The Honours System


“Do The Honours!”

The Cabinet Office has published a leaflet aimed at encouraging a larger number of nominations for a national Honour, particularly of deserving women. Click here for the Do The Honours Leaflet.

Honours are granted to deserving and high-achieving people from every section of the community.  The Honours system rewards people for merit, service or bravery.

The Queen has the sole right of conferring all titles of Honour although anybody can make a recommendation for a British national to receive an Honour.  The Queen confers Honours mostly on the advice of the Cabinet Office, recommendations for Honours must be sent to the Ceremonial Secretariat of the Cabinet Office.  Further information, including a Nomination Form, is available on https://www.gov.uk/honours/nominate-someone

As a guide, Honours are normally available for the following level of service:

Knight or Dame

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 or
  • In a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally and
  • Which demonstrates sustained commitment.

CBE

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

OBE

Awarded for:

  • A distinguished regional or country-wide role in any field
  • Through achievement or service to the community
  • Including notable practitioners known nationally

MBE

Awarded for:

  • Achievement or service in and to the community of a responsible kind which is outstanding in its field or
  • Very local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to others

BEM (British Empire Medal)

Awarded for:

  • Achievement or contribution of a very ‘hands-on’ service to the community in a local geographical area.  This might take the form of sustained commitment in support of very local charitable and/or voluntary activity; or innovative work that has delivered real impact but that is relatively short (three to four years) in duration.

There is no deadline for the submission of completed Nomination Forms, although it should be borne in mind that nominations may take 12 months or more to process.