Demystifying the Honours process: A quick how-to guide for women in the football industry

23 December 2015

Demystifying the Honours process: A quick how-to guide for women in the football industry

Why nominate someone for the Queen's Birthday or New Year's Honours?

Honours are a way of recognising hard work, extraordinary achievements, pioneering breakthroughs and outstanding talent. 

At the WiF Honours event, Joyce Cook OBE and Eileen Williams MBE – She is an expert on accessible stadia and the built environment for sporting events – described how much of an impact receiving an Honour had had on their careers, opening doors to new contacts and invitations to events.

In an industry that often struggles to give women a platform – through underrepresentation on boards or senior management, a lack of female speakers at key football conferences, or an absence of award nominations – an Honour can make all the difference in rewarding women in the football industry with the profile they deserve.

Who deserves an Honour?

  • Someone who has had an impact on his or her workplace or community
  • Gained the respect of their peers
  • Changed things for the better
  • Improved things for others less able to help themselves
  • Worked tirelessly and selflessly for a cause

How do I nominate someone for an award? (And isn't it really complicated?)

Nominating someone for an award is a straightforward process that can be done by any individual. The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) handle nominations for sports, and routinely receive nominations from members of the public. Each public nomination must be supported by two other individuals who can vouch for the integrity of the person being put forward.

DCMS also engage stakeholders in the sports sector, such as National Governing Bodies, to call for nominations to be put forward. Women in Football will act as a stakeholder for the industry, with the aim of improving the diversity of Honours recipients from football.

What makes a good citation?

  • Describe what is special about your nominee's achievements.
  • How have they made a difference?
  • How have they have overcome obstacles or gone the extra mile?
  • How are they head and shoulders above their peers or a role model to others?

What makes a bad citation?

  • An extended CV.
  • A list of educational achievements, appointments, awards or posts.
  • A job description.
  • Lack of clarity about what the individual has achieved (as opposed to the organisation they work for).
  • Superlatives without evidence to back them up.
  • Absence of evidence of going  “beyond the job”.

Some facts and figures

  • 35% of people working and volunteering in the sports sector are women – the honours system wants honours list to be reflect the diversity of the sector
  • DCMS writes out to some 52 sporting bodies (including National Governing Bodies etc.).  Historically the response rate has been low; with just 35% of the organisations contacted nominating for the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list
  • BAME Honours account for just 6% of the total number of Honours awarded each year.
  • DCMS is keen to increase the numbers of women and ethnic minorities put forward for Honours awards from the sports sector.
  • The Sport Honours Committee is chaired by Lord Sebastian Coe and is made up of a mix of former sportspeople and sports administrators (see

Further advice and resources:

For information about the process in DCMS please contact Rachel Knight on or 020 7211 6950

For more information and the public nomination form, go to or contact the Honours and Appointments Secretariat at the Cabinet Office by email at or 020 7276 2777.

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