Honours for Individuals

Anyone can nominate someone for an honour

If you would like to nominate someone for a national honour, you will need at least two letters of support to back up your nomination; and these should be from people who know the nominee personally.

Honours lists are published twice a year – at the New Year and on HM The King’s official birthday (date to be confirmed).


For individuals, honours can be awarded for achievements such as:

  • 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 those involved in:

  • 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

British Empire Medal (BEM)

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

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 receive this award for a distinguished, innovative contribution to any 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.

Knight or 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.

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.

Companion of Honour

The Companion of Honour is a special award granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time. The members, of which there are 65 at any one time, currently include Sir David Attenborough, The Lord Coe, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Elton John, JK Rowling OBE and Delia Smith CBE. Non-British nationals, including Commonwealth figures, can be honorary members of the Order, and count as additional to the main 65. Very few people receive both the Order of Merit and the Companion of Honour, but these have included Sir Winston Churchill and Sir David Attenborough.

How to Complete the Nomination Form

For help on completing a nomination click here