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.

Knight/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.

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)

This is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. An MBE is also awarded for local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to other people.

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Reintroduced in 2012, this rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration (eg 3 to 4 years).

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.

Which order?

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.

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