Her Majesty the Queen's Representative in County Down

 There are various means by which members of the public may be rewarded for long, honourable or outstanding service.  These are explained in the following paragraphs followed by guidance on writing citations and a summary of information on nomination requirements and closing dates for submission. 
 Please note that when it is decided to nominate a person for an award it is important that the individual concerned does not become aware of the submission as subsequent national consideration may not approve the award and this could lead to unnecessary disappointment.    

 Awards in the Half Yearly Honours Lists
 The formal style of address for former Service Officers must be shown.  The citation should be limited to 300 words and follow the guidance given later in this document.
 Normally, people should be honoured whilst they are still performing the services for which recognition is proposed.  If the nominee is approaching retirement, the date of retirement must be mentioned. A recommendation for an Honour should not usually be submitted where the person is suffering from severe ill health.  It is almost certain that several months, if not years, will elapse between the recommendation and the award being made, and awards are not made posthumously..
 Recipients of awards will be informed direct by the Central Chancery of arrangements for their Investiture.  For the award of OBE and MBE, normally at investitures held by The Queen or a senior member of the Royal Family; and for the award of BEM probably at local ceremonies held by Lord Lieutenants and recipients might also be invited to attend a Royal Garden Party.  The investitures will be preceded by an official announcement in the London Gazette on 31 December for New Year Honours or the Saturday of the Sovereign's Official Birthday for Birthday Honours.  After the official announcement the post-nominal letters may be used.

British Empire Medal (BEM)
 This was re-introduced with the aim of rewarding people working in the UK at local level.  The type of candidate to be considered is someone with achievement or contribution of a very ‘hands-on’ service to the community in a local geographical area.  This might take the form of sustained commitment in support of local charitable and/or voluntary activity; or innovative work that has delivered real impact, but of relatively short duration.  Recipients may therefore be younger people who have given service of a shorter duration than usually required for higher level awards, but BEM candidates must be genuinely operating at ‘grass roots level’.  

 Honours should be reserved for outstanding achievement; for people who have changed things, especially by solid, practical attainment, or whose work has brought distinction to their organisation.  The role of the citation writer is to convince honours & awards committees of the nominee’s exceptional contribution.
 It follows that the success of a nomination for an honour or award is largely determined by the quality of the citation.  In order to achieve success at every stage of the honours & awards process the key is excellence in the citation.
 Structure and Style
 The citation should tell the story of what the candidate has done and give examples of how outstanding quality has been demonstrated; this might be through distinctive contributions to improving or increasing services or through innovation or creativity in delivering lasting results.  It should describe what is special about these achievements, showing memorably and persuasively how and where they have made a difference.
 The style should describe vividly and precisely the person’s contributions, perhaps saying how things were before the candidate became involved and how they are now.  Take care to support an assertion with evidence; do not write that an achievement has produced widespread effects without describing what those effects are and showing why they are important.  Give details to support the case with facts and figures or show how the candidate is an example to others, through sustained achievements, moral courage, vision, tough choices or determined application and hard work. 
Checklist for Writers of Citations
 1.  Always write in the past tense as though the citation had been written at the publication date of the forthcoming Honours List.
 2.  It is unnecessary to write in the text that the candidate is recommended for a specific honour.
 3.  Begin by stating the relevant appointments/roles with dates and, where it is not obvious from the title, explaining briefly what the job(s) entailed and the significance of the nominee’s involvement.  Abbreviations should not be used unless the full version appears earlier in the text.  Where applicable refer to the diversity of roles or contributions the work involved and the general effects.
 4.  At the start of the main arguments for the nomination give a general impression of their character and abilities explaining how these may have affected their performance or the results of their involvement.
 5.  Careful thought must be given to the details of the justification.  The text should present in concise form, convincing evidence that the individual is deserving of special recognition, giving a clear sense of what the candidate has done, illustrating how they excelled and why they should be considered ahead of others, eg:
                 a. Give instances of how their qualities have been demonstrated in practical ways with examples of actual achievements.
                 b. Explain how they have improved things; eg compare a poor situation before their involvement with a much better situation after; explain how the attitudes and performance in an organisation have been enhanced by them.
                 c. Facts and figures provide powerful arguments to support an assertion and can be very persuasive where they show that the candidate has achieved significant increases or improvements in relevant areas.
(Note: generally numbers from one to nine should be written as words with larger numbers written as numerals.  Exceptions are amounts of money such as £5 and numbers in the title of units or organisations, which are always written as numerals.)
 6.  Use strong words and phrases, but use superlatives with care.  Honours exist specifically to recognise superlative achievement, but superlatives without an explanation are just hot air so always support an assertion with hard evidence.
 7.  The closing sentences should round off the citation with a flourish, perhaps noting how and where their actions and performance have contributed to the lives of others.

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