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Nominate Someone for an Honour

An Honour is a distinctive way of acknowledging someone’s impact on UK life and recognising that they have achieved something very special and given service above and beyond what would normally be expected of them. They will usually have made life better for other people or been outstanding at what they do. Across North Yorkshire there are very many people from all walks of life who meet those criteria; you may well know someone who does.

An honour is the highest recognition bestowed on an individual. It therefore requires clear evidence of truly exceptional service above and beyond any normal expectation. That evidence should include the duration of the activity or activities; the breadth of their impact in terms of population and area; and their effect in terms of its benefits to the community, organisation or service. Although duration is an important factor, long service alone is unlikely to suffice. Evidence of a range of beneficial activities is generally more powerful than a single effort, especially in the higher honours. Nominations involving individuals who have excelled in paid employment must demonstrate a level of contribution beyond reasonable expectations of their post, role and salary level.

Nominations can be made online or by post; full details are included in the Government Website together with a detailed explanation of the process, and a very useful document containing advice on how to write an application.

There are no deadlines for nomination forms but do bear in mind that the process is likely to take at least 12 to 24 months. Nominations should be made while the candidate is still active and, if possible, at least 12 months before he or she is expected to retire or stand down.

Please also be aware that there are seperate parallel honours systems for public sector workers and military personnel; nominations for these individuals should be submitted though their relevant department or ministry.

Who are national honours for?

Honours are for individuals from all walks of life who have achieved something very special. This might be at a national level or maybe for those who are well respected by local people and will have made a difference in their neighbourhood. Over half of all awards go to people who are putting something extra into the community on a voluntary basis.

People get honours for achievements like:

  • making a difference to their community or field of work
  • enhancing Britain’s reputation
  • long-term voluntary service
  • innovation and entrepreneurship
  • changing things, with an emphasis on achievement
  • improving life for people less able to help themselves
  • displaying moral courage

Honours are given to people involved in many different fields including:

  • community, voluntary and local services
  • arts and media
  • health
  • sport
  • education
  • science and technology
  • business and the economy
  • civil or political service

National honours are for individuals, so if you are thinking of nominating a group or organisation please look at our pages on the King’s Award for Voluntary Service and King’s Award for Enterprise.

What levels of Honours are there?

When writing a citation, you don’t say what level of award you are hoping to secure for the nominee. This is decided by the Honours Committees when they review the nominations and citations. But as a guide the National Honours are:

British Empire Medal (BEM): typically awarded for outstanding service to the community within a local area.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE): often recognises an achievement or service to the community which has delivered a substantial impact involving a wide area and many people and stands out as an example to others.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): typically recognises those who have performed a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field, often in a leadership position.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE): often recognises those in leadership roles whose activities have had a substantial regional or national impact.

Dame or Knight: recognises those who have made a pre-eminent contribution of national importance in any field.