Queen's Honours

The honours system recognises people who have made achievements in public life and/or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain

They’ll usually have made life better for other people or be outstanding at what they do.

Civilian gallantry awards recognise bravery by people who have attempted to or saved the life of a British citizen who isn’t a family member or close friend. Nominations are judged on: degree of risk, how aware the nominee was of the danger, persistence.

Whether someone gets an honour - and the honour they get - is decided by an honours committee. The committee’s decisions go to the Prime Minister and then to the Queen, who awards the honour.

Who can nominate someone for an honour? Anyone can nominate someone for an honour. The forms to use and where to send them depend on whether the person you want to nominate is in the UK or overseas. The person must still be actively involved in what you’re nominating them for.

If you nominate someone for an honour? The honours committee will review your nomination. You’ll get an acknowledgment - but you may not hear anything else for 12 to 18 months. All nominees will be checked by various government departments to make sure they’re suitable for an honour. This may include checks by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

What people get honours for? People get honours for achievements like:

  • making a difference to their community or field of work
  • 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 fields including:

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

Types of honours and awards

You can’t nominate someone for a specific honour - that’s decided by the honours committee.

Companion of Honour - This is awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time.

Knight/Dame - This is awarded for having a major contribution in any activity, usually at national level. Other people working in the nominee’s area will see their contribution as inspirational and significant, requiring commitment over a long period of time.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) - This is awarded for having a prominent but lesser role at national level, or a leading role at regional level. You can also get one for a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) - This is awarded for having a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) - Awarded for an outstanding achievement or service to the community. This will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.

British Empire Medal (BEM) - Awarded for a ‘hands-on’ service to the local community. This could be a long-term charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration (3 to 4 years) that has made a significant difference.

Overseas Territories Police and Fire Service Medals - Given for service in British Overseas Territories.

Royal Victorian Order (RVO) - An award given by the Queen - usually to people who have helped her personally, like members of the Royal household staff or British ambassadors.

The George Cross - First level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of heroism and courage in extreme danger.

The George Medal - Second level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of great bravery.

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal - Third level civilian medal for bravery: for inspiring acts of bravery.

The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery and The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air - For risk to life.

For further information and to make a nomination you should visit the GOV.UK website.

Contact Details

For further guidance and information please contact Trafford Council Partnerships and Communities on 0161 912 1173 or partnershipsteam@trafford.gov.uk