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Honours, Awards, and Nominations

The British honours system rewards nominated individuals across the whole of the United Kingdom. Anyone can nominate any other person, but HM The Queen needs to approve the honour or the award. Information in this section explains how to nominate someone for an honour or a bravery award. Find out where to read the New Year honours list, including UK awards for BEM, MBE, OBE, and knighthoods.

How the Honours System Works in the UK

As a general rule, nominees will have made life better for others or will be outstanding in their line of work. So, the UK honours system recognises individuals:

  • Who made notable achievements in their public life.
  • Who made commitments to serve and to help Britain.

The current members of the honours committees decide whether someone gets an honour (and which honour they would receive).

The recommendations of the committee go first to the Prime Minister, and then to Her Majesty The Queen. The Queen would then award the honour to the recipient.

The circumstances of the person you want to nominate will determine how to apply to nominate someone for an honour.

So, for example, are they in the United Kingdom, living or working overseas, or are you recommending someone for a bravery award?

Note: The nominee needs to be ‘actively’ involved in the role for which they are being nominated. The honours system uses bravery awards as a way of honouring a person after their death.

Achievements that people can get honours for include:

  • Changing things (with an emphasis on achievement).
  • Displaying moral courage.
  • Enhancing the reputation of Great Britain.
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Improving the lives of others who are less able to help themselves.
  • Long-term voluntary service.
  • Making a difference to their field of work or their community.

Fields of work that individuals can get honours for include:

  • Arts and media
  • Business and the economy
  • Civil or political service
  • Community, local services, and voluntary work
  • Education
  • Health
  • Science and technology
  • Sport

Nominating a Group for an Honour

The honours system in United Kingdom only allows nominations for individuals. Nonetheless, you can nominate a volunteer group for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service instead.

After Nominating Someone for an Honour

You would receive an acknowledgment after you nominate someone for an honour. Following that, it could then take up to eighteen (18) months before you hear from the committee again.

Various government departments will check all nominees to ensure they are suitable to receive an honour. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may also carry out some checks.

Note: The Cabinet Office produces further information relating to the checks that the government carries out on prospective honours candidates.


Awards and Badges

Armed Forces Memorial Roll of Honour

The Armed Forces Memorial roll of honour commemorates members of the armed forces who have been killed since the end of World War 2. You can view entries on the roll of honour database online.

Bevin Boys Veterans Badge

If you worked in the coal mines under the Bevin Boys scheme between 1943 and 1948 you can apply for a Bevin Boys veterans badge. Widows of Bevin Boys may also meet the eligibility criteria.

WLA and WTC Veterans Badges

You can apply for a Women’s Land Army veterans badge (or Women’s Timber Corps) if you served during World War 1 or World War 2 (or any time up until the corps disbanded in 1950).

Note: There is no fee to apply for a medal or a veterans badge from the MoD. Find out which application forms to use, who can apply, and how long it takes to get replacement military medals or badges.

How to Write an Honours Nomination

Different Types of Honours and Awards

The United Kingdom uses different types of national honours and awards in recognition of achievement, bravery, and commitment (determined by the honours committee).

Nominating a Candidate for a National Honour

There are several ways to nominate someone for a national honour or award. You can make a nomination online, by email, or by post using the honours nomination form.

Honours and Awards in the United Kingdom