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The UK Honours System PDF Print E-mail

The honours system recognises merit and service to the nation. There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution.

The WNC put forward a list of suitable women for consideration for honours twice yearly. The lists of successful nominees are published at New Year and in mid-June on the date of The Queen's official birthday. Anyone can receive an award if they reach the required standard of merit or service and honours lists contain a wide variety of people from different backgrounds.

Qualities of people being considered for an award

Specific attention is paid to those people who:

  • have really changed things, with an emphasis on practical achievement;
  • have delivered in a way that has brought distinction to British life and enhanced the UK's reputation in the area of activity concerned, or which has contributed in a distinctive way to improving the lot of those less able to help themselves;
  • are examples of the best sustained and selfless voluntary service;
    have demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship which is delivering lasting results;
  • carry the respect of their peers and are role models in their field; and
  • have shown sustained achievement against the odds which has required moral courage, vision in making difficult choices and real commitment.

Level of awards

Most of the honours nominations considered by the WNC fall under the Order of the British Empire, and Member of the British Empire

Below is a guide to each level:

Dame of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)

An outstanding contribution usually at national level or in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally, and demonstrate a long-term commitment.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

A prominent national role of a lesser degree, or a high-profile leading role or responsibility in regional affairs, or making a highly distinguished, innovative contribution in their area of activity.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

A distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field and distinguished local practitioners whose achievements are recognised nationally.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Service in and to the community of a responsible kind that is outstanding in its field. These could be committed and effective leaders of local voluntary organisations, community workers, inspiring public service staff, or local councillors.

Visit the Honours website for further information: www.honours.gov.uk


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