The honours system
4. Types of honours and awards
You can’t nominate someone for a specific honour - that’s decided by the honours committee.
Companion of Honour
This is awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time.
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.
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 get one for a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area.
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.
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.
British Empire Medal (BEM)
Awarded for a ‘hands-on’ service to the local community. This could be a long-term charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration (3 to 4 years) that has made a significant difference.
Overseas Territories Police and Fire Service Medals
Given for service in British Overseas Territories.
Royal Victorian Order (RVO)
An award given by the Queen - usually to people who have helped her personally, like members of the Royal household staff or British ambassadors.
The George Cross
First level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of heroism and courage in extreme danger.
The George Medal
Second level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of great bravery.
The Queen’s Gallantry Medal
Third level civilian medal for bravery: for inspiring acts of bravery.
The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery and The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air
For risk to life.
The committee decides which order someone should be a member of. You don’t have to specify this in your nomination.
|Order||Who can be nominated|
|Order of the Bath||Senior civil servants and military officers|
|Order of St Michael and St George||Diplomats and people serving the UK abroad|
|Order of the British Empire||Anyone|
|Companion of Honour (award)||Anyone|
|Royal Victorian Order||People who have served the Queen or the Monarchy in a personal way|
Most awards are in the Order of the British Empire.