Honours Information

The Honours System


The honours system offers public recognition to people in all walks of life and all sections of society who have given quite exceptional service and made a difference in their community or in the country. There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution, for details click on the following link: 

Government Website

The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world. It has evolved over 650 years and today recognises merit, gallantry and service. Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in June.

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. Anyone can nominate someone for an award but it is important to note that longevity in a position is not sufficient in itself and that honours are not usually awarded after someone has retired.

Access to the required form and further information can be obtained by clicking here.

It is important to remember to include all good works performed by the nominee, not just the foremost reason. It is essential to source and submit several strong letters of recommendation from people who know at first-hand about the work which has caused the nomination to be made. The Lord-Lieutenant is involved in the honours process, therefore is unable to act as a referee.

A nomination will take about 18 months to pass through the vetting process, from the point it is submitted to the Cabinet Office. The nomination should be kept strictly confidential, to avoid disappointment should an application be unsuccessful. A finite number of awards are available for each honours list and therefore nominations are measured against submissions from across the nation. If a nomination proves unsuccessful, it is sometimes possible for the Lord-Lieutenant to arrange some other form of recognition, as a ‘thank you’ for exceptional service.

Further Information

Contact Details

Cabinet Office
Honours and Appointments Secretariat
Ground Floor, 1 Horse Guards Road
London, SW1A 2WH

020 7276 2766




British Empire Medal (BEM)

The BEM was reintroduced by the Prime Minister in 2011 and the first awards were announced in the New Year’s Honours List in 2012. It is intended to honour people for local and exceptional work within their communities.

HM The King has asked the Lord-Lieutenant to make the awards of BEMs within Kent.

The Lord-Lieutenant holds two investitures a year, each one following the publication of the Honours List. Recipients will receive details of the investiture from the Deputy Clerk to the Lieutenancy as soon as a date is announced, usually within three months of the announcement. Any recipient not able to attend will have their presentation carried forward to the next investiture.

In exceptional circumstances, such as a recipient being house-bound, through ill-health or circumstances which make it impossible for a recipient to attend an investiture, the Deputy Clerk to the Lieutenancy will make alternative arrangements for the presentation to take place privately.

Recipients will automatically be invited to a Royal Garden Party, the year following their award being gazetted.

Anyone wishing to nominate an individual for an award of the BEM should go to the Government website and download an application form.

Government Website

The Elizabeth Cross

The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on Operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of the family’s loss and sacrifice.

Not all deaths of Service personnel are included in this scheme. The death of any service person, whatever the circumstances, is a tragic loss to his or her family and to the Armed Forces as a whole, but the Elizabeth Cross was instituted specifically to recognise the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism, and the particular burden this places on Service families.

The first Elizabeth Crosses and Memorial Scrolls were granted from 1 August 2009 (and will be retrospective to the end of the Second World War). All eligible Next of Kin of those who died between 1 January 1948 to date are strongly advised to apply, although the MOD Medal Office will endeavour to establish contact with the more recent eligible families, where up to date contact details are held. Further details and application forms can be seen at the Government website by clicking the link below.

Government Website