What level of Queen’s honour should I apply for?
When nominating someone for an honour you shouldn’t specify the level.
The purpose of completing the nomination form and sending in letters of support is to furnish the Honours and Appointments Secretariat at the Cabinet Office with all the information they need to be able to make a balanced and informed decision as to what level of honour they will recommend that the Prime Minister and Her Majesty should bestow.
Despite this, some people make the mistake of mentioning Knighthood/Damehood in every other sentence in the hope it will somehow sway the judges!
This is highly unlikely and will probably do more harm than good. The Cabinet Office, like lots of people, don’t like being told what to do and feel that they, along with the specialist sub-committees who judge the nominations, are best placed to make this decision.
For your interest, the level of honour is driven by two key factors.
Firstly, and perhaps not surprisingly, by the magnitude of the nominee’s achievements. Secondly, by the nominee’s geographical spread of influence.
So, the person running the under 12s soccer team in their village for fifteen years is likely to be at the lower end e.g. BEM or MBE, because their geographical spread of influence is relatively limited.
However, someone known or operating nationally or internationally, perhaps a leader in their field, is more likely to be at the mid to higher end.
With that in mind, and where appropriate, when we are crafting a nomination we will use words and terms that we know will resonate positively with the judges, such as ‘national impact’, ‘global influence’ or if more appropriate, ‘broad regional presence’.
You must take care not to mislead the judges of course, and you must substantiate such claims with press cuttings, letters of support, awards, etc.
After all, the Cabinet Office are not stupid. They know that anyone who has taken the time to write a detailed nomination is going to ‘big up’ the nominee therefore third party letters of support from trustworthy sources, along with other evidence, is vital.
That’s one of the reasons why we end up spending 100–150 hours on a typical nomination and need to charge accordingly.
Hope that was helpful. Further Q & As to follow later in the week. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the honours nomination process click on the image below and watch me on Sky TV: