Skip to content

The honours nomination process explained

The UK Honours system recognises people of outstanding merit and those who have committed themselves to service to the nation. It's been around for centuries, but it was a closed system for many years. Only since 1993 has everybody been free to nominate.

Who can be nominated

Anyone can be nominated but only exceptional people are honoured. Honours committees are looking for someone who has made a difference in their field or work or community.

Honours can be awarded for all sorts of work – paid or unpaid but your nominee must still be involved in the activity for which they are nominated.

Before you make your nomination, ask yourself the following questions. Has your nominee:

  • made a difference to their community or field of work?
  • exemplified the best sustained and selfless voluntary service?
  • demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship?
  • carried the respect of their peers?
  • changed things, with an emphasis on achievement?
  • improved the lot of those less able to help themselves?
  • displayed moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices?

Nomination forms

To get started you'll need a copy of the nominations form and the guidance notes. You can download these and find out where to send your completed form at the following nidirect page.

Please read the guidance notes carefully and complete the form as fully as possible. And, ensure that you have the required letters of support.

For nominees resident in Northern Ireland you should return the form to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). For nominees resident in Great Britain you should return your forms to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Writing a letter of support for a nomination

If you are writing a letter of support, you may find the following booklet useful.

Checking progress

There are no deadlines for receipt of nomination forms, but their consideration is likely to take at least 12 to 18 months. This is because of background work needed to assess a nomination. Therefore, you should not nominate a person for a specific Honours List.

If you would like to check on progress, you can contact the Honours Secretariat in the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister on the following number.

  • phone: 028 9037 8132

More useful links