The Prime Minister announced today that Sir Hayden Phillips had delivered his report to the Government and the Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull for making the honours system more transparent, more reflective of society and more trusted, in order to sustain confidence in it.
Finding no evidence of broad public opinion in favour
of abolishing honours, Sir Hayden Phillips focuses on practical recommendations
designed to increase public understanding of the Honours system and
fairness within the system itself.
Sir Hayden Phillips said:
“My report deals with the important issues of fairness and confidence in the processes of the honours system. A trusted honours system is our way in the United Kingdom of saying thank you publicly to those who have gone the extra mile in their service or who stand head and shoulders above others in their distinction. My recommendations aim to ensure the honours system evolves in a fair and open way, reflecting diversity in society and ensuring diversity on honours committees
“My report contains thirty-one recommendations many of which are about the process of the system and making it more user friendly. I think this is the key to a more open and trusted system. In addition to being more open, many wish the system to look more open. As such I make a small recommendation that those who wish, should be able on an everyday basis to wear a small badge to signal that they have received an Honour. ”
Sir Andrew Turnbull said:
“I am most grateful to Hayden Phillips for his very helpful report. It will need to be considered alongside the report from the Public Administration Select Committee which was published earlier this week. The Government will make a statement on the way forward later in the year.”
Copies of the full report are available on www.cabinet-office.gov.uk. Hard copies may be ordered from the Ceremonial Secretariat of the Cabinet Office – please call 020 7276 2777.
Comments on the report should be sent to Ceremonial Secretariat, Ground Floor, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ, 020 7276 2777, email: email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
1. Structure of the Phillips review
2. Context of the Phillips review
3. The terms of reference for the Phillips
and to make other recommendations relevant to ensuring that the honours system is held in high public esteem.
4. How the Honours lists work
Pages 15, 16, and 17 of the report include full diagrams detailing the honours nomination system, assessment process, and approval procedure.
The lists are issued twice yearly (at New Year and on The Queen’s Birthday) and recognise two strands of contribution: ‘service’ (public, community and voluntary) and distinction. There are approximately 25 investiture ceremonies a year arranged at Buckingham Palace, Holyrood House or in Cardiff. Honours are presented by The Queen or, on her behalf, the Prince of Wales.
The honours covered by the review are the main ones featured in the New Year and Queens birthday Honours lists (see Annex One of report for full explanation):
There are criteria for the award of honours, and the level of award given:
a) Knighthood and above: Pre-eminent contribution in any field, usually but not exclusively at national level, or in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally, and which demonstrates sustained commitment and/or public service
b) CBE: A prominent national role of a lesser degree, or a conspicuous leading role in regional affairs or the public service; or making a highly distinguished, innovative contribution to his or her area of activity
c) OBE: A distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field, including public service and distinguished practitioners (in the arts field, authors and actors, for example) known nationally
d) MBE: Service in and to the community of a responsible kind (including, for example, as a committed and effective leader of a local voluntary organisation; community worker; inspiring public service practitioner; local councillor etc) which is outstanding in its field; or very local hands-on service (as school crossing warden, fund raiser, parish councillor etc) which stands out as an example to others. In both cases awards would often illuminate areas of dedicated service which merit public recognition.
5. Key Statistics
Across the three honours lists the proportion of honours received by members of black and ethnic minority communities is between four and six per cent.
Across the three honours lists the percentage of awards going to state servants is 27 per cent. Looking specifically at the Prime Minister’s Honours lists, the percentage going to civil servants is 15 per cent. This compares to 38 per cent in 1955
Approximately 2 per cent of people recommended for an award refuse the award.
The Ceremonial Secretariat of the Cabinet Office receives about 6,000 new nominations annually from members of the public. Nominations from members of the public account for forty five percent of all those awarded honours.
6. Honours Committees
Reconfigured committees recommended by Phillips
(see Annex 7 of report)