Individuals in the East Midlands are being asked to nominate their friends, colleagues, relatives or sports and community leaders for an honour.
The plea comes as the latest statistics show just 4.7 percent of Honours went to people in the East Midlands this year. In last year’s Birthday Honours, the figure was 5 percent.
“We encourage nominations from all sections of society from all over the country and we’d particularly like to see more people from the East Midlands receiving recognition for their achievements,” said Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Civil Service.
“Some people may think honours are largely reserved for certain professions or backgrounds but they really are for everyone who has done a great job for their community and helped make the country a better place to live.
“Recipients have included people who have spent years fostering children, raising money for charity, made a difference by serving tirelessly on committees, helping people to take part in sports or doing valuable work in the voluntary sector.”
The plea also comes as the latest statistics show just 6.5 percent of Honours went to people from BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds between 2009 and 2014, despite making up around 14.1 percent of the population in England and Wales.
Only two per cent of awards went to people from the Indian community (226 individuals) and 1.4 percent (158 individuals) from the Black Caribbean community. Only 21 individuals from the Chinese community were given awards.
In recent years, London and the South of England have received more than their fair share of honours, while other regions have all underperformed. For example, the East Midlands represents 7.1 per cent of the population of the UK but over the last two years received on average only 4.9 per cent of all honours.
Anyone can nominate someone for an award and anyone can receive an award, if they reach the required standard of merit or service.
Nationally, up to 1,300 individuals are recognised through the honours system every year.
In addition to nominations from members of the public, Government departments ask schools, hospitals, local authorities, and similar organisations, for suggestions of potential candidates.
All recommendations are considered by one of nine independent expert honours committees, each chaired by an independent non-Civil Service chair and comprising a majority of independent members, all selected after open advertisement.
The nomination process usually takes around 18 months from the date the nomination is made to the time a successful candidate appears on an honours list, while the facts are checked and supportive comments obtained.
The honours committees decide which awards will be offered:
British Empire Medal (BEM), awarded for very “hands-on” service to the community in a local geographical area.
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), recognising an achievement or service to the community which has delivered a sustained impact and which stands out as an example to others.
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for those who have performed a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field.
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), rewarding a prominent national or regional role.
Dame or Knight, for those who have made a pre-eminent contribution in any field, usually at a national level.
“I would love to see more people from East Midlands being nominated as I know so much great work is done here which should receive recognition,” said Noreen Oliver from Burton-on-Trent, who serves on one of the independent honours committees.
“Anyone can be put forward for an honour and we are looking for people who have made a real difference in their community or field of work.”
The criteria the committees will be looking for include:
Made a real impact in their community or workplace?
Exemplified the very best sustained and selfless voluntary service?
Gained the respect of their peers?
Changed things for the better?
Improved the lot of those less able to help themselves?
Displayed moral courage in making and delivering tough choices?
Demonstrated innovation or entrepreneurship?
Brought distinction to British life and enhanced its reputation?
Detailed guidance on the honours process and a nomination form can be found at www.gov.uk/honours or phone the honours team in the Cabinet Office on 020 7276 2777.