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Sunday, 30 October 2011

A guide to The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK for outstanding work done in their local communities. Find out what work the award is given for, who decides on the nominations, and when the announcement of winners is made.

Nominating a group for the award

You can nominate any volunteer group if you know about the work they do. However, you can’t nominate a group that you are a part of, for example if you are a volunteer or a staff member.

Find out how to nominate a volunteer group by following the link below.

Conditions to receive the award

Any group of two or more people doing volunteering work that is a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. In order to be nominated, volunteer groups should do work that:

  • provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community
  • is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it
  • is run locally

Also, volunteer groups should have been running for three years or more.

Assessing nominations for the award in England

If the volunteer group you have nominated operates in England and is eligible for the award, the nomination will be assessed at county level. The assessment will be done by representatives of the Queen called Lord Lieutenants, helped by a county assessment panel of leading representatives from the local community.

As part of the assessment process, the Lord Lieutenants and their representatives may visit volunteer groups that have been nominated.

Assessing nominations in the rest of the UK

In Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, the nominations are assessed by the Queen’s representatives called Lieutenant Governors and a local panel of experts. 

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, nominations are assessed by panels of experts set up by the devolved administrations in each country. They will assess the recommendations from the Lord Lieutenant in each region.

Find out how devolved administrations make their decisions and what powers they have by following the link below.

Make-up of assessment panels

People on the panels that assess nominations for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service reflect the make-up of the local community. They should have relevant experience including in:

  • the local voluntary and community sector
  • local services (health, education, environment, social services)
  • arts and leisure
  • youth work or urban re-generation
  • the business sector

Judging nominations for the award

Local assessment panels send nominations to a national Award Committee made up of independent experts in volunteering from across the UK. The committee judges the nominations against the conditions set out for winning the award and the assessment made by the county and devolved administration panels.

The Award Committee makes recommendations to the Cabinet Office on who should win the award.

Find out more about panels and committees for the award by following the link below.

How a decision is made on nominations

Each nomination is judged on the benefits it gives to the local community. There isn't a set number of winners in a sector of volunteering work or region of the country decided beforehand.

Winning the award

The Cabinet Office sends a recommended list of volunteer groups that should win the award to the Queen for her approval. Winning volunteer groups will be informed if they are going to win the award before the public announcement is made. However, they have to agree to keep details of the award private until the official announcement is made. A list of winners is published in the London Gazette.

Winners of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service and case studies

Winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service are announced on 2 June every year. Find out who the latest and previous winners of the award are and read case studies about their work by following the link below.

Winners – what they receive

Winners of the award receive a certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen and a domed glass crystal. The Lord Lieutenant from the local county presents the certificate and the crystal to winning volunteer groups. Representatives from the group may also be invited to attend a royal garden party.

Winners can get mini crystal versions of the award by contacting the administrator of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

The Award – when it started

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's coronation. The award used to be called the Golden Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service by Groups in the Community. Follow the links below to find out about the British honours system and the monarchy.

Managing the award

The Cabinet Office manages The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

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