gilwell Park; attendance at County Executive and Senior Leadership meetings; visits to various local scout/cub groups; and time spent on a 1:1 basis with key personnel involved in Suffolk Scouts. There is still much for me to learn but I do feel ready to take up my new appointment.

I would like to thank Keith Barber (Acting CC) who has mentored me through my induction period together with Carl Gloess (County Administrator) and Gary Burden (Deben DC), who have been particularly generous in their time and help. I would also like to mention my predecessor Mark Pearson – clearly under his leadership Suffolk Scouts thrived, much to the benefit of everyone involved, for which I thank and congratulate him.

My immediate priority is to continue the process of getting to know how Suffolk Scouts operates and to meet as many of you as possible, so do please invite me to your various events/activities and I will do my best to attend. In more general terms, my aim is to support you all to the best of my ability and to ensure that Suffolk Scouts is as strong and happy as it can be.

I will be attending the Basecamp Conference in Manchester in mid-May when the plans for scouting at a national level going forward will be discussed/explained; following that I hope to be in a position to update our own strategic plan and to consider how our leadership/management structure should be organised to support that plan.

Finally, a small insight into my background: I have spent most of my working life in independent education; the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Outward Bound are very familiar to me; I live in Alderton (near Woodbridge) with my wife, Susie; I have three grown up children and I have a life-long interest in sport and music.  

I very much look forward to meeting you.

I wish you every success in your various scouting pursuits.

Howard Blackett
County Commissioner Suffolk Scouts