Over a thousand individuals across the UK will have now opened perhaps the most significant and jaw dropping letter they have ever received – a letter from Her Majesty The Queen inviting them to accept an honour for their achievements and to take their place on the 2014 Birthday Honours List, publicly announced on 14 June.
However, one of the most common misconceptions relating to the honours system concerns the method by which honours candidates are identified and assessed. While many believe that The Queen and her cohort are quietly on the hunt for the most exceptional contributors to British society, culture and commerce, the process does in fact begin with people like you, the nominator.
Take a look at our infographic, which shows the step–by–step judging process to getting a gong like an MBE, OBE, CBE or knighthood. Here you will see that anyone is able to nominate an individual they believe to be worthy of an honour. So, if you know someone who you think is excelling in their field of work or in the community, get them nominated now.
Once the written nomination is completed (and this is a detailed exercise not dissimilar to writing a biography) it is submitted to the Cabinet office and the process of assessment begins.
Due to the volume of nominations received each year, and the care that is taken to assess them it takes an average of 12 to 24 months for each nomination to be considered.
First the Honours and Appointments Secretariat make a preliminary assessment of each nomination. They perform basic fact checking and seek consultation with relevant public bodies, regional Lord Lieutenants and government departments for their input or comments on the candidate if known to them.
On completion of this stage nominees are put forward to the relevant specialist committees for consideration. For example, a candidate nominated for their services to medicine would be passed on to the Health Committee, a teacher to the Education Committee and so forth.
The specialist committees assess the nominee’s contribution and escalate the citations of the finest candidates to the Main Honours Committee, who are responsible for making the final recommendations to the Prime Minister. In instances where the candidate has been involved in philanthropic activities, a special sub-committee performs a further assessment, which ensures these individuals are given further consideration.
Successful nominations make it to the Prime Minister’s office and then on to Buckingham Palace. Once The Queen has approved the list of nominees they are invited to accept their award in a letter before being added to the final Honours List.
Joining this elite group of the great and the good brings with it a level of prestige and awe that is incomparable, and although many nominations are also made by public bodies each year, it is thanks largely to the nominations made by people like you that so many “ordinary” people doing outstanding professional or community work are recognised for their achievements every year.
Given the level of detail paid to each nomination and the volume of nominations made each year, it is incredibly important to ensure the nominees’ achievements, impact and influence are properly researched, detailed and presented so that they have a good chance of making it to The List. After all, the Honours Secretariat have thousands of nominations to read year on year – and it is only the very best that will make it all the way to Buckingham Palace.
If you would like our help to professionally draft a nomination or if you would like a free initial honours assessment just give us a call on +44 (0)1444 230130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have probably drafted more successful Queen’s honour nomination than anyone else in the world so rest assured that you will be in safe hands.