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When is the New Year’s Honours list announced, who decides who is given an honour and why do they get awarded?

A list of those receiving gongs is released at the end of the year, usually in late December. Here's who was honoured last time and what their awards are for.

What is the New Year's Honours list and who was on it last year?

The list is part of the British honours system, with New Year's Day marked by naming new members of orders of chivalry and other official honours.

The awards are presented by or in the name of the Queen.

In a tradition dating back to at least 1890, honours have been awarded at New Year with the full list published by the London Gazette on January 2.

There were only two years where the list wasn't released on New Year – 1902 when it was instead published on the King's birthday the previous November and in 1940 due to the outbreak of World War Two.

Among those recognised earlier this year were:

  • Strictly Come Dancing star Darcey Bussell (Dame)
  • Nick Clegg (knighthood)
  • Ringo Starr (knighthood)
  • Bee Gees legend Barry Gibb (knighthood)
  • Broadcaster Eamonn Holmes (OBE)
  • Author Jilly Cooper (CBE)
  • Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman (CBE)
  • England cricketers Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole and Tammy Beaumont (MBEs)
  • Tory MP Graham Brady (knighthood)
  • Tory MP Charyl Gillan (Dame)
  • Pollster Professor John Curtice (knighthood)
  • Actor Hugh Laurie (CBE)
  • Grime artist Wiley (MBE)
  • Children's author Michael Morpurgo (knighthood)
  • Soft Cell singer Marc Almond (OBE)

Why are people awarded honours?

The system recognises ordinary people and celebs who have made achievements in public life or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.

They’ll usually have made life better for other people or be outstanding at what they do.

If someone is being given a civilian gallantry award, it means they have attempted to or saved the life of a British citizen who isn’t a family member or close friend.

What are the New Year's Honours judged on?

Nominations are judged on:

  • degree of risk
  • how aware the nominee was of the danger
  • persistence

People are also given honours for achievements such as:

  • making a difference to their community or field of work
  • enhancing Britain’s reputation
  • long-term voluntary service
  • innovation and entrepreneurship
  • changing things, with an emphasis on achievement
  • improving life for people less able to help themselves
  • displaying moral courage

The fields in which people can be given an honours are:

  • community, voluntary and local services
  • arts and media
  • health
  • sport
  • education
  • science and technology
  • business and the economy
  • civil or political service

What types of honours are there?

The major Queen’s Honours include a knighthood or damehood (KBE or DBE), Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Other honours include The George Medal, The Queen’s Gallantry Medal, and the Royal Victorian Order (RVO).

OBEs, MBEs and CBEs are more focused on local achievements, whether in business, community or charity.

CBEs are the most prestigious of the three, and are awarded for prominent or leading roles at a national or regional level.

How do you get nominated for honours?

Anyone can nominate someone for an honour on the gov.uk website.

However, the person being nominated must be actively involved in what you are nominating them for.

Once someone is nominated, the honours committee will review the person and check they are suitable for receiving an award.

This may include checks by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Reviews are carried out by various government departments.

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