How to nominate someone for an OBE, MBE or other honour

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If you work at a charity or are involved in a community group or voluntary organisation, it is likely that you may know someone who deserves an MBE, OBE or other honour. This could be a local volunteer, a school governor, a fundraiser or anyone who goes above and beyond to help their community.

If you know someone who deserves to be recognised, there is a simple process you can follow to nominate them.

There is a lot of advice from the various government departments on how to fill out the forms and increase the chances of your nominee being honoured, so we have collated all of the advice as well as some useful hints and tips below…

All of the forms you need to complete are available online via the government website: https://www.gov.uk/honours/nominate-someone-in-the-uk

First of all, you can submit your nomination at any time of the year and there are no deadlines for applications. The awards are announced twice a year, on the Queen’s Birthday (mid-June) and the New Year’s Honours at the end of December.

As each nomination requires background checks to be undertaken by civil service officials (HMRC checks, criminal record check etc.) it takes around 12-18 months for nominations to be processed. All nominations are initially assessed by a committee from the area the nominee is active (e.g. where they volunteer or fundraise), and is then passed on to a Cabinet Office committee for further assessment.

The committee members reviewing the nomination are the ones who decide on the level of the award, so you don’t nominate them for an MBE or OBE for example, the committee will decide on what level of honour they should be recognised with.

An important point is that nominations should ideally be made while the nominee is still ‘active’ in their community work, as those nominated after retirement tend to be much less likely to be successful.

The nomination process

To nominate someone, you need to submit the following:

  • A citation written by the individual who is making the nomination
  • Two supporting letters written by people to provide a wider perspective on why you are nominating that person

The citation that you write is the only evidence that most of the people involved in the assessment process will see about your nominee, so it is important to make that as strong as possible.

Your citation needs to include:

  • Your nominee’s name, age, address and contact details
  • Details of relevant work or volunteering they’ve done
  • Details of any awards or other recognition they’ve received

Below are a few hints and tips to make your citation as strong and persuasive as possible:

  • There is a lot of competition for honours, so each nomination receives a robust evaluation and quick decisions are based on the information within the citation form. Write the very best one you can, detailing exactly why you are nominating the person and why you have chosen to do so now.
  • State clearly in the first few lines of your citation why you making the nomination, and then use the rest of the text to demonstrate why they deserve an honour.
  • Do not make the mistake of using the citation as an extended CV of the nominated individual listing educational achievements and past jobs etc. Stick to the reason or reasons why you think their charity or community work deserves recognition.
  • Focus on what is special about them, their work and their achievements and demonstrate clearly how and where they have made a difference.
  • Be clear that the individual goes ‘above and beyond’ to make a real difference. The committee may assume you are just describing someone who is doing their job, so clearly show how their activities are extra to their “standard” role.

You can find the full government guidance on How to write a nomination for honours here.

About BHIB Charities Insurance

BHIB Charities Insurance specialise in providing tailored cover for community groups, clubs, societies, voluntary organisations and hobby or special interest groups. We offer more than just insurance and we are passionate about supporting local communities.

To find out how we can help your charity or not-for-profit organisation, email us on hello@bhibcharities.co.uk or call 0330 013 0036 to speak to our friendly, expert team.

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Luke Glassford

Luke Glassford

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