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How to nominate someone for a Queen’s Honour

Howard Lake | 26 January 2011 | Blogs

Did you know that you can nominate anyone for a Queen’s Honour such as an OBE, MBE or Knighthood for achievements in their field of work or community?
A Queen’s Honour is considered to be the most prestigious personal award an individual can receive and can prove to be a life changing experience for many recipients. The benefits are:
• formal recognition at the highest level for the work and achievements of the recipient
• an enhanced profile and reputation for the recipient
• increased awareness of the work the recipient has undertaken
There are two routes by which people enter the process:
• nomination by an individual or a public/private sector organisation familiar with the work of the candidate e.g. a friend, business contact or spouse
• submission by a government department that has identified a candidate doing good work within its sphere of interest
Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in mid-June on the date of The Queen’s official birthday.

Who can be nominated?

Anyone can receive an award if they reach the required standard of merit or service, and honours lists contain a wide variety of people from different backgrounds.
As the honours website says, anyone can be nominated, but only exceptional people are honoured. If you want to see your candidate on the honours list, make sure your nomination has what it takes to make it all the way to Buckingham Palace. Achievement comes in many forms but honours committees are looking for someone who has made a difference in their field of work or community.
Honours can be awarded for all sorts of work – paid or unpaid – but your nominee must still be involved in the activity for which they are nominated.
Before you make your nomination, ask yourself the following questions.
Has your nominee:
• made a difference to their community or field of work?
• brought distinction to British life and enhanced its reputation?
• exemplified the best sustained and selfless voluntary service?
• demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship?
• carried the respect of their peers?
• changed things, with an emphasis on achievement?
• improved the lot of those less able to help themselves?
• displayed moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices?

What happens to a nomination?

Nominations are collated and then segregated according to the nominee’s area of expertise. Expert committees can then compare like with like – for instance, teacher with teacher – and the best candidates are put forward to the Prime Minister, who then presents the list to The Queen.


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Which order?

The committee considers the appropriate order and level. There is no need to specify this in any nomination. Note that:
• senior Civil Servants and military officers may be considered for the Order of the Bath
• diplomats and others serving the UK abroad may be considered for the Order of St Michael and St George
• anyone may be considered for awards in the Order of the British Empire
• anyone may be considered for the award of Companion of Honour

Which level?

Once the Order has been identified the criteria below are used by committees for deciding the level of award. The assessment committees also use precedent to aid their consideration.

Companion of Honour

A pre-eminent and sustained contribution in the arts, science, medicine, or government.


Awarded for a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity, through:
• achievement or service to the community usually, but not exclusively, at national level
• in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally and
• which demonstrates sustained commitment


Awarded for:
• a prominent national role of a lesser degree or
• a conspicuous leading role in regional affairs, through achievement or service to the community or
• making a highly distinguished, innovative contribution in his or her area of activity


Awarded for:
• a distinguished regional or country-wide role in any field
• through achievement or service to the community
• including notable practitioners known nationally


Awarded for:
• achievement or service in and to the community of a responsible kind which is outstanding in its field or
• local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to others
In all cases awards illuminate areas of dedicated service which merit public recognition.
In terms of service the difference is determined by the extent of the person’s influence. In terms of achievement the difference is determined by the significance of the person’s impact in their chosen profession.
There is no nomination deadline and it can take 12-18 months for a decision.
Mark Llewellyn-Slade is Managing Director of Awards Intelligence, the UK’s leading provider of business awards and personal honours support services, news and information to progressive organisations and individuals.

Image: Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE. Crown copyright – used under Open Government License