The honours system recognises people who have:

  • made achievements in public life
  • committed themselves to serving and helping Britain

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

They must still be actively involved in what you’re nominating them for. The only honours which can be awarded after someone’s death are gallantry awards.

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

Nominating someone for an honour

Anyone can nominate someone for an honour.

How you apply depends on whether you want to:

After you nominate someone for an honour

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).

The honours committee reviews those nominations that are sent to it.

What people get honours for

People get honours for achievements like:

  • 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 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

Group nominations

You can only nominate individuals for honours.

You can nominate a volunteer group for the King’s Award for Voluntary Service.